Below you will find the criteria a bar must meet to qualify as a basic or “1 Mug” dive bar:
1. The bar cannot be part of a chain or franchise.
2. The bar must serve at least one domestic beer.
3. The bar must at least serve one beer for less than $6.50.
4. The bar must not have any dress code -- no jacket and tie requirements need apply.
5. The bar must have at least one television or music device - not necessarily operational.
6. The bar must have been in business for at least two years.
7. The bar must have less than 25 employees.
8. The bar must be open at least 5 days a week.
9. The bar must have bar seating.
10. The employees can’t wear uniforms other than a bar t-shirt.
Below you will find other dive bar criteria which can enhance a dive bars ranking. For every five additional criteria a dive bar meets, it gains a mug. For instance, If a five bar meets the qualifying criteria and 5 more below (total of 15), it is considered a “2 Mug Dive Bar.”
If a dive bar meets 20 criteria, it is considered a “3 Mug Dive Bar.”
If a dive bar meets 25 criteria, it is considered a “4 Mug Dive Bar.”
If a dive bar meets 30 or more criteria, it is considered a “5 Mug Dive Bar.”
Other Criteria to Enhance a Dive Bar:
- The bar only accepts cash but might have an ATM machine on premises.
- The bar has some sort of jukebox or device to pay for music.
- The bar has video games located somewhere in or on the bar.
- The bar serves some form of fried foods.
- The bar serves some form of pickled food displayed in a large glass jar on or around the bar.
- The bar has a small stage for live music.
- The bar has at least one employee with a mullet.
- The majority of employees have at least one tattoo.
- The bar serves popcorn, peanuts or snack mix, preferably in wood bowls or small whicker baskets.
- The bar serves cheap local beer specific to region, i.e. Lone Star, Iron City, PBR.
- The bar has limited or no parking.
- The bar is located in a strip shopping center.
- The bar usually opens before noon.
- The bar has a pool table or Foosball table.
- The bar has beer lights, posters and mirrors which adorn the walls as décor.
- The bar has pleather bar stools or booths -- tears in the pleather get bonus points.
- The bar has a unisex restroom.
- Patrons of the bar require a key or coins to use the restroom.
- The bar has metal mirrors or no mirrors in the restroom.
- The bar has a trough for a men's urinal – extra bonus if it has ice in it and it is an old bathtub.
- The bar has a sign welcoming bikers.
- The bar serves Highballs or some form of mixed drinks.
- The bar serves at least one domestic beer on tap.
- The bar serves at least one mixed drink under $7.00.
- The bar serves some of the finest well liquor.
- The bar is dark inside and has very few windows – a former strip club gets bonus points.
- The restrooms have urinal mints located prominently for target practice.
- The restroom does not have a sign that reads, “Employees must wash hands before returning to work.”
- The bar smells a little stale.If you have been in a dive bar, you will understand this.
- The bar has at least one female (or male) undergarment hanging behind the bar or from the ceiling.
- The bar has some form of Taxidermy, dead animal or rodent mounted proudly on the walls.
- The bar has at least one vending machine in the restroom – glow in the dark condoms and French Ticklers get bonus points.