There’s a Dive Bar Brawl Brewing Between Writers

Can't we all just agree that Moonshine is awesome?
Can’t we all just agree that Moonshine is awesome? Photo: Patrick Siggins

The other week, the Village Voice ran an innocuous roundup of the city’s “best dive bars.” A fellow named Ben Westhoff wrote it, in fact. It probably would’ve just faded away, but Joshua M. Bernstein (who’s written for us!) took Westhoff’s “hollow and meaningless” words and “slothful writing” to task yesterday in the New York Press, then put together his own list of lowbrow gin joints. Fair enough. Westhoff wasn’t happy about that.

“He’s super mean-spirited, this guy,” Westhoff says of Bernstein. “He just didn’t do his research.” (Snap!) He went on: “I think he’s bitter writing for New York Press and earning like $25 for his little articles.” (Whooaaa.) In the story, Bernstein wondered “who the hell” Westoff is. Well, Westhoff will tell you who the hell he is: “I wrote a whole book about dive bars called New York City’s Best Dive Bars.” Indeed he did. “But [Bernstein] failed I guess to dig up this nugget.” Shit’s getting real!

We really wish this were all going down in an actual dive bar because this is the part where the two of them would just go fight. But it’s not, so we asked Bernstein if he wanted to retort. He didn’t.

For the record, we find ourselves siding with Bernstein, if only because he included the Patriot Saloon — a personal favorite of ours — in his list and Westhoff says, “It’s a dive bar in the same way that Applebee’s is a neighborhood restaurant: Totally tacky.” Has Westhoff even tried the tiny cheeseburgers there? They’re amazing.

Anyway, what do you think? Did either of them get it right? Is this even really worth arguing about?

Gut Instinct: Taking A Dive [NY Press]
New York’s Best Dive Bars [Voice]

There’s a Dive Bar Brawl Brewing Between Writers