Long the quintessential downtown drinking option, the dive bar is a bit of a dying breed. The East Village will lose a big one (possibly) next month when Mars Bars packs up its jukebox and a hazmat team goes to work on the bathrooms to make way for new condos. But just because the real deals are endangered doesn’t mean shinier, “ironic” recreations aren’t popping up all the time. Gunbar openedin the Meatpacking District last night, unveiling an in-house tattoo parlor and graffiti to a crowd of V.I.Ps guzzling Grey Goose. Here are some other faux dives below 14th Street.
75 Saint Marks Pl Frnt A | (212) 777-9637It’s painful to say this since Holiday was, until recently, a true blue dive. But when crusty octogenarian Ukrainian owner Stefan Lutak died in 2009, Holiday went mainstream. They even installed TVs.
675 Hudson St | (212) 699-2410A noble effort to bring a relaxed vibe to bottle service central, and the board games score points. But the availability of cocktails and acceptance of credit cards keeps 675 in the shallow end.
425 West Street (at West 11th) | (212) 645-5668Not a bad bar, but not a dive bar either. The nautical camp and presence of “pretzel dogs” on the menu doesn’t make up for $12 cocktails and ubiquitous high heels and pastel Polos.
123 Rivington St | (212) 420-9911Rock bottom happy hour specials, an LES-circa 1997 crowd and a perpetual funk lend credibility, but the ’70s rec room kitsch disqualifies. Dive bars can’t be self-aware about their diviness.
200 Avenue A, | (646) 448-4854Though not currently open, Superdive has risen from the ashes so many times that we can’t count it out. The name alone disqualifies it, as does “keg service” and patrons who actually think they’re getting an Alphabet City dive experience here instead of hitting up Mona’s one block over on Avenue B.