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Diary of a 24-hour Dive Bar
January 15, 2014 9:53 AM   Subscribe


 
I wonder in how many states it's actually legal to have a 24-hour bar? They're probably fairly rare by definition. I don't think I've ever been to one (not legally, anyway).
posted by Kadin2048 at 9:58 AM on January 15


Pour one out for Milady's, the last dive bar in Soho, which closed forever last Sunday night.
posted by nicwolff at 9:59 AM on January 15 [4 favorites]


In a world so saturated with craft cocktails and drowning in mixologists, the dive bar has become, perhaps, the last true rara avis.

What? No. Words having meanings. If you mean "There are no more dive bars in Manhattan," then say that.

Having said that, I do like the concept of this article, especially since I was so sorely tempted to do the same thing when I learned that there's no legal closing time in New Orleans.
posted by muddgirl at 10:02 AM on January 15 [10 favorites]


A neat little anthropological portrait, and my hat is off to the author for convincing her editor that bumming around in a dive bar all day was something she deserved a paycheck for. Still, anyone who thinks dive bars are "the last true rara avis" needs to get out of their urban yuppie/hipster bubble more often.
posted by Wretch729 at 10:03 AM on January 15 [31 favorites]


"I wonder in how many states it's actually legal to have a 24-hour bar?"

I have heard people here in New Orleans claim that the only major municipalities with no last-call ordinance on the books are us and Las Vegas but I can't vouch for that.

I must say I feel bewildered and uncomfortable when I go out of town and am subjected to those fateful words, "Last call!" or overhear someone talking about how they stayed at a bar until closing time. There are plenty bars here where if you want to stay 'til close you'd better bring your own bedroom and kitchen, because you live there now.
posted by komara at 10:06 AM on January 15 [6 favorites]


Can't you just drink whiskey in a parked van?
posted by planetesimal at 10:06 AM on January 15 [26 favorites]


I worked in a 24 hour dive bar in Las Vegas (which has dozens of these places) for quite a while. My shift was 8-4AM, but I often hung around until 6 or 7 because my friends were all there.

It was.... not all that different from proper bars that close a 2. They serve breakfast and have a "morning rush" from graveyard folks getting off their shift, but other than that.... not much to fill an article.
posted by lattiboy at 10:08 AM on January 15 [1 favorite]


Just a whole buncha characters! Hanging out at the dive bar! squeeee!
posted by Our Ship Of The Imagination! at 10:08 AM on January 15


Only the penny loafer-wearing faux-dilatant remains

"Faux-dilatant"? He pretends to be made of Silly Putty?
posted by nicwolff at 10:11 AM on January 15 [22 favorites]


The 'oldest bar in Albany', Pauly's Hotel, has these current hours left over from the days when the railroad ran shifts round the clock.

Open Daily: Mon-Sat: 8am - 4am / Sun: Noon - 2am

Gotta take care of the night crew.
posted by mikelieman at 10:15 AM on January 15 [2 favorites]


And a big photo credit next to her writing credit. For the one super close-up shot that could've been taken anywhere or from a stock pile. And listen, there are PLENTY of dive bars in Manhattan. Just not in the awful spots where these so called urban yuppie hipster assholes are taking over. Go to Malachy's on 72nd street, where I once spied a vomit waterfall overflowing from the bathroom sink onto the floor. Or Tap A Keg on Broadway near 103rd street. Or Irish Punt south of Wall Street.

On second thought, don't ANYONE go to these bars. Just keep going where you go.
posted by ReeMonster at 10:16 AM on January 15 [7 favorites]


I'd like to address the medicinal cocktail of Emergen-C and vodka.
'Some people' call these emergentinis and drink them as a nightcap to ward off hangovers.

Once, on a field expedition in Central America, I reconstituted my Emergen-C with rum while feeling a bit under the weather. I named this concoction the Coati, and never had one ever again. Because it was gross.
posted by vortex genie 2 at 10:18 AM on January 15 [2 favorites]


Louisiana is also home to drive-thru daiquiri (alcoholic) stands in case you don't want to stay in a bar all day and all night. It's just... different.
posted by melissam at 10:19 AM on January 15 [2 favorites]


Countdown to Rara Avis Dive Bar opening in Brooklyn.
posted by Kabanos at 10:19 AM on January 15 [20 favorites]


A large number of "dive bars" (especially in urban centers) are incredibly image-conscious, which kinda negates the whole idea of being a "dive bar". If you have vegan appetizers and $6-a-pint craft beer you are NOT A DIVE BAR. You are a bar, and there is nothing wrong with that.

Stop pretending.
posted by lattiboy at 10:21 AM on January 15 [10 favorites]


Can't you just drink whiskey in a parked van?

Yeah, like the rest of us!
posted by brand-gnu at 10:22 AM on January 15 [2 favorites]


Even if you used the correct word, "faux dilettante" doesn't make much sense. The guy pretends to have a superficial interest in a field? Why would anyone do that?

Unless you had some kind of expert/prankster who pretended to not actually know his stuff, but I doubt you could establish that for someone you saw at a bar once.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 10:23 AM on January 15 [7 favorites]


My dive bar days are past - at least for now - but... well, there is a street just before the junction between Oxford Street and Tottenham Court Road that had a bar called Troy's, run by Helen - an ex-spirits saleswoman to the hotel trade, who had settled in there as a convivial perch from which to finish off the job of drinking herself into the grave. She was accompanied at the bar (though not in the grave) by Charlie, the enormous bald goateed Belfast barman, and Brandy, her small dog.

Although it was a members' club, the membership rules were vague and the hours... flexible. Known to the theatrical and literary trade as a decent spot when the pubs shut, 'getting a seat at Troy's' was a fine art: leave your Soho pub too soon, and you'd have to make conversation with the resident barflies (which could be excellent - Christopher Priest was a regular with his reserved stool at the bar, or mind-numbingly dire). Too late, and you were standing in the stairs - if really unlucky, close to the Troylet.

You didn't want to be close to the Troylet.

It was raucous, drunken, very bad for the health, and suffused with quite un-British levels of friendliness towards strangers (who, after all, were just friends you hadn't shagged yet). The drinks were overpriced and from a mediocre range: if Helen didn't like you, you were best advised to absent yourself for a few days. (If Charlie didn't like you, a privilege he reserved for idiots and vibe-harshers), you were best advised to change city.

I would say thank god for night buses, as Troy's rarely chucked out before four. But Troy's was not a dive bar - it was on the first floor - and one didn't need to resort to night buses. Three doors away, and down some dangerously decrepit stairs, was Pepe's. You had to buzz and ask for him to get in.

I never knew Pepe's to close. It made no pretence at being licensed, and there's no way the plod or the council wouldn't have known about it, and it conformed to no safety standards invented since the Great Fire of London, so I guess someone had been paid off, but by god it was good. The drink was worse, the crowding much worse, and the sanitary arrangements... the Troylet was a heavenly throne set in a summer's meadow by comparison.

In the back room, large Spanish men played cards on green baize tables. On one wall, Pepe - a small Spanish man with a permanent smile - served beer out of crates and boxes. Spanish waiters, having left their late night restaurants, danced flamenco to much clapping and cheering. Off-duty postmen (a major London sorting office was close by) drifted in and out. It was dark, smoky, more edgy than Troy's... and you could stumble out into the daylight to catch a tube home at 10 in the morning, blind drunk and with a heart full of happiness.;

Now THAT was a dive bar.

Troy's is still there but under new management and Just Another Bar. I haven't tried Pepe's for about five years - last time I did, it was substantially unchanged. Everyone was still smoking - or perhaps that was the electrics....
posted by Devonian at 10:24 AM on January 15 [44 favorites]


Countdown to Rara Avis Dive Bar opening in Brooklyn.

Yeah where cans of PBR cost $3.75 (but you get two for $6 on happy hour!) and the Jukebox contains the latest hits from Arcade Fire and Dirty Projectors!
posted by ReeMonster at 10:24 AM on January 15 [3 favorites]


When do you mop the floor in the 24 hour bar?

You're going to tell me that the answer is, "never", aren't you?
posted by octothorpe at 10:25 AM on January 15 [6 favorites]


Dive bar.
posted by Kabanos at 10:26 AM on January 15 [1 favorite]


Sometimes I worry that I won't die before it becomes impossible to find a bar with no craft beer— one of life's purer pleasures.
posted by enn at 10:28 AM on January 15 [3 favorites]


Perhaps the largest part of the dive bar experience isn't drinking at all, but feeling as if you are part of a larger, welcoming community.

We had one of these in our town and it was great, a clubhouse for like-minded people around town to meet and make connections. Then the owner decided to move the whole thing across the street to a non-hole-in-the-wall and turn it into a gastropub with a full bar. I knew it was going to be a problem when I asked him if he was nervous about managing a much larger staff plus mixed drinks plus a full kitchen and he smiled at me and said, "No".

The new place was much nicer and attracted the painfully hip to come and compare tattoos. We all drifted away and it closed last week because the painfully hip don't drink on Tuesday nights when it snows.

Moral of the story? No idea, pal.
posted by yerfatma at 10:28 AM on January 15 [5 favorites]


Sometimes I worry that I won't die before it becomes impossible to find a bar with no craft beer— one of life's purer pleasures.

If I understand you correctly, I'd say that kind of thing varies by region. Around here it's stupidly simple to find those in spite of the fact there are dozens of craft breweries (seriously, Dover, NH is a town of 30,000 people and I think we have 7). I've got no problem with them but they tend to be places for young people to fuck and fight and there's only so much of that I want to watch.

