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Sarah Ward

Dive Bar Aesthetic: Why Dive Bars Work So Very Well

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The dive bar aesthetic is one of the most captivating pieces of the allure of dive bar businesses. When speaking about dive bar ideas, much of the focus falls on dive bar aesthetic choices. Customer satisfaction in dive bars rests on their relaxed aesthetic, with good dive bar food and cheap drinks. 

You won’t find a dive bar hosting brunch or offering an array of fancy cocktails. They don’t need to worry about a customer turnover rate, or maximizing profits with specialty drinks. The dive bar aesthetic lends itself to a relaxing customer experience that makes people want to come back for more. 

In this BinWise blog, we’ll walk you through a few aspects of the dive bar aesthetic. What is that aesthetic? Where does it come from? Why do people love dive bars so very much? Read on to learn the answers to these questions.

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What Is Dive Bar Aesthetic?

The dive bar aesthetic is categorized by a relaxed fit type of vibe. Dive bars are grungy. Many are still quite dirty and rough around the edges. Are they safe? Yes. Are they clean and tidy? Heck no! The appeal of dive bar aesthetics is how rough and tumble they are.

Why Are Dive Bars So Popular?

With that in mind, why are dive bars so popular? Folks love dive bars because of how comfortable they are. You can spend time in a dive bar no matter what you’re wearing, who you are, or why you’re there. It’s an easy space to exist in with no expectations. 

10 Aspects of Dive Bar Aesthetic and Charm

These 10 aspects of dive bar aesthetic and charm can be found in any dive bar. No matter the theme, these facets of the dive bar aesthetic are the baseline of what makes a dive bar a dive bar. You can add to these and make them your own in the aesthetic design of your own dive bar business.

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10. Dim, Intentional Lighting

Dim lighting is one of the cornerstones of the dive bar aesthetic. It should be intentional, with lamps all around, signs in windows, and choice lighting for seating spaces and the bar.

9. Old-Timey Neon Signs

Old-timey neon signs bring a level of comfort and familiarity to a dive bar. From open signs to beer brand signs, having a mix of neon around the dive bar is a good idea.

8. Worn Surfaces

Worn surfaces, from the bar top to the seats, are a must for a dive bar. These worn, comfortable surfaces make the place feel like home for everyone who visits. 

7. Sticky Floors

Sticky floors are a strange but vital part of every dive bar. We can’t explain it. Patrons can’t explain it. Heck, even the folks who design it can’t explain it. All we know is, a dive bar needs a bit of stick to the floors. 

6. Vintage Decor Pieces

Many types of bars benefit from vintage design, but in dive bars, vintage decor pieces are a must. It adds to the been-there-forever vibe dive bars aim for in their aesthetic.

5. A Jukebox

A jukebox is a timeless piece of decor and a functional part of the auditory aesthetic of a dive bar. An old-fashioned jukebox is the best option, with a mix of music that will suit the mood.

4. Memorabilia

The memorabilia in dive bars range from local treasures to random bits and pieces gathered around the world. What matters is that it’s there to make the place extra cozy.

3. Cheap Drinks

From non-alcoholic beverages to whiskey, the drinks at a dive bar are famously cheap. Make sure you price them appropriately to turn a profit and live up to the cost-efficient dive bar name.

2. Pool Tables

Pool tables, as well as other games such as darts and shuffleboard, make the community aesthetic of the dive bar. They’re as important as any seating for customers.

1. No Dress Code

Whether it’s happy hour, weekend brunch, or game time, one of the beautiful things about dive bars is the lack of a dress code. This means customers automatically fit the dive bar aesthetic with whatever they happen to be wearing.

"Key Takeaway: Many dive bars are still quite dirty and rough around the edges. Are they safe? Yes. Are they clean and tidy? Heck no! The appeal of dive bar aesthetics is how rough and tumble they are."

Frequently Asked Questions About the Aesthetic of Dive Bars

The dive bar aesthetic–at its appeal–is hotly debated by those interested in the bar industry. Why is the dive bar aesthetic so effective? Does it change from bar to bar or state to state? What are the expectations at a dive bar? In our answers to these frequently asked questions we’ll cover these queries and more.

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What are the Elements of a Dive Bar?

The elements of a dive bar include:

  • Dim lighting
  • Shabby and worn decor
  • Neon signs
  • Cash-only service
  • Local bar patrons
  • Easy-listening music
  • Cheap drinks
  • Memorabilia
  • Pool tables and other billiard games

These basic elements are the foundation of the dive bar experience. The history of dive bars shows how these elements have remained the same through the years. 

How Do You Act at a Dive Bar?

A dive bar is a relaxed space, so there are no expectations about your actions in any grand sense. Be polite and respectful of the space, and make friendly conversation with the bartender and other bar patrons. It’s a chill space, with room for conversation and quiet contemplation over a cheap beer or two.

Can You Order a Mojito at a Dive Bar?

If you order a mojito at a dive bar, prepare yourself for the possibility that they won’t have all the ingredients. Dive bars don’t typically have fresh ingredients on hand. For a mojito, this could mean a lack of mint. They’ll most likely still have limes, but you may have to make do with something near a mojito, with a few missing ingredients.

What Is the Most Photographed Bar In the United States?

The most photographed bar in the United States is the 230 Fifth, a rooftop bar in New York City, New York. 230 Fifth boasts a stunning view of the Empire State Building. This view, and the views across the city, make it a place where, understandably, folks take a lot of photos. 

What Is the Most Requested Drink at a Bar?

One of the most requested drinks at any bar is a margarita. It’s a timeless classic. It works for hot or cold weather. You can have it on the rocks or blended. The flavor possibilities are endless! Of all the drinks that are popular at bars–and there are many–the margarita is the most consistent. 

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The Aesthetic of Dive Bars: Do Dive Bars Fit Your Aesthetic? 

Getting acquainted with the typical dive bar aesthetic and choosing your aesthetic is a major part of getting your dive bar ready for customers. As you’re planning your design and aesthetic goals, make sure to plan for your business needs as well, such as inventory and order management. BinWise and BlueCart can help you there!

The BinWise Pro beverage inventory program, paired with the BinScan mobile app, gives you peace of mind when you take inventory. BlueCart’s order management software simplifies your order management system. Reach out to BinWise and BlueCart today, schedule a demo, and learn how we can help you manage your dive bar with ease. 

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