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Do Dive Bars Have Food? 15 Facets of Dive Bar Menus

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Do dive bars have food? What is a dive bar menu like? Do restaurant entertainment ideas tie into dive bar food and event planning? Do you need a restaurant bartender for a dive bar? All these questions and more come up as you plan and operate a dive bar business. 

In this BinWise blog, we’ll address these questions and more! Read on to learn about cool bar food ideas for dive bars. From setting up POS systems for restaurants and bars to hiring a barback, there’s lots of work in planning a dive bar menu and business operations. Take some of the menu planning off your to-do list with the solutions in this blog.

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Do Dive Bars Have Food That Is Good?

One question that comes up around dive bar food is: do dive bars have food that is good? The answer is, it depends on the dive bar! Some dive bars are known for only drinks, and maybe some pretzels, nuts, or popcorn. Others have extensive menus. Some even have local specialties and specific menu items that people travel from far and wide to experience. 

10 Best Dive Bar Food Contenders

The best dive bar food contenders are ones that boost bar profits and make patrons want more. These 10 options for dive bar food choices are some classics and unique menu offerings. Some work for every dive bar. Others are best for location-specific spots or even themed bars. Overall, you can’t go wrong with these choices if you work them to fit your dive bar business. 

10. Burgers

You can’t go wrong with burgers. In fact, it would be almost criminal to not include a few burger options on your dive bar menu.

9. Comfort Food Appetizers

Comfort food appetizers are a staple of all the best dive bars. Some great options include mashed potatoes and soup varieties to be paired with bread dishes.

8. Wings

Wings, from barbecue to honey ginger flavors, also fit in the comfort food category. They can work as appetizers or as a large mix for a full meal.

7. Pizza

Who doesn’t love pizza? Yes, there are folks who enjoy different types of pizza, from classics to cauliflower crust. Having a mix of options is the best way to go.

6. Tacos

Tacos work for any meal, mixed with so many drink pairing options. If you want to have a set way of serving tacos, lean into Taco Tuesday for a happy hour deal!

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5. Seafood

Seafood doesn’t fit at every dive bar, but it can be suitable if it mixes with your location and theme. If you’re near the sea, seafood will be a perfect pairing for your menu.

4. Vegan Options

Vegan options are something every business should include at this point. A selection of appetizers and entrees that are vegan-friendly will do the trick.

3. Straightforward Desserts

Straightforward desserts are a good way to populate your dessert menu. Some of the best choices include ice cream sundaes, cheesecake, and pudding options.

2. Salad Choices

Salad choices round out an appetizer list and can make up a healthy section of your menu. Three options are a good place to start, with a mix of options for add-ons and dressings.

1. Brunch Foods

Taking inspiration from a good brunch menu will fill out your breakfast and lunch offerings. Eggs Benedict is one of the best choices. 

5 Most Common Dive Bar Drink Pairings

Dive bars lean into things like happy hour drinks and killer happy hour deals. These plans lend themselves to dive bars having many options for food and drink pairings. From happy hour appetizer deals to house deals, these five pairings are something to incorporate into your dive bar menu.

5. Martinis and Fries

Martinis and fries are a unique combination that can be turned into some flavorful surprises. Our recommendation is to do a traditional martini with truffle fries. 

4. Burgers and Brews

Burgers and brews are a timeless pairing. Beer food pairings can spring up from unlikely pairings. You can make flavorful burgers that will work with any of the beers on your menu. 

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3. Wine and Wings

Wine and wings are best paired for a happy hour treat. Wings are a classic happy hour appetizer, and you can pair different wing flavors with wine varietals for a specialty wine tasting.

2. Tequila and Tacos

Who doesn’t love tacos? For that matter, who doesn’t love tequila? There’s no doubt about the perfection of this pairing option.

1. Happy Hour Cocktails and Appetizers

General happy hour cocktails and appetizers cover a lot of ground. Whatever it is you want to serve for happy hour, framing them as pairings will help organize your menu and draw in curious customers. 

"Key Takeaway: Some dive bars are known for only drinks, and maybe some pretzels, nuts, or popcorn. Others have extensive menus. Some even have local specialties and specific menu items people travel from far and wide to experience."

Frequently Asked Questions About Dive Bar Food and Menus

There are so many questions to be asked about dive bar menus. Do dive bars have food? What’s the balance between food and drinks on the menu? Where do menu design ideas come into play? These and more are questions you’ll need answers to along the way. Our answers to these frequently asked questions will help you get started in the right direction.

What are Common Cocktails In a Dive Bar?

The simple, classic cocktails are most common in dive bars, including:

  • Martinis
  • Old Fashioneds
  • Gin and tonics
  • Rum and cokes
  • Manhattans
  • Whiskey sours

These types of mixed drinks are quick and easy to make. They’re among the drinks every bartender should know because of how likely it is people will order them on a regular basis.

What Is the Best Drink at a Dive Bar?

There isn’t one best drink at a dive bar. Maybe you have a deep love of martinis. In that case, the best drink at a dive bar for you is whatever their unique take on the martini is. If you’re a big fan of whiskey, ask the bartender to make you their favorite whiskey cocktail. You’ll find the best drink at a dive bar by diving into what you like to drink best. 

Is a Dive Bar a Good First Date?

Yes, a dive bar is a good idea for a chill first date. First dates are often full of nervous energy, with folks not quite knowing what to do or how to act. The relaxed atmosphere of a dive bar can help offset those nerves. The choice of a dive bar also sets the tone for a low-pressure first date. 

Do You Tip at a Dive Bar?

The history of tipping will tell you many things about tipping customs but when it comes to dive bars, yes, you should tip. The classic plan of a dollar tip for each drink is often a good way to go. You also have the option to do a 15% or 20% tip on the entire bill if you’re so inclined. 

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Dive Bar Food and Menus: Does Your Dive Bar Have These Foods? 

As you’re building your dive bar business, take time to plan your menu with care. You can follow a restaurant business plan and menu planning, to have more structure for your needs. A basic bar inventory guide will also help you map out everything you’ll need to have on hand. Come on back to the BinWise blog for more solutions for menu building and dive bar success. 

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