/stares creepily
posted by yerfatma at 10:30 AM on January 15 [3 favorites]


That was a nice diary -- some local color, etc. All of those bartenders reminded me of "Number 1" (whose actual name I've forgotten), who was the jazz-radio voiced bartender at the Reno Room in Long Beach, CA. Really, he sounded just like Chuck Niles.

I would have encouraged the writer to focus a little more on the cocktails the place served with the same seriousness that the publication approaches its other drink-writing (which publication is saturated with craft cocktails and mixology, so I'm willing to give writer and editors a break in the framing here.)
posted by notyou at 10:32 AM on January 15 [1 favorite]


In the corner / Of my eye / I saw you at Rudy's / You were very high / You were high.
posted by digitalprimate at 10:32 AM on January 15 [2 favorites]


Memphis bars close at two, which means you can't come in the front door. So you just go round the back.
posted by emjaybee at 10:34 AM on January 15 [2 favorites]


What's so great about not having craft beers? Most of the bars I know with craft beers still sell Bud too.
posted by Cookiebastard at 10:38 AM on January 15


Aunt Tiki's on Decatur Street in NOLA. If memory serves, that place didn't even have a door, just a doorway.
posted by Token Meme at 10:40 AM on January 15 [5 favorites]


Yeah where cans of PBR cost $3.75 (but you get two for $6 on happy hour!) and the Jukebox contains the latest hits from Arcade Fire and Dirty Projectors!

Can you get original jokes there too?
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 10:48 AM on January 15 [14 favorites]


Sometimes I worry that I won't die before it becomes impossible to find a bar with no craft beer— one of life's purer pleasures.

If I understand you correctly, I'd say that kind of thing varies by region


No joke, I went to a bar in Portland-freakin-Oregon a couple weeks ago, on Hawthorne no less, with only American domestics on tap. Now, as a craft beer lover, I was quite disappoint. I'm actually worried about the thing happening where there's like a hip backlash and everyone goes back to only serving Bud and Miller on draft.

I do love dive bars though. So unassuming, as drinking ought to be. I never got why you'd want go have a $6 pint somewhere very anxious-making with everyone in their fancy pants. Good bars need long memories, accumulated crap on the wall from weird competitions and events thought up after too many whiskies, a bit of a stale cigarette smell from the old days, and Old Crow in the well.
posted by Lutoslawski at 10:48 AM on January 15 [1 favorite]


(also is like bolding random sentences a thing now?)
posted by Lutoslawski at 10:49 AM on January 15 [5 favorites]


I love dive bars. I worked in one for a while (the only gay bar in a rust belt city. That is a class of alcoholic near and dear to my heart). But, if your bartender can crank out a barell aged negroni, they can also pull a bud or mix a jack and coke.
posted by munchingzombie at 10:51 AM on January 15 [1 favorite]


What's so great about not having craft beers? Most of the bars I know with craft beers still sell Bud too.

When there is no beer list (or cocktail list, or fancy food, or whatever) the whole process changes. The focus is on the people you're with, not the flavors, not what special exclusive beers they might have that you haven't been able to get anywhere else. You can order a Bud in those bars, true, but then it's a Thing, and who wants to be the contrarian like that? I like craft beer as much as the next guy but it's a qualitatively different experience than going to a bar and buying an Old Style because that's what they have and not thinking about it any more for the rest of the night. I like to have both kinds of experiences. Increasingly, I am only able to have one.
posted by enn at 10:52 AM on January 15 [4 favorites]


You people need to come to philadelphia where even our dive bars have craft beers.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 10:55 AM on January 15


The author should move to Baltimore. We've got plenty of shithole bars run by weirdos here.
posted by Ham Snadwich at 10:57 AM on January 15 [8 favorites]


In my own peculiar part of America this is actually happening. Every bar that fits the definition of "bar" as I know it from my Rust Belt roots has died, only to be replaced with "bars" selling fancy cocktails and paninis made from exotic ingredients. It's a little sad. For a bar to satisfy, I want it to provide me with a Yeungling, a group of grumpy old men bitterly going on about sports and politics, and possibly, if I'm feeling frisky, a platter of cheese fries. Ah, well. The world moves on.
posted by Harvey Jerkwater at 10:58 AM on January 15 [3 favorites]


Devonian, Troy was one of my favourite drinking holes - gutted to hear it's moved on. No obvious sign indicating the Troy bar, but I remember charring around the windows on the outside as a give-away. Every time I went there, I'd have strange cosmological-scale Random Encounters there, the kind of thing I'd always heard happens at the end of a DMT trip. Good times. Thanks for the flashback.
posted by davemee at 10:59 AM on January 15


Closing time Never mind
Open all the doors and restock our private world
Closing time Never mind
Turn down all the lights over every boy and every girl
Closing time Never mind
One more call for alcohol so buy another whiskey or beer
Closing time Never mind
You don't have to go home but maybe find someplace to take a shower if you plan on staying here

I know where I want to make my home
I know where I want to make my home
I know where I want to make my home
Make my home
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:01 AM on January 15 [5 favorites]


Can't you just drink whiskey in a parked van?

Or drink whisky in a parked saloon?
posted by aught at 11:03 AM on January 15


The guy pretends to have a superficial interest in a field? Why would anyone do that?

Hustling pool. My father's advice: "dress like a professor-- the elbow patches get 'em every time."
posted by doreur at 11:05 AM on January 15 [5 favorites]


faux-dilatant

Spellcheck is a capricious mistress.
posted by yoink at 11:06 AM on January 15 [1 favorite]


Ah, Linda's in Chapel Hill, where the bacon cheese fries flowed free, and where the bartender never checked IDs for the whole table when somebody bought a pitcher. Most people never went there, because there were about a thousand other nearby bars that WEREN'T covered in carved graffiti and DIDN'T kinda smell weird, but it was the best.
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:08 AM on January 15 [2 favorites]


In the corner / Of my eye / I saw you at Rudy's / You were very high / You were high

It seems to me that, if you serve milkshakes, you are not a dive bar.
posted by thelonius at 11:09 AM on January 15 [3 favorites]


Hustling pool. My father's advice: "dress like a professor-- the elbow patches get 'em every time."

But to be a faux-dilettante you'd have to be a professor who is dressing to look like someone who isn't a professor but kinda sorta daydreams about how they might have become a professor if they'd really taken earnestly to their hobby. How does one convey that, I wonder? Really really new-looking elbow patches?
posted by yoink at 11:10 AM on January 15 [3 favorites]


Kierkegaard maybe would have pretended to be a dilettante, in service of that weird thing he had where he wanted everyone to think he was a gold-bricker.
posted by thelonius at 11:11 AM on January 15 [1 favorite]


Kierkegaard maybe would have pretended to be a dilettante

Good call. I can see Kierkegaard hustling pool, actually.
posted by yoink at 11:13 AM on January 15 [1 favorite]


I enjoyed Brothers III, but as an Austinite, found its jukebox lacking.

/divebar snobbery
posted by jcking77 at 11:13 AM on January 15


There's a dive near me, a place I haven't been to in a year or so, that's sort of an odd place. By day, it's a sort-of-creepy dive with a regular smattering of aging drunks and burnouts. Weekend nights, it's packed to the gills with under-30s (and possibly under-20s) drinking $2 PBR cans and Skittlebombs.

They always have exactly one really good craft beer on tap. I have no idea why. But more than once I've bought a twofer of a great beer for $5. They don't serve food, unless you count the Friday happy hour buffet (which, last time I was there, was actually really good: pernil and arroz con gandules from the Dominican place down the block).

The owner once asked us--entirely serious, I promise you--if we knew anybody with a crappy car who wouldn't mind "accidentally" crashing it through his front window. He wanted to use the insurance money to build a patio.

A friend of mine cut his hand to ribbons after a particularly heated carbomb race; he bled all over the place, just great torrents of blood. Nobody batted an eye, except to hand him a roll of paper towels and then mop the floor.

I'm making this place sound better than it is.
posted by uncleozzy at 11:14 AM on January 15 [5 favorites]


Siberia, late of Chelsea, was a dive bar, but it was also the worst bar in the world. In a bad way. They had a toilet hanging from the ceiling by a chain as "decoration." There was a downstairs room that was clearly just the utility cellar, but people would drink down there and mill around. Young women would randomly climb onto the bar and strip, which sounds hot but was NOT. Men weren't allowed to curse or hit on girls (which was fine with me), but the owner would randomly decide that you were hitting on someone because HE wanted to hit on her, and have you thrown out. My friend had her birthday celebration there once, and the owner threw me and her *boyfriend* out because he decided we were hitting on her.

God I miss those days.
posted by 1adam12 at 11:16 AM on January 15


Good lord, people. Come to Rochester. I've a number of places for you.

Enright's Thirst Parlor I think tops the list.
posted by oflinkey at 11:17 AM on January 15 [1 favorite]


I'm making this place sound better than it is.

That's the whole genre.
posted by thelonius at 11:18 AM on January 15 [9 favorites]


Authenticity is an ouroboros.
posted by benzenedream at 11:19 AM on January 15 [6 favorites]


The Mix here deep in the heart of San Antonio has a fifteen year track record of being absolutely a champion of Dive. Fascinating and friendly bartenders, some of whom I also know to be awesome musicians... a slightly off aroma... works by local graffiti artists... Three mostly level pool tables... live music and the eclectic tastes of local DJ's and the bar staff make it a home away from home. I nearly died no more then twenty feet from it's hallowed entrance.

Though I am no longer a practicing alcoholic... I am well known all up and down the St. Mary's Strip. The man who came full circle... and lived.

Cover? Not a requirement for me. I still pay because I want the musicians and artists to eat.

