What Is The Difference Between A Dive Bar And A Regular Bar?

Many people confuse every low-key bar, which is safe, clean, and packed with amenities with a Dive bar. They should stop doing that because it is not fair to the real ones. These types of bars have achieved this name for specific reasons and that separates them from other regular bars. As we all know, the misuse and overuse of the word “dive” is a recent phenomenon. So what is a dive bar exactly? Well, dear friends, you are going to understand what it is right here. To make it easier for you, we have also shared what is the difference between a dive bar and a regular bar. Happy reading!

What Is Dive Bar?

You may or may not have been to a dive bar or two before but you had no clue that it is actually a dive bar. But worry not! We are going to share some interesting facts about dive bars. The word dive sounds like a fancy word. But, let us assure you. It isn’t! This place is everything but not fancy. But hey, you can grab a drink here anytime you want.

Dive Bar Vs Regular Bar

The Essence Of A Dive Bar

So what exactly is a true dive bar, you ask? Well, this is the same question many people have been asking lately. For starters, let us start with the basics. The dive bar has been there since a very old time. It belongs to a Tavern, roadhouse, juke joint, beer hall, Tiki joint, as well as fern bar family. Slowly and steadily, Dive bars gained their own identity and own space in various corners of the neighborhoods. But what does a Dive bar even mean? In order to answer this question, we will have to reveal what makes a dive bar a dive bar in the first place.

Here are some definitions that you can go through to understand what the internet defines a Dive Bar as: “A well-worn, unglamorous bar, often serving a cheap, simple selection of drinks to a regular clientele. The term can describe anything from a comfortable-but-basic neighborhood pub to the nastiest swill-slinging hole.” – Urban Dictionary “A shabby and disreputable establishment (as a bar or nightclub).” – Merriam-Webster “A dive bar is an informal bar or pub. Such bars are sometimes referred to as neighborhood bars, where local residents gather to drink and socialize. And Individual bars may be considered to be disreputable, sinister, or even a detriment to the community.” – Wikipedia

Author Todd Dayton also has his own form of definition for the Dive Bar: “Dives (dive bar) are like pornography: hard to define but you know it when you see it”. The list of definitions is endless. These are a handful that makes sense and will help you to understand what a Dive bar is. Almost all these definitions point in the same direction. So basically, it defines a Dive bar lowest quality drinking hub in the list of entire drinking establishments. This is why the very idea of an unglamorous and shabby establishment is a little problematic. The precise meaning of the Dive bar is simple which many people don’t agree and the subject is still debated today.

The author of the 2019 book Local Spirit, Rick Dobbs says: Neighborhood Bars of Orleans Parish, said, “A dive can absolutely be cleaned up but still be a dive… it’s the character and spirit of the space that counts”. Apart from this, the customers of the dive bars come from various walks of life, which also includes some locals who have been coming to this dive bar for decades.

Dive Bar Vs Regular Bar

What Is The Regular Bar?

A Regular Bar is can be anything except a dive bar. It has a spectrum of fancy environments and pricey menus and exceptional services. However, these regular bars are more than that. And we are going to cover everything one by one. 

History Of How A Bar Was Formed

Bars have always been an integral part of human societies since the olden times. They have always existed even way back to Babylonian times. During those days, the alehouses offered expensive beverages that were watered-down beer-like, which highly resembled alcohol. At that time wine and alcohol were normally consumed. But they were mostly given for their medicinal properties.

Though they do not have bartenders to provide proper service, the Asclepiades or Hippocrates (doctors) knew what they were giving to their patients. If we go back to the old days in ancient Rome and Greece, there were local taverns that gave similar services to bars. They had food, games, entertainment activities, as well as alcohol. As the new world began to form, these taverns slowly began to take a new shape.

Now the main question is where did the word bar exactly come from? You will be surprised if we tell you that it is actually derived from a wooden or metal bar (barrier). Surprising, no? And that’s the story of how a normal bar word was given to an establishment or tavern where drinks and food are served freshly to the customers. But a regular bar is more than that! And you will know about it in the next segment.

Dive Bar Vs Regular Bar

Difference Between Dive Bar And Regular Bar

Want to know the difference between a Regular bar and a Dive bar? Then we have distinguished a dive bar and a regular bar in the simplest way in the table below. Along with serving meals,

Dive BarRegular Bar
1. Dive word was used in the United States for the first time.  In the 1880s, the term dive was used for the first time in the US press which is disreputable and often dives below. Many people rate the dive bar as “not divey” or “very divey” as per the rating scales in their “divey-ness” meter.                       1. The regular bar was formed in the Anglo-Saxon period. In the Anglo-Saxon period, people started to gather at public houses for social meetings and businesses. Slowly the New Englanders brought along various things with them which changed the look of the taverns and public houses completely. A new world was formed from that moment.
2. Dive bars do not give any proper services to their clients.  Dive bars make very little to no effort to provide customers with drinks and other services. Most of the time, they do not provide parking, do not advertise, or have fancy signage. 2. Regular bars are popular for their hospitality. From alcohol and food serving to valet parking and entertainment services, the Regular bar provides everything. Some bars also have big TVs for customers who want to watch football matches. 
3. Sometimes, Dive bars do not serve food. Let’s not forget the most important thing here, and that is – Food! They do not serve food beyond some munchies like pretzels, peanuts, corn dogs, or popcorn. And, if they serve food, the handwritten menu is taped to a wall. Smoking is allowed here, so on some days, it becomes the smoker’s hub. The dive bars do not accept cards as they do not have computerized registers.3. Regular bars serve a variety of dishes. Customers have a lot of food options at a regular bar. They can choose anything from starters, main courses, and side dishes to eat with their drinks. Some regular bars also have their special meals which are valid for a specific period or during happy hours.
4. Dive bars have dirty or okayish washrooms. And the bathrooms are notoriously unclean and shabby. Moreover, you will spot the dive owner either serving the customers or working as a manager. 4. Washrooms at Regular bars are cleaned daily. The Regular bar staff believes in serving their clients and they don’t want them to give negative reviews about anything they did not like. So the Regular bar staffs their washrooms well-maintained and clean after every use.
5. Dive bar staff believes in only serving drinks. You will neither find any dive bar staff bonding with new customers nor find them talking to their guests. If a customer knows the dive bar owner well, he might get special discounts.5. Regular bars are known for their hospitality. The bar staff also interacts with all their customers because they have a reputation to build. But working under pressure while keeping a cool head is not everyone’s cup of tea. Sometimes, whether they are dealing with customers, suppliers, or staff, things can go wrong anytime, so they have to be always ready for any task.
6. Dive bar has no competition. The dive bar works at its own pace. The business remains unaffected because the customers are mostly locals coming for decades.6. Regular bar has to survive the competitive world. Apart from that, the competition is fierce, be it a restaurant or a bar world. To keep its license and reputation, a regular bar must comply with strict regulations followed in a particular state or region. A bar has many things to keep an eye on and also make sure the establishment is standing out from the crowd.
7. Dive bar does not serve anything other than drinks and snacks. You will never find any entertainment activities inside a dive bar. Sometimes, you may find TV screens that usually show game highlights.7. Regular bar is a complete package Nowadays, you will find many entertainment activities like live music (often referred to as music bars), comedy shows, games, and much more. For people’s safety, you might also find bouncers standing at every corner of the bar. What makes a regular bar different is its posh light shows, mirror works, woodwork, furniture items, and eclectic decor. The entire establishment will scream luxury.

Check More:


25 Broadway, New York, NY
10004, USA