Posted at 01:30 PM ET, 11/29/2012

Behold: Tim Carman’s dive bar commandments

Inside the Raven Grill in Mount Pleasant. (DOMINIC BRACCO II - THE WASHINGTON POST)
D.C. has a dive bar problem or, more specifically, a problem when it comes to correct application of the term “dive bar.” Here’s a quick tip: If a bar has an oyster happy hour and a DJ turntable by the door, it’s not a dive bar.

On Wednesday, the Post’s Tim Carman authored a list of dive bar sine-qua-nons that should help ease the confusion the next time you’re wondering whether that Schlitz Tall Boy you hold in your hand comes from a true dive. (You should follow @timcarman on Twitter.)

We’re reposting them here:

1. The cops should be called to the place at least once a year to break up a fight.

2. The bartender should actively make a face when you ask for a peaty, single-malt Scotch.

3. There should be no TV tuned into ESPN or CNN. There should be no TV, period. A dive bar can’t afford cable.

4. If there’s a board game available, it’s a musty old chess set with plastic figures. The game will be monopolized by regulars who will sneer at your request to “take on the winner.”

5. The pool table should have at least two tears in its felt covering, and, no, the bartender will not have change for the coin slots. He’ll instead point you in the general direction of the nearest laundromat.

6. There still should be a cigarette machine in the corner.

7. You should have at least some trepidation about entering the restroom.

8. And, most important of all: The jukebox may have Tom Waits on it, but no one plays one of Wait’s raspy, downtrodden tales to try to prove that, underneath their H&M exterior, there lies a true boho.

Got it? Now, check out our list of the D.C. area’s best dive bars.

By  |  01:30 PM ET, 11/29/2012

Categories:  Bars and Clubs

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