Boston's multi-faceted building boom is undoubtedly changing the city's feel, never mind its look. The latest case in point? Dive bars, those hard-to-define, you-know-it-when-you-smell-it watering holes that used to dot neighborhoods such as Southie and the West End; and that now seem in shorter supply because the new luxury apartment tower down the block has driven up property values and driven dive-bar owners to sell.
The Globe's Beth Teitell did a little pop-cultural spelunking and found that around 20 of the city's known dive bars have shuttered in the past five years. A big reason for the die-off is tied to all those cranes and that scaffolding: "In neighborhoods where real estate is hot, such as South Boston and the Fenway, restaurants are paying in excess of $50 per square foot per year in rent — a 75 percent increase from five years ago ... As longtime owners age along with their bars and turning a profit gets harder, there's an incentive to liquidate a lucrative asset while real estate is booming ..."
We think, though, it has as much to do with shifting demographics wrought by the luxury apartments, condos, et al, as with the rising costs of keeping a $3-a-Bud bar thumping along. At some point, there are just not enough neighborhood locals seeking the darkness at 2 p.m. on a spring day. And tourists or others who are curious can only sustain things for so long. So, is it the culture of dive bars that's dying off in Boston? Or just the bars themselves?
· Boston's Endangered Dive Bars Becoming Casualties of City Development [Globe]
· Boston's Biggest Apartment-Building Openings of 2015, Mapped [Curbed Boston]
[Photo by Denise Mattox via Flickr]