I even tip the doormen.

I am never left wanting when I stray through the dark... which is every night of the week for a rambler and a drifter like me.
posted by PROD_TPSL at 11:21 AM on January 15


I like my local dive for the karaoke and friendliness of the regulars, but really wish they had any beer at all that I actually want to drink. I'm not even all that picky, but lips that touch light beer will never touch mine, yo. I suppose I could go there more often if I tipped really heavily on pitchers of water.
posted by asperity at 11:21 AM on January 15


Brothers III is right down the street from my house. There’s a bakery nearby that used to only take cash. Walking into a well occupied Brothers at 7:30 AM to use their ATM with a screaming two-month old baby bjorned to your chest is a life affirming experience.
posted by gordie at 11:22 AM on January 15 [5 favorites]


Even if you used the correct word, "faux dilettante" doesn't make much sense. The guy pretends to have a superficial interest in a field? Why would anyone do that?

This is very helpful if you are an attractive fourteen-year-old girl trying to hustle Magic cards.

I mean, so I assume.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 11:25 AM on January 15 [10 favorites]


Yes, capitalism will devour everything you love so it may sanitize it and regurgitate it to sell to you at a markup.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 11:32 AM on January 15 [2 favorites]


The guy pretends to have a superficial interest in a field? Why would anyone do that?

First Bar Problems. I don't even own a TV liver.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:32 AM on January 15 [1 favorite]


1adam12: "Siberia, late of Chelsea, was a dive bar, but it was also the worst bar in the world. In a bad way. They had a toilet hanging from the ceiling by a chain as "decoration." There was a downstairs room that was clearly just the utility cellar, but people would drink down there and mill around. "

And before they moved to Chelsea, Siberia was a storefront within the Downtown arcade at the 50th street 1 station. That setup was even more surreal. And awesome.

"God I miss those days."

Yeah, me too.
posted by aerosolkid at 11:34 AM on January 15


Memphis bars close at two, which means you can't come in the front door. So you just go round the back.

Wasn't there a 24-hour place somewhere around Sam Cooper Blvd.? I haven't been back to Memphis for over a decade.
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:35 AM on January 15


I'd like to address the medicinal cocktail of Emergen-C and vodka


That seems like it would just compound a hangover. Emergen-C is kind of a scam, and the only boost of energy anyone gets from it beyond placebo is from the added sugar. Adding more sugar to your drinks usually makes hangovers worse, so...
posted by planetesimal at 11:36 AM on January 15


There's a dive bar around the corner from my apartment that has $2 Rolling Rock and a foos-hockey table. It is an excellent place to have a couple of drinks and watch a sport, though the last time we were, some drunk bro started giving the bartender shit about having the Rose Bowl on, and when the bartender told him that she had the Rose Bowl on because literally everyone else in the bar was there for the express purpose of watching the Rose Bowl, said drunk bro decided it was my fault and made his displeasure known by loudly declaiming against Michigan State. I wish I could say I was gracious in victory, but I totally wasn't.
posted by coppermoss at 11:40 AM on January 15


If you mean "There are no more dive bars in Manhattan," then say that.

what

The article has nothing about New York in it.
posted by threeants at 11:46 AM on January 15


Tuman's Alcohol Abuse Center.

/thread

(OK, no, not really. But still. Sigh and alas.)
posted by aramaic at 11:47 AM on January 15 [3 favorites]


My favoriate dive bar in the world is Wrigleyville North in Chicago. It's amazing. Super cheap pitchers of beer, a single pool table, they let you have food delivered since they don't serve any, a hilarious mixture of people from the young hipster and bro types too the random old dudes camped out at the bar all day, a house country band made up of grissled looking vietnam vets, the older female bartender in sweat pants, and the women's bathroom doesn't have stalls - it's just two toilets next to each other. Could you get anymore perfect? I don't think so.
posted by Arbac at 11:49 AM on January 15


1. Emergen-C works great if you add it to Gatorade and drink it before going to bed.

2. "Dive bar" is just a synonym for "regular bar in every other part of the country where the median income is less than $60k." Try getting a bespoke Sazerac or craft Belgian ale in rural Michigan, I dare you.
posted by grumpybear69 at 11:50 AM on January 15 [7 favorites]


I'm actually worried about the thing happening where there's like a hip backlash and everyone goes back to only serving Bud and Miller on draft.

Just a warning from one of the craft-beer Meccas of the country - I've actually been to this place.
posted by LionIndex at 11:51 AM on January 15


2. "Dive bar" is just a synonym for "regular bar in every other part of the country where the median income is less than $60k." Try getting a bespoke Sazerac or craft Belgian ale in rural Michigan, I dare you.

True that.
posted by Think_Long at 11:55 AM on January 15


I'm actually worried about the thing happening where there's like a hip backlash and everyone goes back to only serving Bud and Miller on draft.

I don't think you have to worry too much. Apparently it's already uncool/unhip to drink craft beer (hence the popularity of PBR, Genesee, 'Gansett, etc. at outrageous prices) but that's only a problem if you drink in places that are trying really hard to cultivate a certain kind of vibe.

Craft beers are now pretty firmly entrenched in "Dad bars" everywhere — those anonymous, not-especially-cool and definitely un-hip suburban bars where you go to drink and maybe stare vacantly at professional sports on TV, but not to see or be seen — which makes them pretty safe. It's a pretty rare bar these days where you can't at least get a Sam Adams (setting aside whether Sam Adams is really 'craft beer' anymore).

In fact, in another decade or two, drinking decent beer may become so uncool that it actually becomes an antistatus item that the hipsters can reacquire, beginning the circle all over again. Maybe Sam Adams will end up as the PBR or John Deere hat of the 2020s...
posted by Kadin2048 at 11:57 AM on January 15 [1 favorite]


For a bar to satisfy, I want it to provide me with a Yeungling, a group of grumpy old men bitterly going on about sports and politics, and possibly, if I'm feeling frisky, a platter of cheese fries

Yes. The kind of place where you never get a skunked Yuengling and there are fries on just about every sandwich. When you go in at noon, the old men have been there for hours pour their beer over ice.

My favorite dive, every Wednesday, gives you six wings with every beer. Straub is $2. Heaven.
posted by GrapeApiary at 11:58 AM on January 15 [2 favorites]


There was a place about a 1/2 mile away from me called the Hammond Lounge. No windows that I recall (or they were just covered and/or filthy), particle board booths that had to have been stolen from a fast food restaurant - old style stools (one or two without the actual stool part, just a bollard basically) and truly the most disgusting bathroom I can ever recall. We'd go to sit with the old guys and drink un-ironic PBR (the college kids stayed away) and long after my town went smoke free you could still light up inside.

Now it's the Washington Square Tavern, a perfectly nice place to get some really good food and an excellent single-malt, but damn sometimes I miss linoleum...
posted by jalexei at 12:00 PM on January 15


Aw, I thought it might be Snake n Jakes, the divest of them all, a rite of passage and setting of legendary stories if you live here or go to school here.
posted by Anitanola at 12:03 PM on January 15 [5 favorites]


bartender never checked IDs for the whole table when somebody bought a pitcher

Good lord, people. Come to Rochester. I've a number of places for you.


Oh no, you're not fooling me into returning. The wind has never blown so cold since I left, but the one thing I miss was a fine Irish bar that had daily specials on good beer in pitchers. I don't know if pitchers are going the way of the dodo or it's just New Hampshire, but 'round these parts the only places that offer beer in pitchers assume you're going to sully it with quarters or some stupid shit. Why do I have to get up every 5 minutes when I could refill the glass myself while waiting for the table to need another round?
posted by yerfatma at 12:04 PM on January 15 [1 favorite]


Matt's Bar in Huntingdon, PA. Never ended up going in, I opted for the trendier Memories and almost fancy Boxers, but man. Bare cinderblock walls, the blurry used-mostly-in-bathrooms glass blocks for front windows. I sorta regret not going in.
posted by Slackermagee at 12:09 PM on January 15


2. "Dive bar" is just a synonym for "regular bar in every other part of the country where the median income is less than $60k."

I hope this isn't true. I grew up in rural America and there are definitely what I would call "regular" bars (clean, adequately lit, serve beer and food at reasonable prices) and "dive" bars (gross, very dark, smells like spilled beer and vomit, but the beer and liquor are hopefully cheap and/or they won't cut you off if you're too drunk). Young, naive urbanites might call any bar that has Bud on tap a dive bar but hopefully the rest of us know better.
posted by muddgirl at 12:09 PM on January 15 [10 favorites]


(Although Wikipedia seems to disagree with me and classes any informal neighborhood street bar as a dive bar).
posted by muddgirl at 12:13 PM on January 15


I don't understand why this Yelp review of my favorite dive resulted in a one star review. Doesn't this sound like a place you want to hangout and drink?

"When my friend was desperate to grab a drink near my place last night, I suggested this dive bar I had walked by many times but never tried. But I guess when I think "dive bar" I think of the hipster, ironic Wicker Park dives that are still somewhat clean and attract patrons who aren't sixty year old alcoholics. This is Dive with a capital D. The bartender was dressed in gray sweatpants and Cubs sweatshirt, random old drunk dude kept asking me if I thought he was ugly, and I paid $5 for a watered-down Jack & Coke. But it was all worth it when a guy in his thirties put "Hello" by Lionel Ritchie on the jukebox three times in a row and laid his head down on the bar. Maybe it was their song?

