1. The not-nightclub-nightclub, complete with one strobe light and DEEEJAAAAAYY NOOOONAAAMMMEEE *siren noise* *siren noise* *siren noise*
You were convinced to go here by some guy passing out sad neon flyers and you knew it was a bad idea as soon as you let him put the flyer into your hand. This is undoubtedly where DJ “WE THE BESSSSTTTTT” Khaled got his start. It’s the kind of place with a very active Facebook page that proudly boasts photos of its guests in super unflattering high-contrast, drunk-deer-in-the-strobe-lights poses. No one is proud, Facebook page. Please delete. Please.
2. The artisan cocktail ~experience~
It’s not pretentious enough that the bar only has five drinks on the menu; no, they have to take it two douchey steps further with $15 price points and a painful 15 minutes wait time for every mixologist’s concoction. Their drinks are good, sure, but you’ll spend a sober forever waiting to hand over fistfuls of cash for some pureed mint bullshit that your grandmother could make better than the vest wearing hipster in front of you ever could. What’s worst of all? You’re actually kind of attracted to the holier-than-thou bartenders. Damn it all to rustic, artisan, Pinterest wedding hell.
3. The surprise strip-club where nobody wins
This is a dive bar wherein one skeezy bartender always manages to hand out tequila shots to the drunkest girls and convince them to take body shots on the bar—it’s creepy and un-fun for anyone who isn’t creepy. Even when you try to be supportive of the semi-stripping strangers like “yeah girl, live your truth, take the shot glass out of her cleavage with your mouth—” you stop yourself and realize you’re just a creepy uncle at the surprise creepy uncle bar. You will likely take a look around and realize there are 20 Craigs and Toms and Lester types, leering at the body shots scene like they go there every Saturday for that very reason. Gross.
4. The secret-entrance ‘speakasy’
You need a password to get in, but you don’t really. It’s stupid. The bar is one big concept built around the time when prohibition made alcohol cool and sexy, but it’s 2015 and alcohol isn’t cool or sexy, it’s just a means to an end of dealing with ‘this economy’ and the fact that 2014 was one long day of texting your friends like “I need a drink later, wanna get a drink later?” These speakeasy-themed bars are always waaaaay too dark to see the menu in—because speakeasies were dark and secret, o0o0o0o0oh, get it?!—so you just end up squinting and using your obnoxiously bright cell phone to shine a light and order something, anything, praying that it will get you drunk. The whole thing is a failure of the role-playing old-timey thing; it’s like playing a game of Clue, but all you want it to be is You in the Booth with the Strong Drink, and it’s really You in the Long Ass Line Outside The Bar with the Confused Expression On Your Face That Tells The Door Guy You Don’t Belong In This Corny Scenario.
5. The sports bar your friend Dave thinks is THE spot
So Dave texted the group chat like “let’s all meet up at Tom’s Pub, it’ll be a good time” and spoiler alert: it is not a good time, it is an okay time. It would be completely okay for an okay Sunday, let’s-watch-the-game time, but it is Saturday and it is 10 PM and you shouldn’t have listened to Dave, because now you’ll look like you have a serious drinking problem if you demand to go to another spot that’s more conducive to strong cocktails than it is to middle-aged white men (with budding beer guts) in training. Okay, this just sounds mean. We love you, Dave. Just please stop making us go to the pub on Saturdays. Pub? This is America, we (binge? be honest) drink in style on Saturdays.
6. The D-list celebrity appearance hell hole of doom
This is the bar that you go to with the intention of having a normal evening of merriment and alcohol consumption and texting people like “no, come out! it’s fun!” but somehow it devolves into a Real Housewife or Ray J or ex-Real World ‘CJ’ type bonanza, complete with you firing off texts like “holy shit dude…this place is actually amazing. like _____ is here, I thought they were dead!” And then you feel bad for marveling at their downfall, like watching Mike ‘The Situation’ Jersey Shore guy do the Donald Trump Roast :/
7. The lovable dive bar that has one. Goddamned. Bathroom.
Dive bars are like best friends who just can’t get it together: we love them so much, we need them in our lives, and we can’t understand their poor choices—why do you only have one bathroom, man? How is this happening? One toilet, seriously? You could be the best bar in the world, but all it takes is one clogged toilet to take you to PTSD status, with droves of people refusing to enter your hallowed (probably sticker-adorned) walls because your one (ONE!!!) non-functioning bathroom ruined their night and then some.
Chalkboard walls in bathrooms aren’t cool enough to compensate only having one bathroom. Do better, dive bars. Dive deeper. Keep your drinks deep and your stalls plentiful, dive bars. Do that and you’ll never get rid of us. Because alcoholism.