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How to build your own dive bar

Kerrang! has teamed up with the freshest new app in bartending, Freepour, to share advice on opening your own dive bar and explore the relationship between bars and tattoos…

How to build your own dive bar
Kerrang! staff
In partnership with Freepour

Everyone loves a good dive bar, don’t they? Away from the blinding strip lights and logos in the foam you get in your dull high street bars, dive bars exist as little alternative havens – spaces to drink, hang out, and listen to good music.

One of K!’s favourite dive bars is Blondies, in east London, which has hosted The K! Pit for many years – bringing the likes of Parkway Drive, Mastodon, Machine Head, FEVER 333 and The Interrupters to the tiny, skull-covered bar.

Blondies is the brainchild of sisters Sharmaine and Verity, who literally built the dive bar from the inside out, with nothing but determination, elbow grease and many YouTube tutorial videos.

“Our approach was always like, don't get into too much debt,” says Verity. “The stuff we can do ourselves, it's so much easier to do ourselves. Like, whenever the plumbing is broken, I know how to fix it. It meant we could develop the space over time. It's our project, our child.

“It's been a rocky road but I wouldn't have it any other way. It's been an incredible journey. If you've got the heart and passion, it's a hard slog, but it'll be worth it."

To share their story, K! has teamed up with pro bartending app Freepour to give the lowdown on how you can build your own dive bar.

Watch on Freepour: How to build your own dive bar with Blondies

We’ve also created a video with London-based DJ and bar promoter Arnö Vön Detritus to find out just why so many of your favourite bartenders are covered in tattoos.

“It's definitely a more chilled environment,” he tells us. “It's less strict. A lot of people are allowed to have tattoos on their hands, on their neck. It's not so stuck up and I guess it's quite like an underground culture.

“Obviously I'm able to have face tattoos, neck tattoos and hand tattoos. I find that quite funny because it's supposed to be a job stopper, but in my case it's actually what's closely linked to my job – so happy days!"

Watch on Freepour: Why do bartenders love ink? with Arnö Vön Detritus

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