Recently, The Star Ledger of New Jersey had a poll where it asked viewers to vote for their favorite dive bars. I recognized some of the places, but to be honest, although interesting places they weren't really "dive bars". Real dive bars would not find their way into a poll. It reminded me of the time I was in a bar (the sort of place my father would go after a game of golf with the boys) and I could hear a young twenty something lady on the cell phone telling someone "I'm in my favorite dive bar!"
Young middle class women love to frighten their mothers at holidays and tell them that now they hang out in dive bars. Poor mother will worry nights now, perhaps now that Lisa in on her own in Philadelphia she is hanging around with the wrong sort. Of course in reality the places she goes are far from being true dives. Even Yelp has a category for dive bars that probably includes places that are far from true dives.
I guess most of us like to have a little mystery about us and make the people around us think we are having adventures, perhaps disreputable ones. Sort of like exaggerating the events of a college trip to Mexico.
The Huffington Post has a cute article about dive bars. Would people who write for the Huffington Post go to such places? I see the ghost of Charles Bukowski nursing a beer in a bar in Baltimore. A dive bar.