If There Were an Edible Dive Bar, We’d Edit It

The crowd at Nancy Whiskey is never this nicely dressed when we visit...

We knew we recognized somebody playing bank shuffleboard at Nancy Whiskey a few weeks back. That would be the Village Voice, whose cover story this week is on New York City’s Best Dive Bars.

It’s penned by Ben Westhoff, who wrote an entire book on dive bars (it’s called New York City’s Best Dive Bars) which puts him high up on a list of people who we a) want to meet and b) are very jealous of. (Ben, want to take us to the Station in Woodside? We’ve never been! Though we do also like The Ready Penny Inn in Jackson Heights.)

That’s because we here at Edible Manhattan have a very soft-spot for dive bars and their role as the true second living rooms in a city the size of ours, despite their lack of local beers and organic spirits and farm-stead cocktails. Last winter, for example, we featured The sweet Subway Inn not just in our pages but on our cover, and our radio show a few weeks back our two guests, Matt Levy, whose family runs one of the city’s best tour guide companies —Levy’s Unique New York — and food writer Joshua M. Bernstein helped us define what a dive bar is or isn’t and point us to where the best still are serving $3 pint-and-shots. (Tune in Here.)

Dive bars, of course,  may not serve sustainability, but the community spirit a dive bar does provide is often far beyond that of your moderm mixology haven, as much as we love them. And yes, that might be just because you can afford to tip your bartender a lot more when you’re only drinking $1 Genny Cream Ales. Hey, whaddya know? Maybe dive bars do serve local beers after all!

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Rachel Wharton is the former deputy editor of Edible Brooklyn and Edible Manhattan. She won a 2010 James Beard food journalism award, holds a master’s degree in Food Studies from New York University, and has more than 15 years of experience as a writer, editor and reporter. A North Carolina native and a former features food reporter for the New York Daily News, she edited the Edible Brooklyn cookbook and was the co-author of both Handheld Pies and DiPalo's Guide to the Essential Foods of Italy. Her work also appears in publications such as The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and Saveur.