Five Essential Ingredients for the Perfect Dive Bar

A dive bar may not always feel like the “posh” place to go, but most people have been to one at least once in their lifetime. In the upcoming film GOD’S POCKET, the story revolves around the neighbourhood in South Philadelphia better known as “God’s Pocket.”  Within this crumbling neighbourhood lies a mixture of dive bar regulars, tough workers, gambling attics and the wives that love them. In anticipation of the film’s release, here is a list of the essential ingredients of a local downtown dive bar.


The perfect dive is never built overnight, contrary to what some business owners think. It takes a certain amount of time and resistance to change in order to attract the townies and the hipsters to the dive. The aging beauty of the dive creates a certain character and the name will rarely be anything modern, chic or oblique.

Eclectic Decor

The atmosphere of the classic dive bar is pretty standard; weird, vintage decor, rusty old beer signs and dim lighting. Bonus points if some of the lights are flickering or even burnt out. Most of the time, the decor will not really follow a general theme and the walls will be jam packed with all of the odd memorabilia. Another dive bar essential is the pool table, and don’t consider yourself a regular until you play a game against a local townie.

Cheap (and Stiff) Drinks

Did you ask for a Jack and Coke? Expect a glass of whiskey with a splash of cola on top. The best part about this incredible stiff drink is that it will most likely be very inexpensive. Although the bar might not actually have the best draft selection, you’ll never find yourself spending over £5 for a locally made lager. Just when you think it couldn’t get any better, dive bars usually provide fantastic cheap eats. That way you won’t be on a 3am hunt for McDonald’s after purchasing one too many overpriced drinks at the bar that night.


Don’t expect the bar to play the latest Top 40 or house music on a touch screen jukebox. When you’re at a dive, you can expect old CDs and even records that you haven’t listened to since the 1990s. You and your mates will create a drunken weekend anthem from the collection of classic rock and 80’s hits that you know every single word to, or at least what you think the words are.

Rough patrons

His name is probably Big Tom and he is in there every time you come in. Come to think about it, has he ever actually left the place? He is usually sitting at the bar, rambling on about old politics and football to no one in particular. This person has probably played the game of life more intensely than you could even fathom, but it’s the mysteriousness that keeps you coming back to the place.

GOD’S POCKET will be released in UK cinemas 8 August 2014

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