In the know New York drinkers and your savvier travelers rejoiced when the late boxer Jimmy Glenn’s Jimmy’s corner reopened last October after more than a year. Dating back to 1971, what it lacks in cocktails and fine wine it more than makes up for with charisma and neat pours.
New York City has fewer dive bars than you may think. The primary reason is that a real deal dive must already exist. One simply cannot open a “new” dive bar. The ribbon cutting ceremony would draw too many jeers. Imagine the pointing; the laughter.
But already existing, or even being old, does not earn a place a dive bar designation either. A real dive must have some combination of neighborhood characters behind or surrounding the bar, below market rate drinks, a tool box full of duct tape, an absence of natural light and a paucity of food save for free hot dogs or popcorn. Something should also be at least half-broken, and it helps to have to introduce a caveat when suggesting it as a meeting place: It has a great juke box but songs cost a buck and it only takes pennies. The drinks are cheap but the floor is lava. The bathroom sink is a piranha tank and it’s just about lunchtime.
Between their relatively endangered status and the requisite charm it takes to truly qualify as a dive, we kind of love them all, each and every one. Those below, we just happen to be especially fond of. So ready your appetite for beers and shots, expect the unexpected, and one day you might just be the neighborhood character giving a dive its bonafides, too.