Wxou Radio Bar – The blueprint for dive bars for over 20 years
So what actually makes a good dive bar? How does a dive bar create an atmosphere of loose comfort as apposed to an atmosphere of a TGI Fridays? How do they cultivate a following of charming regulars instead of ones that are creepy? It’s truly a fine line that many bars in New York City walk as they try and become the go to neighborhood watering hole. WXOU Radio Bar in the West Village has perfected what it means to be a great dive bar and should be a standard for which all others should follow.
Radio Bar has the look and feel of a much older bar, something out of the 1950’s where you might find Mickey Mantel during his prime saddled up to the bar. With small white mosaic tiles decorating the floor and pictures of old baseball players adorning the walls, the bar creates a time machine to the past when compared to some of the more college friendly bars near Washington Square Park. This bar like most in the city have space that is limited, but the bar never seems to get so crowded that you feel you can’t move or hear your friends conversation. The bar serves both a solid selection of draft and bottled beers and a mixture of traditional cocktails that helps it retain that old school feel.
Friend of ExploringNY and Radio Bar patron for over 10 years described this dive perfectly…
It’s a dive bar in the truest sense. The bartenders know the regulars by name. Locals go to read books and sip on the $4 happy hour specials and it has a killer jukebox that pulls in the perfect mix of hipster, preppy and old school patrons..
One thing that can not be understated… Radio Bar has one of the best juke boxes that you will find in all of New York City. Most likely recycled from a bar that was much older, the juke box has a mixture of classic tunes from the 50’s-90’s and no choice you make can be a bad one. So there is no fear that some clown will decide to put in $10 to hear Justin Bieber on repeat.
Wxou Radio Bar has really written the book on what makes a really good dive bar. A great atmosphere that makes you want to stay for that extra round and not one that makes you feel like you might get stabbed. Great music, great drinks, and solid drink specials. While this seems easy enough, you can walk down any street and find 10 bars who have tried and failed to match this model. If you are looking for a fun place to grab a few drinks and laughs with friends, Radio Bar is a must.