Even as the death knell continues to sound for some of the city’s oldest and diviest bars, there’s hope for the fan of cheap beer and cheap atmospheres. A small but potent group of new establishments have opened their doors in the District in 2014—Jackpot, Lyman’s Tavern, and Lost and Found, plus a handful just at the end of last year—with a distinct anti-14th Street NW aura. For folks sick of slick cocktail joints, it might be tempting to call these new, unpretentious spots “dives,” but that would be a mistake. These are clean, spanking-new bars, some beautifully designed, whose proprietors will be the first to say they are decades away from dive status. Yet relative newcomers like Showtime, the Pinch, and the Red Derby have already been anointed by newish D.C. residents with short memories (and by Yelp) as “dives” just for being affordable and kind of looking old. While we mourn the loss of the city’s real dives, we can also toast the arrival of a new generation of laid-back neighborhood bars, and know that future Washingtonians will not lack for places to go and drink and not feel like a douchebag.

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