Two types of people go to dive bars: the ones who go even though they’re dive bars, and the ones who go because they’re dive bars. The first type endures the cramped spaces, low lighting, and interesting bathrooms for the sake of affordable drinks. For the second type, those same features are part of the charm.
With New York gentrifying at a rapid pace, it hasn’t been easy to keep dive bars open. Many have been lost and replaced with more upmarket and less interesting places. But many more are still running and keeping their stories alive—or at least the stories people still remember the next morning.