Bottom line, this is a southern Illinois townie bar transplanted to Wrigleyville, complete with pool table, juke box, and blue collar dudes just looking to drink the night away"
posted by Arbac at 12:13 PM on January 15 [5 favorites]


Shhhhhhhhh. . .don't tell anyone about dive bars or people will be mixing them with cocktail bars and other flashes in the pan.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:16 PM on January 15


In the 20 years I lived in Tucson I drank in nearly every dive bar there. I'm not sure what the difference might be between "dive" and "neighborhood", though.

What occurred to me however, is that the true dive/neighborhood bar is the last bit of authenticity in food-service America. They're usually mom&pop owned and the owners are often on-site for at least one shift.

I have yet to see a dive bar franchise.

And they have such great names, Elmo's, Snuffy's, Home Plate, Elbow Room, Sportsman's, Lamp Lighter. Old Father, Wagon Wheel, Nevada Smith's, Sliver Room, Wooden Nickel, Driftwood, MInt, Hut, Chatterbox, Joe & Vicky's.

The Bashful Bandit was known as an outlaw biker bar. For years, it had the carcass of a Japanese motorcycle hanging from the eaves near the front door. Never had a drink there.

Here in Las Vegas, there are tons of d/n bars, almost all 24-hour operations - many have a doorbell which allows the bartender to lock the door after a certain time, but still let people in.

Unfortunately, I'm afraid I don't have enough liver left to start over.


posted by mmrtnt at 12:16 PM on January 15


Aunt Tiki's on Decatur Street in NOLA. If memory serves, that place didn't even have a door, just a doorway.

Checks out.
posted by mattbucher at 12:17 PM on January 15 [7 favorites]


There is a bar on Chambers Street in Tribeca, NYC, called The Patriot.

Prior to that there had been a short-lived bar there with a nominal $1M renovation -- mahogany and oak, marble, beveled mirrors, green glass lamp shades, etc.

The prior tenant was holding out to sell the lease to someone who would purchase the fixtures and renovations. It sat empty for over a year, until the new guys came in, without taking any fixtures.

To the contrary, the incoming guy stripped it down to distressed brick with crude spray paint graffiti. (The new owner also runs Hogs and Heifers.) Just after it opened, I witnessed a rowdy drunk come in and start ranting about the no smoking laws, refused to put out the cigarette, jostled the customers, and was ejected in a screaming tirade.

Then the bartender went outside and furtively gave the guy $20, praising his performance. They had hired an actor to play a rowdy drunk. Ten years later there are still lines to get in on weekends.
posted by StickyCarpet at 12:21 PM on January 15 [7 favorites]



Can't you just drink whiskey in a parked van?


it doesn't even have to be parked if you don't give a shit
posted by philip-random at 12:21 PM on January 15 [3 favorites]


Mudgirl: I almost wrote "an offensive term" instead of "a synonym" because I agree with you. The bar I'm thinking of is a 24-hour saloon which is perfectly clean and appropriately lit and only serves Coors and Bud for about $4 a pitcher. It's a great place which would totally be called a "dive bar" by most wet-behind-the-ears urbanites. The concept that places which only have domestic mainstream beers are a rare breed on the verge of extinction is a fiction alive only in the heads of people like the author, whose worldview is intensely myopic.
posted by grumpybear69 at 12:22 PM on January 15 [1 favorite]


Last time I went to a "dive" bar, closing time was basically fleeing from a street riot of at least 20 people that centered around, by my count, three domestics, full on dude with a bat and this dude has a gun oh god that guy just punched that woman unconscious and holy fuck my scooter is parked in the middle of all this shit.

So maybe next time less of that please and I would also like to not have my boobs grabbed if y'all can manage thanks guys.
posted by louche mustachio at 12:22 PM on January 15


My favorite dive bar is inside a bowling alley, which I think is all I need to say.
posted by troika at 12:23 PM on January 15 [1 favorite]


My favorite dive bar is inside a Public Swimming Pool.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:26 PM on January 15 [2 favorites]


My favorite dive bar is inside a bowling alley


Does it have karaoke as well? I heard the most intensely awesome rendition of "Cum On Feel The Noize" in a place like that, by a woman who was four feet tall, built like a tank, and from the sound of it had been drinking gravel and smoking Camel Straights since she was five. So basically an angel straight from Karaoke Heaven.
posted by louche mustachio at 12:27 PM on January 15 [4 favorites]


I'm probably headed out to drink $1.50 domestic drafts and watch my neighbors bowl at the Elks Club tonight. My back won't let me bowl right now but I can still drink. The pictures in that link are pretty tiny but both the regular bar and the bowling lanes bar are perfectly preserved from about 1965.
posted by octothorpe at 12:31 PM on January 15 [1 favorite]


neighborhood bars are community centers, and dive bars are dark caves to get drunk in.
posted by The Whelk at 12:33 PM on January 15 [4 favorites]


Can't you just drink whiskey in a van?

DOWN BY THE RIVER

Louisiana is also home to drive-thru daiquiri (alcoholic) stands

how is this even legal

Even if you used the correct word, "faux dilettante" doesn't make much sense. The guy pretends to have a superficial interest in a field? Why would anyone do that?

I take it you've never been to a terrible gallery opening, watching sad hipster boys and/or wankers desperately trying to get laid with the actually-interested-in-art person of their preferred gender, while trying to pull off the ironic distance/detachment schtick.

Makes for highly entertaining peoplewatching though!

I remember once going to this absolute dive bar in... I want to say Cedar Rapids, but the night is a bit hazy. $2/bottle for beer, which meant you got whatever the dude behind the bar--who seemed kind of like a guy they figured out was too crazy to be special forces a bit too late and then became a low-level hoodlum/bruiser--managed to fish out of the creaking, stuttering refrigerator. The one clear memory I have of the night was watching him pick some idiot fratbro by the neck of his shirt, one handed, and walking him out the door. I don't know why.

and oh god the toilet oh god oh god oh god. One of the (I assume) regulars buttonholed me on the way out (traumatized) and said something like "Yer new here, just go pish out back."

Good times.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:35 PM on January 15


The neighborhood bars that are within walking distance near our house are very much of the "this is a local bar for local people only" school. Pub Willard and Pub Mont Bellevue. The former proudly boasts a bartender with a tracheotomy, cheap slices of pizza on Tuesdays, a shitty jukebox, and the fanciest beer they seem to have is Rickard's. Shepherd and I went in there once or twice and we handily the youngest people there. The latter is about the same but this time with an internet jukebox that never plays anything anyone would want to listen to. These are bars that will never be invaded by hipsters or young folk. (They look completely off-putting, for one, and all the young folk flock to the bars downtown.)
posted by Kitteh at 12:37 PM on January 15


Ack! Forgot about The Territorial.

Supposedly the oldest continuously operating bar in Tucson? AZ? West of the Mississippi?

posted by mmrtnt at 12:39 PM on January 15


No doors- don't forget the Hideout! I remember buying a bottle of vodka from the bartender at Brothers one Mardi Gras- think it was about 10AM. I don't really miss those days but I do hate midnight last calls- which are far to common. Here in NYC we still have the Subway Inn dive.
posted by T10B at 12:40 PM on January 15 [1 favorite]


I spent plenty of time in many a shitty bar in New Orleans and Atlanta throughout my 20s and early 30s. I miss them but I think they're a distant memory for me now (and my liver).
posted by Kitteh at 12:41 PM on January 15


and oh god the toilet oh god oh god oh god.


Well, yes, that is how you know for sure you are in a dive bar, when availing yourself of the facilities requires years of therapy and a tetanus shot afterwards.
posted by louche mustachio at 12:42 PM on January 15


how is this even legal

My understanding is that, when you get your daquiri, they tape the top of the straw closed. If you get pulled over and the cop sees that the straw is opened, then they'll know you've been drinking and driving.

(I never really understood open container laws, myself.)
posted by muddgirl at 12:43 PM on January 15 [1 favorite]


The guy pretends to have a superficial interest in a field?

The implication I took from the article was that when the guy came in early in the evening, he appeared to be a casual drinker --- suburban dad type in a sweater and penny loafers, sippin' brandy --- but the fact that he was still there by himself knocking 'em back at 2:30 on a weeknight suggested that he was a full-time drunk. Thus faux-dilettante --- someone who wishes to appear casual and amateurish even though seasoned and professional.

I liked the article. I need to find another dive, I suck at pool these days.
posted by Diablevert at 12:44 PM on January 15


Well, yes, that is how you know for sure you are in a dive bar, when availing yourself of the facilities requires years of therapy and a tetanus shot afterwards.

More like Hazmat suit and full decontam procedures after.

My understanding is that, when you get your daquiri, they tape the top of the straw closed. If you get pulled over and the cop sees that the straw is opened, then they'll know you've been drinking and driving.

Well that makes perfect sense. Nobody would ever tape it back closed.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:48 PM on January 15 [1 favorite]


The word "mixologist" is used in "A Confederacy of Dunces," which John Kennedy Toole finished writing in 1963 and which is set in New Orleans, mostly. So... Not a new thing. More accurately, the craft cocktail thing is trendy, but the idea of calling a cocktail-oriented bartender a mixologist predates it by several decades.
posted by raysmj at 12:51 PM on January 15 [1 favorite]


Young, naive urbanites might call any bar that has Bud on tap a dive bar but hopefully the rest of us know better.

I've known some people for whom the term "dive bar" was basically synonymous with "bar that serves mostly beer." I've definitely been places they called dive bars that wouldn't dream of having Bud on tap.

