According to Wikipedia, "dive bar" is defined as:

...colloquial or informal American term for a disreputable bar or pub. Such bars may also be referred to as neighborhood bars, where local residents gather to drink and socialize.

I love 'em.  I love the salt-of-the-earth, kitschy people you meet.  I love a brash bartender who could care less about your cat photos or kids' graduation, and who refuses to make a "slushy drink", or anything with more than 4 ingredients.  I love the soft, glossy feeling of a well-worn wooden bar-top, and the matted finish on old black-and-white checkered linoleum.  I love the scent of hard work and dashed dreams.


Don't get me wrong, I also love a more "upscale" joint that features fancy, homemade cocktails made with care.  Places that use fresh herbs and quality liquors, and actually know how to smack a mint leaf to release its oils before garnishing.  I love the local art that usually pepper the walls, and eavesdropping on hipster discussions about absinthe and organic bitters.

But overall, dive bars have my heart.  Oftentimes they surprise you with unexpectedly AMAZING food.  I shared before how I found some really delicious pizza (and good beer selection) a bowling alley in Tonawanda!  I also paid my first visit to Odie's on Sunday.  Mark and I met a super fun bartender (s/o, Danielle!) and we'll definitely be back!


Dive-bar-specific, we asked you for your favorite one in WNY, and why.  Some of the answers:

  • Electric Avenue ("rough, and just good people")
  • Swannie House ("great food, great staff, Guinness on tap, perfect place to go before a Sabres game"
  • Black Dog ("because empty beer boxes are used a tables")
  • Old School Tavern ("Great food, great atmosphere...25 cent wings on Sunday and Wednesday nights")
  • Q ("they have the best karaoke on Tuesday nights")
  • Center Park Grill
  • Kelly's Korner ("amazing sandwiches!" [I can vouch for this! -LD])
  • Schunks West End Grill ("the best seafood, wings, hype heart attack sandwich, prime rib...absolute dive and prices rock!")
  • The Avenue ("great food and it has volleyball in the summer") *I couldn't find this online...if you have more info, please email me! LD
  • Island Lanes ("amazing wings!")
  • Sal's ("best chicken wings ever!")

What dive bar would YOU add?  (And Guy Fieri, come back to Buffalo.  We've got more DDD's for you!)

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