In Newsweek this week, Alexander Nazaryan discusses the death of the dive bar in his article "Yuppies Are Killing the Dive Bar."
"All across the land," he writes, "laments have been going up for dive bars in recent years, as beloved establishments pull their last pint, replaced by corporate outposts that are far more morbid than what they’ve replaced. This isn’t a trend; it’s an epidemic."
He lists a few of New York's recent losses, visits the Subway Inn, brings in Joseph Mitchell, and includes a couple quotes from me (“The new New Yorkers skeeve everything that reminds them of aging and death. They want a constantly re-lifted face-lift”).
Nazaryan also speculates on the reason for the dive bar's death:
"The reasons for the disappearance of dive bars can be found in Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century. No, seriously. The way we drink, where we drink, largely reflects how educated we are, how much money we have, whether we even have the leisure time for unhurried bibulous consumption. The death of the dive suggests that we don’t drink together anymore, as a single nation yearning for a quick post-work respite or Saturday-afternoon escape. The rich can pay several hundred dollars for a single coveted shot of Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve; the poor, meanwhile, drink Cobra out of paper bags and Miller Lite in busted lawn chairs. The dive bar used to be for those in the middle, those who had a little money and a little time, not to mention a little curiosity about the human race: the mid-level bank manager, the cop, the teacher, the hopeful writer, the waitress. They dove together into the sloppy democracy of cheap beer."
Check out the whole article here--it's a good read.