I suspect these people have never darkened the door of an actual honest to goodness dive bar.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:51 PM on January 15 [1 favorite]


Yes. Check the number of teeth/number of regulars ratio.
posted by thelonius at 12:54 PM on January 15


I am still trying to grok this cycle of craft beers = hip / crap domestics = crap -> but PBR is hip but also a crap domestic -> craft beer = unhip / crap domestics = hip ->PBR now uncertain. Is there a flowchart somewhere? Are flowcharts still hip? I need a drink...
posted by Cookiebastard at 12:55 PM on January 15 [1 favorite]


Ah, when I lived in Pittsburgh, I never had the guts to walk into Jacks ("open 365 days a year"). Doing the Carson St Crawl, still we avoided it. Google Street Maps shows it's really cleaned up there in the past 20 years.
posted by k5.user at 12:56 PM on January 15


Oops, I had it a bit wrong - I'm telling this tale third-hand. According to the NYT the straw isn't inserted; it is generally presumed that scotch tape around the lid and over the top hole is good enough to make it a closed container. My favorite bit:
Troy Hebert, the commissioner of the Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control, said that even he was not completely clear on the ins and outs of daiquiri stand compliance.
posted by muddgirl at 12:56 PM on January 15


MetaFilter: It’s the dueling jukeboxes that really stand out.
posted by randomkeystrike at 1:04 PM on January 15 [1 favorite]


True dive bars, IMHO, need to meet certain requirements:

1. Clientele is mostly regulars with drinking problems
2. There is no real "decor"
3. Boxes and/or chairs and tables are piled up in in strange areas

In SF, The Summer Place on Bush & Mason used to fit that bill, as did Hawaii West in North Beach before it was renovated. That place had dried up dead fish in an empty fishtank.

In Brooklyn: Hank's Saloon on Atlantic and, at least superficially, Canal Bar.

Do shitty college bars count? Like PHI in Pittsburgh (RIP)?
posted by grumpybear69 at 1:04 PM on January 15 [3 favorites]


In DC - especially around the Hill, there are a number of divey-dive-diveity-dive bars which are generally the only places junior staffers can afford to drink.

I keep hoping to catch one or two Members of Congress at the Tune Inn but alas...
posted by Thistledown at 1:06 PM on January 15


My best friend used to bartend at the Raven in DC. The thing is, she didn't have to--she had a job--but she did it because it was a way of meeting people when she moved there. I always thought that was a bit odd.
posted by Kitteh at 1:08 PM on January 15 [2 favorites]


planetesimal: "Can't you just drink whiskey in a parked van?"

absolutely, but I think the usual protocol is to start with a proposal in IRL and move on from there...
posted by mannequito at 1:12 PM on January 15 [2 favorites]


I am still trying to grok this cycle of craft beers = hip / crap domestics = crap -> but PBR is hip but also a crap domestic -> craft beer = unhip / crap domestics = hip ->PBR now uncertain. Is there a flowchart somewhere? Are flowcharts still hip? I need a drink...

They're not really connected. Craft beers blew up because people wanted a little more variety and stronger flavors in their beer. PBR got popular in roughly the same time frame because it was the cheapest thing on the menu in a lot of places and to a lot of twentysomethings who had shitty/no jobs, being the sort of person who buys the cheapest thing has a sort of cachet to it. Then PBR got a little overexposed and pigeonholed as the beer of a stereotype, so there was a bit of a backlash and a retreat to other cheap canned beers (witness the rise of Natty Boh/Genny Cream/Gansett, etc). PBR's still in the mix at relatively hip places, though, because there will always be a market for the cheapest stuff.
posted by Copronymus at 1:12 PM on January 15


thelonius: It seems to me that, if you serve milkshakes, you are not a dive bar.

Milkshakes are a time-honored strategy to bring all the boys to the yard.
posted by dr_dank at 1:22 PM on January 15 [7 favorites]


I could instruct you but what with the economy being what it is.
posted by The Whelk at 1:24 PM on January 15 [19 favorites]


And they have such great names, Elmo's, Snuffy's, Home Plate, Elbow Room, Sportsman's, Lamp Lighter. Old Father, Wagon Wheel, Nevada Smith's, Sliver Room, Wooden Nickel, Driftwood, MInt, Hut, Chatterbox, Joe & Vicky's.

The best ones I have seen are Sticky's (home of the Stickyburger, in Clinton, Iowa) and my personal favorite, Murph's Tavernacle.
posted by CosmicRayCharles at 1:24 PM on January 15


My favorite dive bar is inside a bowling alley, which I think is all I need to say.

Come to Wisconsin, you'll love it here.
posted by desjardins at 1:24 PM on January 15 [3 favorites]


a bit of a stale cigarette smell from the old days

What do you mean "a bit" and "from the old days?"

No non-smoking bar can be a dive bar. Doesn't matter if it was always non-smoking, or went non-smoking twenty years ago, or yesterday. Doesn't matter if it happened voluntarily or by force of law. No smoking, no dive.

Note: A bar that is a de facto smoking bar, in defiance of the law, may still be a dive bar.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 1:32 PM on January 15 [1 favorite]


Come to Wisconsin, you'll love it here.

Yeah, I know it's not a unique-to-that-particular-bar or Buffalo thing. Though the wing bones in the urinals might be?
posted by troika at 1:33 PM on January 15


So 100+ comments and no one else is curious about and/or confused by the inexplicable anecdote about the Hispanic "helper" accompanying the owner of the bar, who was provided with a mattress next to the Pacman machine, upon which he proceeded to have an early evening nap? No? Just me?
posted by cilantro at 1:34 PM on January 15 [3 favorites]


My dive bar is the Mayfair on Amelia. It's a buzz-in bar. They don't serve food, but there's usually a crockpot with something on game days (Saints, natch). For the Seahawks away game we had tortilla soup. It was delicious.
posted by domo at 1:34 PM on January 15


My small hometown has a bar called the Sportsman's Lounge. They have amazingly greasy lunches, and they never carded. When I was in high school, we discovered Monday night was dollar beer night. We never tipped, but they t us anyways, and let us play beer pong on the unused ping pong table in the back room. I think they eventually realized dollar beer night wasn't such a good deal, and now it's like cheap pitcher thursdays, but the pitchers are too small. We drink them anyways.
posted by Grandysaur at 1:40 PM on January 15


There was a bar in Victoria, dunno if it's still there, that wasn't exactly a dive--catered to the dudebro crowd.

They served 50 cent beers in Solo cups, straight from a keg.

You can imagine what that was like. On Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday nights there was basically a cop car outside on a permanent basis.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 1:46 PM on January 15


Gotta say, opening and closing a classic American dive bar is one thing on my bucket list. The other US-based thing is folding up an entire New York pizza and pushing it into my maw.
posted by turbid dahlia at 1:47 PM on January 15 [1 favorite]


No non-smoking bar can be a dive bar. Doesn't matter if it was always non-smoking, or went non-smoking twenty years ago, or yesterday. Doesn't matter if it happened voluntarily or by force of law. No smoking, no dive.

I wouldn't call it a dive bar, because it's a college bar, but Jimmy's in Hyde Park, Chicago, was, I'm convinced, the smokiest place on Earth. They did a study in support of the smoking ban that found that being there was roughly the same as breathing after a volcano eruption. They'd turn on the ceiling fans to try to clear it out, but you could still just watch the smoke move around a bit; it didn't help.

I know smoking bans are good, and I'm always after my wife to quit, but the one time I went back when it was smoke free? It was not the same.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 1:49 PM on January 15 [1 favorite]


My Sin and the Lucky Star.

Best song about dive bars going.
posted by gingerbeer at 1:54 PM on January 15 [1 favorite]


Come to Wisconsin, you'll love it here.

Much of Wisconsin is just bars constructed on the ruins of other bars.
posted by louche mustachio at 1:58 PM on January 15 [8 favorites]


I wouldn't call it a dive bar, because it's a college bar, but Jimmy's in Hyde Park, Chicago, was, I'm convinced, the smokiest place on Earth. They did a study in support of the smoking ban that found that being there was roughly the same as breathing after a volcano eruption. They'd turn on the ceiling fans to try to clear it out, but you could still just watch the smoke move around a bit; it didn't help.

I know smoking bans are good, and I'm always after my wife to quit, but the one time I went back when it was smoke free? It was not the same.


Oh God yes I know this makes me a bad person but the air levels in there were apparently actually hazardous and I'm proud of my contribution to that.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 1:58 PM on January 15


The last time I was in Wisconsin I drove through a town with a population of 236 and I saw three bars (I'm sure I missed a few others).
posted by enn at 2:00 PM on January 15 [1 favorite]


Grumpybear, PHI is still there - there was talk of it shutting down several months ago, but it ended up not happening.

Granted, it's just a matter of time. CMU will eat that entire block eventually. But for now, undergraduates can still drink terrible peer and occasionally find themselves stuck to the floor by mysterious and unpleasant substances best not questioned.

I assume there's also still pinball. But I haven't set foot in there since I turned 21, so can't say for sure.
posted by Stacey at 2:01 PM on January 15 [1 favorite]


troika : My favorite dive bar is inside a bowling alley, which I think is all I need to say.

They literally closed every bowling alley in seattle. And then knocked down the buildings too just to spite us. There isn't a single one you can easily get to without a car, much less bus to late at night in existence anymore they're all FAR out of town. There used to be an amazing 24 hour place with a bar and diner in ballard that i still miss :(

lattiboy: A large number of "dive bars" (especially in urban centers) are incredibly image-conscious, which kinda negates the whole idea of being a "dive bar". If you have vegan appetizers and $6-a-pint craft beer you are NOT A DIVE BAR. You are a bar, and there is nothing wrong with that.

This is especially bullshit to me. Any place that charges $5 or even $6 for a pint of pbr/miller/raineer/etc is NOT a dive bar. And i think the biggest kick in the nuts is when a real dive bar closes, and then someone buys it out and says it's going to come back "better than ever". The comet in seattle is a perfect example. See, seattle requires bars to serve food.

