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What is Dive Bar? See the Criteria Below!

Below, you will find the criteria (from a bar must meet to qualify as a basic or “2 Bottle” dive bar (there is no 1 bottle dive bar, because who drinks just 1 at a dive?):

1. The bar cannot be part of a chain or franchise;

2. The bar must serve at least one domestic beer;

3. The bar must at least serve one beer for less than $6.50;

4. The bar must not have any dress code -- no jacket and tie requirements need apply;

5. The bar must have at least one television-not necessarily operational;

6. The bar must have been in business for at least two years;

7. The bar must have less than 25 employees;

8. The bar must be open at least 5 days a week;

9. The bar must have bar seating;

10. The employees can’t wear uniforms other than a bar t-shirt;

Below, you will find other dive bar criteria which can enhance a dive bars ranking. For every five additional criteria a dive bar meets, it gains a bottle. For instance, If a dive bar meets the qualifying criteria and 5 more below (total of 15), it is considered a “3 Bottle Dive Bar.”

If a dive bar meets 20 criteria, it is considered a “4 Bottle Dive Bar.”

If a dive bar meets 25 criteria, it is considered a “5 Bottle Dive Bar.”

If a dive bar meets 30 or more criteria, it is considered a “6 Bottle Dive Bar.”

Other Criteria to Enhance a Dive Bar:

The bar only accepts cash but might have an ATM machine on premises;

The bar has some sort of jukebox or device to pay for music;

The bar has video games located somewhere in or on the bar;

The bar serves some form of fried foods;

The bar serves some form of pickled food displayed in a large glass jar on or around the bar;

The bar has a small stage for live music;

The bar serves it's beer in handled or non-handled mason jars;

The majority of employees have at least one tattoo;

The bar serves popcorn, peanuts or snack mix, preferably in wood bowls or small wicker baskets;

The bar serves cheap local beer specific to region, i.e. Lone Star, Iron City, PBR;

The bar has limited or no parking;

The bar is located in a strip shopping center or is physically attached to some other innocuous business;

The bar usually opens before noon;

The bar has a pool table or Foosball table;

The bar has beer lights, posters and mirrors which adorn the walls as d├ęcor;

The bar has pleather bar stools or booths -- tears in the pleather get bonus points;

The bar has a unisex restroom;

Patrons of the bar require a key or coins to use the restroom;

The bar has metal mirrors or no mirrors in the restroom;

The bar has a trough for a men's urinal – extra bonus if it has ice in it and it is an old bathtub;

The bar has a sign welcoming bikers;

The bar serves Highballs or some form of mixed drinks;

The bar serves at least one domestic beer on tap;

The bar serves at least one mixed drink under $7.00;

The bar serves some of the finest well liquor;

The bar is dark inside and has very few windows, permanently covered and closed windows qualify – a former strip club gets bonus points;

The restrooms have urinal mints located prominently for target practice;

The restroom does not have a sign that reads, “Employees must wash hands before returning to work;”

The bar smells a little stale.If you have been in a dive bar, you will understand this;

The bar has at least one female (or male) undergarment hanging behind the bar or from the ceiling;

The bar has some form of Taxidermy, dead animal or rodent mounted proudly on the walls;

The bar has at least one vending machine in the restroom – glow in the dark condoms and French Ticklers get bonus points.


  1. You are absolutely correct. In fact, I gave them credit for it. Thanks for pointing it out.

  2. Try reviewing Angels topless sports bar in Anaheim. It's my favorite dive/topless bar and is always a great time.

  3. Angels is not a possibility. They do not allow cameras inside.

  4. Jan's Lounge in Orangevale, aka OV, CA.. Bar meets 20 of the dive bar criteria if shuffle board & two dart boards (only one operational at this time) substitutes for a pool table and/or foosball table. C'mon locales abbreviate the town's name to an acronym..