Thursday, August 18, 2016

You can't roller skate in a buffalo herd, and "You Can't 'Open' a Dive Bar."

The great Roger Miller died far too young. Songwriters need time to develop their musical craft, and if you can't roller skate in a buffalo herd, it's equally impossible to charge $8 for a beer in a "dive" bar.

I'm guessing there'll be those who disagree.

You Can't 'Open' a Dive Bar, by Naomi Tomky (City Lab)

Hole-in-the-wall spots need time to evolve.

Dive bars are the antithesis of change. Regular customers expect the same person to serve them the same drink, and that it will taste the same, the bar will smell the same, and that nothing will ever surprise them there. Sarah Jewell, who managed Seattle’s Central Saloon, called many of her regulars “ritualistic.” But whether it’s ritual, habit, or comfort, dive bars are the opposite of trendy, and the opening of a new bar is the opposite of everything for which the dive bar genre stands.

But entrepreneurs rushed to capitalize on that hard-earned vibe and open places that imitate the same spots that have been gentrified out of a neighborhood. (See practically-dive-themed bars like King’s Hardware and Montana in Seattle.) The thing is, you can't rush dive bars. Like antiques—or, more appropriately, whiskey and wine—much of the value of a dive bar comes with the passing of time: butt grooves in banquettes, moisture stains on the bar in the shape of one million pint glasses, and a bartender spewing the kind of surliness that requires decades of practice. Dive bars aren’t opened: they evolve.


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