So the comet had hungry man meals and a piece of shit goodwill microwave from the 70s. Their drinks came in clear plastic dixie cups like champagne at a low-rent wedding reception so people couldn't throw them at eachother. The mens bathroom had no door, and no stall doors either. It hadn't really been cleaned since probably the 70s or 80s. They wouldn't serve pitchers doing shows because people would beat the shit out of eachother with them. The place was owned and run by a group of aging punks.

Then a rich couple of developers who own a bunch of venues and bars bought it, and now it's coming back with "real food! and better everything!". The place had dollar bills stapled all over the ceiling and now they're gone, apparently "stolen". The entire place is getting cleaned up and will be fucking ruined and expensive.

That said, there is one real old ass dive bar left that i go to sometimes. The moon temple. This place still says "you must be born on or before todays date 1976 to drink" on the wall, and has a golden plastic 4 foot tall dragon nailed up among other faux-oriental tier-1 decorating choices. Let me tell you a moon temple story.

So i decide to have my birthday party there, because me and my friends all are either broke or cheap as hell, and love to get REALLY hammered. So i get there and ask my partner what she wants, and she says "oh, get me a tokyo tea". For those not familiar, that's basically a long island but with midori. Completely up the alley of a get-shitfaced place like this that's usually full of blacked out dads mumbling and slurring at sports on a blurry flat screen.

But they're out of midori. So whatever the hell he brings her(which to johnnys credit, IS green!) is absolute rocket fuel. It tastes a bit like mountain dew syrup without the water or carbonation and you can feel your frontal cortex cooking off like a can of ammo thrown in a bon fire with every sip you take.

So i get one too, and then my friends show up and buy me another one. After a while i stagger up to the bar with her and the barkeep goes "That the girl that ordered first one!" in his legendarily broken english.

They ALL hoist up "tokyo teas" and cheer or make various drunken congratulatory grunting or hootling noises.

By the time i lumbered off to a near by drive-in burger place to stuff my face with two burgers stuffed inside eachother saturated in frys and tartar sauce EVERYONE seated at the bar was completely 100% barney gumble hammered.

There's also a version called a "trash can" that's a long island with an upside-down red bull floating in it. I have never seen a group of girls go from totally normal and giggling to crying and punching eachother faster than those can induce.

Oh, and they have $6-10 giant platters of chinese food too. A friend of mine claims he saw a roach cooked into his once, but meh, it's greasy and good and exactly what you want when your better judgement is completely drowned.

That, is a dive bar. Not this $6 PBR vegan appetizer bullshit. If you buy a $10 drink there, you'll probably come pretty close to alcohol poisoning.
posted by emptythought at 2:50 PM on January 15 [16 favorites]


how is this even legal

muddgirl: My understanding is that, when you get your daquiri, they tape the top of the straw closed. If you get pulled over and the cop sees that the straw is opened, then they'll know you've been drinking and driving.


Or they don't put the straw inside at all, so you're not really getting an open container.

Some places also sell bottled beer, etc. If you drive up a little past the window, you might find a bottle opener attached to the wall. But hey, it was closed when they sold it to you.
posted by tofu_crouton at 2:53 PM on January 15


The moon temple.

i cannot convey how much I want to go to there
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 3:07 PM on January 15 [2 favorites]


Down with the "fake dive bars!" More real dive bars! Otherwise where will middle- and upper-class poverty tourists go to feel "real" and get their jollies off human misery by sitting near a hardcore alcoholic who is drinking himself to death at 2pm in the afternoon?
posted by drjimmy11 at 3:16 PM on January 15 [1 favorite]


The moon temple.

i cannot convey how much I want to go to there


It's both better and worse than it sounds. The point is that it is a drinker's bar with bartenders who believe in a drinker's pour, and it isn't in any other way remarkable for what it is. You only know about it if you are a serious drinker or are drinking friends with a serious drinker, and NOBODY goes there ironically or to be seen. I've only been there once, years ago. I'm still a bit hung over.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:18 PM on January 15 [1 favorite]


Can you get original jokes there too?

Mel Brooks said "No laugh is too cheap." Especially when it comes to making fun of PBR and shitty bands. Besides, the hipsters have moved on to Tecate by now. Unfortunately.
posted by ReeMonster at 3:27 PM on January 15


The last time I was in Wisconsin I drove through a town with a population of 236 and I saw three bars (I'm sure I missed a few others).

You definitely missed at least two more.

The unincorporated town down the road from ours was two bars.

I seriously just looked up the history of my hometown for this:

The Coloma area was first settled in 1849 by John Drake and a man named Stowe. Stowe stole lumber Drake left in the area when Drake had to leave due to a family illness. Stowe built a tavern with the timber, leaving Drake to build his tavern out of rough hewn logs.


Thus goeth the history of our very small town, and many small Wisconsin towns like it. First, you build the bar. Some may lie and say they built the church first, but we all know it is a lie.
posted by louche mustachio at 3:35 PM on January 15 [4 favorites]


To be fair, they tried to build the church first, but someone stold the church lumber to build a bar.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:38 PM on January 15 [3 favorites]


Pine Bluff, WI: one intersection, three bars. (And a Catholic church, of course.)
posted by Madamina at 3:53 PM on January 15


Typing from a bowling alley, beer in hand. I'll admit that the beer is Dogfish but it was only $3.50, I couldn't resist. Inexplicably listening to Cher.
posted by octothorpe at 4:01 PM on January 15 [1 favorite]


It's Raining Florence Henderson: It's both better and worse than it sounds. The point is that it is a drinker's bar with bartenders who believe in a drinker's pour, and it isn't in any other way remarkable for what it is. You only know about it if you are a serious drinker or are drinking friends with a serious drinker, and NOBODY goes there ironically or to be seen. I've only been there once, years ago. I'm still a bit hung over.

This is pretty accurate. Although in the past year or year and a half it's been overtaken by the UW frat boy crowd who all pour in there on thursdays/fridays/saturdays to "GET HAMMED BRO". Meh, at least someone is paying to keep the place open.

For what it's worth, i was introduced to the place by my friends crazy alcoholic dad. Like, the guy is a straight up conspiracy theorist. Fits right in at the place.

Feckless Fecal Fear Mongering: i cannot convey how much I want to go to there

Ok, another good moon temple story then. And let me stress this was a long time ago, when i was freshly 21... and that they card everyone now... and the liquor board has been on their ass.. and stuff.

Anyways, i pull in to the parking lot(why does this place have a parking lot? why do they let anyone drive to this place? why did i drive to this place? why do i own a car? where did i get this car again? is this even my car?) and as i go in the falling-off-the-hinges back door i notice that the ENTIRE "outside the back door" area which consists of a few extraordinarily stinky dumpsters, a wooden park bench, and some broken chairs is FILLED with 16 year old "SWAG BRO" type of wannabe gangster bro dudes. Baseball caps with the sticker on them, basketball shorts, long baggy perfectly fresh from the package white shirts, superdunks, the whole 9 yards. Like maybe 25 or 30 of them crammed in to this little tiny slatted fenced shithole area all shitfaced and screaming at eachother.

So i shove past them, intent on going in and slurping down my VODKAcranberry(text to scale)... and as i enter i realize the ENTIRE BAR is like this. There's maybe 4 people in the place over the age of twenty, and there's at least a 15 person line at the bar to grab a drink. Some of them look 14. They're all completely faded and bumping in to eachother like penguins.

I wrestle my way to the back, but not before being accosted by multiple girls to buy them a drink because "i'm not sure if he'll do it, comee onn ;)" and find my completely bewildered and bemused friends at a table in a corner.

"What the fuck is going on" "it's some guys birthday" "how the fuck old is he turning, 18? it seems like the entire class of 13 from ballard highschool is here"

It was one of the most surreal things i had ever seen already, but it was about to get more ridiculous.

So i end up just bailing two sips into my drink and handing it so a friend because i couldn't deal with this crap, and taking a couple friends with me. As we go back out the rear, there's now a fight brewing between a couple of the hammered and drugged out kids out back who want to act like they're "hard ass gangstas mayeng". I manage to skirt my way around the edge of it and get in my car, but now it's spilled out into the parking lot and has reached full on "one guy smashing the other guys head into the pavement like he's trying to murder him" status.

So i start the car, pull out, and start cruising through the u shaped parking lot and suddenly realize that A, my headlights are off still, and B, they're in the road-part of the lot. I was on one side of the U, and they were on the other, and i needed to go around it to get out without doing a 10 point turn.

For the full effect of this, you need to see a picture of my car. Look at that majestic ass motherfucker. Doesn't that look like something a serial killer would drive? There's rusty cages over the headlights and the exhaust basically consists of "yea, there's uh, some pipes. i don't know where they go or what connects to what". It's loud and scary looking, is the point.

So before my better judgement can kick in, i pop on the headlights while power-braking and just peel out at them at about 4000rpm with the engine roaring. It instantly breaks up the fight as they scatter opposite directions screaming like toddlers who just got spooked good on halloween trying not to get completely turned into chunky bro-nut-butter. I'm flying over the curb and power sliding into the street before they can even get a good look at who was even in the car. I spent more time laughing than i did not the entire way back to my friends house in fremont.

I like uh... saved that guy from getting his brain turned in to tapioca... or... something. yea.
posted by emptythought at 4:06 PM on January 15 [16 favorites]


Typing from a bowling alley, beer in hand. I'll admit that the beer is Dogfish but it was only $3.50, I couldn't resist. Inexplicably listening to Cher.

