To the South Bombay elite with their Audis, toy dogs and 24 hour water supply there’s no bigger social menace than sidey bars. Dive bars have always been mocked and stepped on because the idea of the poor having a little fun is repulsive to some people. Let’s be honest. As unappetising as some dive bars can be, they’re no more disgusting than expensive pubs, and at least when you’re at a dive bar you aren’t confronted with the horrific sight of a post pubescent kid from Andheri throwing up on her friends shoes, yelling at the manager and then staggering into her chauffeur driven Mercedes.
Choosing a dive bar with whom you wish to spend the rest of your life is a long and sacred process; like being married, but cheaper and with happiness. If you don’t have your own dive bar yet, you should probably consider having one.
1) You’ll Save A Lot Of Cash
This is a no brainer, which is also what’ll be left of your brain after years of drinking. Dive bars are cheap, why spend a lot of money on booze at a gentrified pub when you can spend way less at a cheap bar? Or more likely, why spend a lot of money on booze at a gentrified pub when you can spend the same amount of money on way more booze at a cheap bar? You don’t have to be poor to love dive bars, just a damaged alcoholic. Remember the secret to being an efficient drinker is good financial management.
2) The Food
A lot of the dive bars I’ve visited have food that can put serious restaurants to shame, from Canara, Fort’s Crab Masala Fry to Yacht’s Crispy Chicken. While most expensive pubs have mediocre food at best. I’d go so far as to say that some dive bars are worth visiting even if you’re not much of a drinker; and that’s not an exaggeration.
3) The Crowd
You’ve probably been conditioned to believe that dive bars have a shady crowd that gentle folk shouldn’t associate with. That’s a terrible thing to think, and for the longest time I felt the same way. But that was before I found my dive bar. Once you’re a regular at a dive bar the crowd eventually opens up to you and realise that they’re all just regular, misunderstood, sometimes really nice dudes, people you can be friends with. It’s way harder to make those kinds of connections at expensive pubs, where everyone is too busy trying to grind up against each other, or yell over the music to get a waiter’s attention.
4) The Music
I’ve never been a big fan of the whole DJ thing, which is why I prefer to feel sad about my life choices in the silence of a dive bar. At clubs, however, all I feel is anger, watching an overpaid, tone deaf guy in a leather jacket butchering all my favourite songs while some drunk millennial chicks hug each other and cry and drunk guys from Lokhandwala fight outside, which pretty much sums up the entire Bombay pub scene. Dive bars don’t play music so adults can enjoy their suffering in peace.
All the best pubs in the city are either in Colaba, Parel, Bandra and Andheri, so if you don’t live in or around any of them it makes it that much harder and more expensive to get your fix. Good dive bars on the other hand are all over the place, including right next to where you live, hiding in plain sight. All you need to do is look. If you still aren’t sold out on the idea hear what the experts have to say.
I’d reveal the identity of my own dive bar but a gentleman never speaks of such things. Tell us the name of your own dive bar (anonymously of course) and maybe we’ll check it out and let you tag along with us. On the house.