This Is Why Some People Prefer Dive Bars Over Other Establishments

While it can be challenging to properly characterize what defines a dive bar, you almost certainly know if you've been to one. Boston Eater suggests that the one common thread that ties all dive bars together is effort — or lack thereof. That's not to say that bar owners don't want to please their patrons! But the outlet states that these casual bars generally don't invest much more than the bare minimum required to keep the place running ... and the liquor flowing.

That's not a bad thing! A local watering hole is the perfect place to celebrate a happy occasion, drown your sorrows, or just watch the game on Sunday afternoon. Of course, there's a perfect time and place for a fancy cocktail lounge and a little black dress — but a neighborhood dive bar is like throwing on your comfiest sweater. It feels so familiar that you don't even notice that the style is a little out-of-date, or that there's a mustard stain that won't come out. It has character. It fits you, even if you're not the college kid you used to be. There's a certain level of comfort in knowing what to expect, and a good dive bar will make you feel at home even if you've never been there before.

A dive bar can boost your spirits with more than booze

In addition to being easy on the wallet (via The Manual), a semi-regular visit to your local pub might make you happier in the long run. Sociologist Kathy Giuffre explains the importance of "third places," which constitute a space outside of one's home or work where one can build community (via Vice). She posits that, as more individuals move away from the cities in which they were raised, these areas are increasingly more vital for people and their ability to maintain healthy human connection.

And if colorful interaction is what you're looking for, look no further than the tiny corner bar in an old neighborhood with shoddy wooden floors and the lingering smell of cigarette smoke in the air from years prior. Order something simple and classic like a whiskey high ball or a bottled beer (via Food & Wine), and get comfortable. You'll probably strike up a great conversation with the old guy in the first barstool who's been going there for longer than you've been able to drink legally, or maybe a chitty-chat with the bartender if they're not too busy. At the very least, you'll come out the other end having experienced some entertaining people-watching (via Vice) and a surprisingly inexpensive bar tab. Let's raise a glass in appreciation for the friendly neighborhood dive bar!