Dogfishhead 90 Minute IPA is the best of life.

One of the best bars I've ever been to was Rock'n'Bowl in New Orleans. It was Thursday night, so Zydeco night. We bought cheap beer, and listened, and watched. The jambalaya was better than I expected from a bowling alley/club/bar. It was a very, very good time.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:09 PM on January 15


chunky bro-nut-butter

pretty sure i've seen this movie
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 4:26 PM on January 15 [1 favorite]


emptythought: "Then a rich couple of developers who own a bunch of venues and bars bought it, and now it's coming back with "real food! and better everything!". The place had dollar bills stapled all over the ceiling and now they're gone, apparently "stolen". The entire place is getting cleaned up and will be fucking ruined and expensive."

The Comet didn't close because some mincing gastropub developers screwed them. The Comet closed because nobody went there. It had been months since they had functioning guns behind the bar. They were so behind on their bills that vendors stopped delivering to them, and they were buying beer at the QFC down the street.

It was occupying real estate that gets some of the heaviest foot traffic in Seattle, specifically in the youngest, gayest, hipsterest, coolest, most bar-hoppingest neighborhood, and the Comet still couldn't get people to drink there. All it had to offer was a vague unease that it might give you tetanus, while it was competing with just about every kind of specialty bar and restaurant imaginable in the same block.

Capital Hill's just not the kind of place that's practical for a dive bar that divey. There's still the Five Points, I guess, over in Belltown. Pill Hill has a couple of really sad-looking places, too. And hey, Comet licensed there logo to Nordstrom, so you can go get a Comet Tavern t-shirt, now!
posted by Vox Nihili at 4:30 PM on January 15 [1 favorite]


get a Comet Tavern t-shirt, now

If you wring it out, the residue tastes like stale desperation.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:34 PM on January 15


I still miss Ciral's House of Tiki in Hyde Park, Chicago. It was a dive Tiki bar.

It was one of the most magical places I have ever been to. The decor was like Tom Waits performing a cover of la Mer exploded all over the interior. The puffer fish lamps had clearly not been dusted in 20 years. It was lit almost entirely by old Christmas lights. The bartenders could still mix all the old tropical-style cocktails, and often in the appropriate glassware, although their excellent zombies were served in relatively innocuous milkshake glasses. Eventually, they had to institute a two-zombie limit for most patrons, because of the fights. The staff was comprised mostly of several sisters or cousins, of robust South Side Irish stock, who were aggressively hostile to undergraduates (which was fine with everyone else). They had a surprisingly good kitchen. The first time I ever drank there, I was later told that I:

-Performed a mostly accurate tabletop demonstration of the tarantella
-Adopted the mannerisms and accent of Udo Kier in My Own Private Idaho, to some acclaim
-Strolled obliviously through a street brawl on the way out

I remember none of these things. Despite all that, I was actually allowed to return.

After the day I've had, I wish my current neighborhood had a quiet dive bar nearby. Ciral's is gone, Tuman's is a shadow of its old self, the place at Chicago and California that didn't have a sign and was called either the Hiawatha or the Pizza Lounge changed ownership, and I moved back to Toronto.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 4:46 PM on January 15 [2 favorites]


Also Old Style on tap. I miss Old Style.


And $3 weeknight domestic beer and whiskey shot combos.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 4:57 PM on January 15 [1 favorite]



chunky bro-nut-butter

pretty sure i've seen this movie


pretty sure it was teh pr0n
posted by louche mustachio at 5:13 PM on January 15


so Toronto people, who misses the Duke of Connaught?
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 5:17 PM on January 15


I miss the upstairs at The Living Well.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 5:28 PM on January 15 [1 favorite]


My dive bar has really cheap drinks (last time I was there I had 4 small G&Ts for $10), popcorn & seasonings on the tables, and karaoke 7 days a week. Unfortunately, it is also in Billings, Montana. I need to plan a visit one of these days.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 5:47 PM on January 15


Notice how no one is talking about dives in SF/Oakland? The last ones that I knew about closed in the early aughts. Sigh.
posted by telstar at 6:00 PM on January 15


and I moved back to Toronto

Try out in the sort of Danforth/Donlands-to-Greenwoodish stretch, there's several full-on dives there. Also one on Queen, just east of Sherbourne, north side. Don't know its name sorry.

Oh and there's one or two in Little Portugal. Football on the TVs, old grumpy grizzled men drinking beer at 11am on a Tuesday. Rather too brightly lit to really be dives though.

Ummm where else... would The Imperial Public Library count as a dive? It sort of straddles the line between dive and shitty pub.

so Toronto people, who misses the Duke of Connaught?

The only bars I was going to when I was underage were gay bars, because, well, cute-ish teenager boys didn't have to show ID at those back in the 90's, plus more chance of getting laid. There's always the Brunnie if you want that heady mixture of vomit, bro-sweat, and desperation.

I miss the upstairs at The Living Well.

Oh yes. That's where Zelda's moved after it inexplicably closed, yeah? And I'm serious about inexplicably.. I don't recall a single time I ever walked past there that it wasn't at least half full, especially weekends from April to almost October.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 6:06 PM on January 15


and oh wow, just remembered there used to be one right around the corner from me, at Queen & Mutual. Holy shit was that place traaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaagic.

Cheap beer though.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 6:07 PM on January 15


Using the words 'dive bar' and 'rara avis' in the same sentence means I am not going to listen to you any more.

Anybody remember the Churchill Arms (I think I'm remembering the name), on the western edge of the E. Hastings strip, kitty-corner to Pigeon Park, back in the 80s, in Vancouver? Spent a lot of nights there with the old men way back before I got old myself, drinking flat draft out of dirty pipes. It's probably a Starbucks now or something.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:08 PM on January 15 [1 favorite]


Notice how no one is talking about dives in SF/Oakland?

Does Lucky 13 count as a dive?
posted by naoko at 6:08 PM on January 15 [1 favorite]


pretty sure it was teh pr0n

It was a tasteful documentary on the mating habits of college-aged gentlemen.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 6:08 PM on January 15 [3 favorites]


It's probably a Starbucks now or something.

Everything in Vancouver is probably a Starbucks now. Is there still that intersection where there's a Starbucks each on two diagonal corners? Commercial and something maybe? Can't remember.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 6:10 PM on January 15


Oh yes. That's where Zelda's moved after it inexplicably closed, yeah?


Well, it was the same ownership. Zelda's was an attempt to branch out to Church street, and draw a more mainstream gay/drag crowd (as opposed to the nondenominational freak crowd that was the Living Well). When Zelda's on Church shut down, they re-branded the Living Well as the new Zelda's. Then there was that fire...

As far as the "inexplicable" part goes, let's just say that most of the profits were banked...nasally...



Everything in Vancouver is probably a Starbucks now.

Many things in Toronto as well. There was a goth club on Queen W. called Sanctuary that is now a Starbucks...

...the saddest Starbucks in the world.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 6:22 PM on January 15 [3 favorites]


Red's in Sikeston, Mo. Small, dark, and rather dirty in its day.

Recently morphed into a coffee house after several years of empty.
posted by wrapper at 6:24 PM on January 15


As far as the "inexplicable" part goes, let's just say that most of the profits were banked...nasally...

Ah, I never knew the owners, but that is hardly surprising.


and omfg Sanctuary became a fucking Starbucks?

no. please no.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 6:27 PM on January 15


How can we be talking about dive bars in Seattle and NOT be talking about the Blue Moon?! I ended up there with 6 other people after choir rehearsal because every place else on the Ave was either closed or having karaoke night, with which we could not deal, and we needed hot toddies. We ordered seven hot toddies, and got served them in 4 irish coffee mugs and 3 random coffee mugs, one of which had that "Footprints" poem printed on it. And this was a month ago, after it had re-opened under new management and therefore smelled like bleach instead of. . . whatever it had smelled like before, which was an aroma that defied description.

I mean, I'm not saying that's a true dive bar experience. Just that the blue moon is a pretty divey bar.
posted by KathrynT at 6:31 PM on January 15 [1 favorite]


I keep hoping to catch one or two Members of Congress at the Tune Inn but alas...

Several members of congress are regulars at the Tune (or were). One guy was also a regular on the cot in the back room. Not every congressman is a Top of The Hill type. Man I miss the Tune Inn y'all.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:54 PM on January 15


Notice how no one is talking about dives in SF/Oakland?

No, you just haven't been to the Missouri Lounge- much less tried to use the bathrooms there.

I am still crying into my beer over the demise of the Mars Bar in NYC. The sign on the doorway read "Daycare for Drunks."
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 7:08 PM on January 15 [1 favorite]


Kathryn T: How can we be talking about dive bars in Seattle and NOT be talking about the Blue Moon?! I ended up there with 6 other people after choir rehearsal because every place else on the Ave was either closed or having karaoke night, with which we could not deal, and we needed hot toddies. We ordered seven hot toddies, and got served them in 4 irish coffee mugs and 3 random coffee mugs, one of which had that "Footprints" poem printed on it. And this was a month ago, after it had re-opened under new management and therefore smelled like bleach instead of. . . whatever it had smelled like before, which was an aroma that defied description.

I mean, I'm not saying that's a true dive bar experience. Just that the blue moon is a pretty divey bar.


Nah, that place counts. I actually have to avoid it because a crazy hobo who was stalking me frequents the place. He may or may not have moved on to bellingham like he said he was going to last time he confronted me on the bus... but i'm not taking any chances.

That place though, is a dive bar in the truest sense. For those not from seattle, there's this motorized statue outside the seattle art museum.

This bar has a crappy plywood version of that statue holding a tall boy, raising it up to it's mouth connected to some random old motor from a hardware store. So yes, it actually does the same arm motion... but drinking. They call it the "Hammered man". My dad says it's been there since the 70s in some form.

Or at least it did, i don't know if that's still there. It would be sad if it was gone though.

As for the people talking about Vancouver and SF, how can ANY place afford to stay open as a dive bar there? Everything there is sooooo goddamn expensive. As far as i can tell, there's no cheap parts of vancouver. And there's DEFINITELY no cheap parts of SF until you get outside actual city limits(i'm sure there's oakland dive bars, etc). Barring some young rich tech dude who either went to school or grew up in the area buying up his favorite college drinking spot and "preserving" it, or the bar he hung out at when he came up with his billion dollar idea... how do these places stay open?

A lot of divey memorable places, and not just bars have fallen victim to spiking real estate prices jacking rents up super fast in seattle. Hell, they're trying to knock down the goddamn moon temple to build a CVS right now.(bonus picture of the moon temple for non seattle people. Look at the outside, imagine how awesome the inside is. Hell, look at some of the interior photos on yelp. it's like a Quentin Tarantino set)
posted by emptythought at 7:12 PM on January 15


As far as i can tell, there's no cheap parts of vancouver.

Uh, East Hastings?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 7:14 PM on January 15


I used to work around the corner for the Missouri Lounge, about 10-15 years ago that place cleaned way up (back when those few blocks of San Pablo suddenly had things opening nearby). If you think it's divey now you should have seen it then.

And if someone is honestly claiming there's no dive bars in Oakland... I think you aren't looking very hard. Hint: there's a lot of Oakland.
posted by aspo at 7:17 PM on January 15


San Francisco too actually. Yeah if you limit yourself to a few neighborhoods you aren't going to find any real dive bars, but there's a lot more of SF.
posted by aspo at 7:37 PM on January 15


I'm old enough to remember when there were kind of only dive bars, aging fern bars, and that start of a new generation of microbreweries/upscale pubs. As a result, having been thrown on them in my younger days, I don't have much romantic sensibility for the old dive bars. As a young woman, I was always resistant to going into one for the first time without either having someone go with me or a chance to otherwise scope it out. Irish pubs were usually OK, but it depended on where you were and when.

I also have no romantic feeling for crappy corporate American mass-market beer which tends to be on offer; to me that represents only the nadir years of American brewing, not some nostalgic past that was worth saving. It is a post-Prohibition/consolidation anomaly that only massive brewery products would be available.

I've had some fun in some dives in places where the dive was the only choice, but like a lot things, a few great places/examples that live on in memory (or have managed to hang on) belie the majority of fairly lame, unfriendly, bigoted, old and dirty neighborhood dive bars that were honestly never that great to begin with. Dive bar nostalgia is better than the dive bar, as a general phenomenon, ever really was.
posted by Miko at 7:37 PM on January 15 [7 favorites]


AnecdoteFilter: In my youth, I worked a 6a-2p shift at a local rental car agency. The agency was located at a local hotel which was really close to our local international airport.

The 8am bar rush was something my twenty year old self had to be shown, it couldn't be described. Who the fuck goes to the bar at 7-8 am? Apparently, it's people with family to support and who'd like to tip a couple after work.
posted by Sphinx at 7:37 PM on January 15


A lot is coming back to me. Because I worked in summer camps and a big environmental ed program, I spent a lot of time living in the sticks, but in isolated facilities with people drawn from all over the US, the cities, colleges, etc. A lot of my dive bar experiences put us in extreme-rural New England or PA or Southern NJ, 20+ years ago, where there were many awkward nights getting the stink eye from the regulars because of the racial/ethnic composition of the group or our choices of clothing or behavior or suchlike. It really wasn't all that awesome, though being out was always better than being stuck another night at our facility.

One thing I will say, I got really good at darts. In my 20s I was one of the best dart players, particularly female dart players, most people had ever encountered. I still have my own darts and case, but I play so rarely now I can't turn in much of a good performance. However, I did love walking up to a dartboard in the late afternoon under the skeptical eyes of whoever the regulars were and plunking a few triple-20 warmups in.
posted by Miko at 7:43 PM on January 15 [1 favorite]


The 8am bar rush was something my twenty year old self had to be shown, it couldn't be described. Who the fuck goes to the bar at 7-8 am?

I feel like this is/was a pretty common thing in the old manufacturing towns of New England. When there were three shifts at any kind of plant, one of them got off at 7, along with police and hospital workers. For them, it was basically 6 in the evening - happy hour. And the bars were open.

There were a few bars in Central CT where I lived for a while that used to serve breakfast. Many of them closed 11-3 and reopened at 3 PM. It's been a long time since I was around a place like that; not sure how many are left. They were already an anomaly when I was around, places for old guys.
posted by Miko at 7:47 PM on January 15


I clicked on this ready to read about an underwater facility serving Mai Tais. I guess I need to get out more.
posted by Danf at 7:50 PM on January 15


Yeah, early morning bars were common here in Pittsburgh when the mills were running. There were usually bars right across the street from the entrances to the mills and guys would leave from the 11 - 7 shift, walk across to the bar and down a few shots of Imperial chased with Iron City before heading up the hill to sleep until suppertime.
posted by octothorpe at 7:59 PM on January 15 [1 favorite]


Here's a picture of an old steelworkers dive bar on Pittsburgh's Southside from about twenty years ago. That was transformed a few years ago into "Le Brew House" but that seems closed now. I'm sure some other trendy bar will replace it.
posted by octothorpe at 8:14 PM on January 15 [1 favorite]


naoko: "Notice how no one is talking about dives in SF/Oakland?

Does Lucky 13 count as a dive?
"

No.
posted by gingerbeer at 8:29 PM on January 15


TheWhiteSkull, that place on California and Chicago is now the Contiential, and while not what you'd call a dive, it's pretty alright if you get there before 2am.
posted by dogheart at 8:57 PM on January 15


yea, the Living Well - I miss zombie night - girls pay $5 and get free zombies all night. the awesome crowd of totally blasted girls was magnificent.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 9:38 PM on January 15


and omfg Sanctuary became a fucking Starbucks?

no. please no.


They reopened at another location under the name "Vatikan." Then they shut down again and I'm pretty sure a Starbucks opened up there as well.
posted by 256 at 12:50 AM on January 16


My favourite dive bar is right near a huge hospital. 150 years ago the hospital was a smallpox sanitorium and the porters who delivered new patients (and removed the dead ones on their way out) would stop there for a beer or ten. Until the local population protested that this was spreading smallpox, which turned out to be true.

You can't shake that kind of death-fuck-it feeling from a place, no matter how many times the owners try to fix it up with lampshades and stuff.
posted by colie at 3:37 AM on January 16 [6 favorites]


Bars as such haven't really been a thing here historically. It's been more about pubs and beer gardens, perhaps partly because of the climate or maybe the legal opening hours that saw me spend plenty of Sunday afternoons waiting outside the Surfers Beer Garden with mates for the 2 o-clock opening.

I do remember a place that was more of a club than a bar. In name, anyway (this was late '70s to early '80s). Definitely a dive. Originally called 'The Kiwi Club' but later 'The Terrace', it was at the top of a treacherous staircase that was steep, narrow, dark and had stairs of various sizes. Just one of the reasons this place was unlicensed was that these stairs were the only way in or out - no other doors and no windows. In those days, nightclubs all closed at 2 am, so that was pretty much when The Terrace started to get busy. Honestly, there was no reason to be there unless there was no alternative (going home doesn't count). It was dark and dirty, the music was shit (but it was loud) and the drinks were both expensive and weak. It closed at 6:30 am after serving breakfast, the quality of which was, well, if you've been drinking for eight hours I guess it was good enough. Good enough to fortify you for the drive home anyway. It was common for ambulances to be parked at the end of the alley used to get to the front door after some poor unfortunate couldn't quite manage the stairs on the way out. I don't know what a dive is if that place doesn't qualify. Ah, memories.
posted by dg at 4:27 AM on January 16


Now with 80% more lipstick stained glasses.

Drink up.
posted by stormpooper at 7:16 AM on January 16


There's a bowling alley on the backroad from Dover to Rochester NH that's apparently so awesome Google doesn't know about it. Whenever we go that way my wife and I threaten to take each other to the attached bar; now it sounds like I have to, if just for anthropological reasons.
posted by yerfatma at 7:28 AM on January 16 [2 favorites]


I live in Duluth, and I miss Slim Goodbuzz.

Dives you wouldn't even go to, because you aren't Slim Goodbuzz.

(If you aren't offended by the annoying lack of navigation on this blog, you might be offended by a variety of things he writes.)
posted by RedEmma at 10:59 AM on January 16


And $3 weeknight domestic beer and whiskey shot combos.

Come back to Chicago, Delilah's still does that. I think they reinforced the floor in the upstairs bathroom, and I haven't seen the stringy-haired junkie bartender in a long time, but otherwise it's still alright.
posted by aramaic at 11:31 AM on January 16


There are some dives left in SF and Oakland. Their names will not be typed (by me), don't wanna jinx them . . .
posted by nikoniko at 12:25 PM on January 16


If you are pining for a dive bar you are welcome to come visit me in Northeast Minneapolis where absolutely unironic dive bars are about as rare as a Canadian goose. Also you can alternate with a church every other stop on the crawl.
posted by nanojath at 1:45 PM on January 16


The dive bars in Northeast may be unironic, but dude, the clientele is anything but. long live the Yacht Club!
posted by Think_Long at 2:08 PM on January 16


We do get a couple of hipsters in there possibly.
posted by nanojath at 2:10 PM on January 16


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