Whatever Happened To Dive Bars?

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Decojuicer

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So the wife and I went out last night. She wanted to Karaoke with a couple of her friends, so that put any brew pub out of the running. Convinced that I was going to be drinking liquor for lack of good beer, I decided that if we were going to go Karaoke, then I wanted to go to a dive bar.

Do you know how hard it is to find a dive bar these days? We drove around for almost 2 hours checking out different bars. The first bar that we went into had fairly dim lights, and a stripper pole on the dance floor. It looked promising. Then they told us that we couldn't have a glass of ice water, but had to BUY a bottle of water for $2.50!! WTF!!! Since when did they stop giving people water?? The worst part though was when they brought me me drink and the glass smelled like somebody puked in it.

The next bar that we went to had every light on and they were doing a dance/karaoke night. No thanks. We didn't even stay for a drink.

The third stop was at a bar that I had been to back in the day, and back then, it was the very definition of a dive bar. Except now all of the tables were light oak, the lights were all turned WAY up, and there wasn't even a juke box playing. What happened?? Even the old drunk at the end of the bar was gone. It wasn't fair.

The next stop took us to meet SWMBO's friends at another bar close to their house...20 minutes away. On the way there, my bride called ahead to talk to her friends who were already at the bar. When she hung up, she looked at me and said, "you're going to hate this place." Sure enough, when we pulled up out front, the sign was PINK F'ING NEON!!! I quickly announced that I wasn't even going in to this one, so I walked into the paint store next door to the bar and found out that they had a great selection of beers, including Bell's Two-Hearted. Score 1 for daddy!!!

So I drank a beer in my truck while I was waiting for my wife's friends to finish their drink and pay their tab. When they came out, I told them that we were going to a place I knew from the old days, and that I still drive by often. This place hasn't even changed their sign in the last 5 years. The sign proudly proclaims "Warm Beer & Lousy Food". When we got there, the place was packed and I was starting to get worried that we wouldn't be able to get a table, but my wife ran in and grabbed one that was just clearing. I walked in, and it was like coming home. The lights were dim, the karaoke music was way to loud, a cloud of cigarette smoke hung just above the heads of all the people, and the same three drunks that I remember were sitting at the end of the bar.

I almost cried.

We went in and our tattoo covered waitress came over to take our order. I got a shot of Jack on the rocks and a Sam Adams Winter Lager on tap. My wife ordered a Lemon Drop and a glass of water, and the waitress brought a pitcher a 4 big tumblers. My wife's friends ordered a Margarita and an Amaretto Sour. The waitress looked at them really funny when they ordered, and then looked at me and I just shrugged. When their drinks came, they were horrible, and they of course complained about them the whole night. Finally I asked them what they expected, this is a shot and a beer bar. Have a shot, or have a beer, or order a coke and STFU.

After that, the night went great.

I love a good dive bar every now and then.
 

Shonuff

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You are from Shelby Twp? I can think of about 10 good dive bars in Oakland County (Royal Oak, Clawson, Berkley, Ferndale, Birmingham area)
 

TxBrew

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My town is filled with them. Love shooting some pool and drinking cheap liquor at some seedy hole in the wall. Countless crazy stories from them.
 
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Decojuicer

Decojuicer

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Yeah, but I work for down in Madison Hts., so I like to stay away from there. I can think of a couple good bars down that way too.
 

BrewinJack

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No place like dive bars to play a good round of pool and make a little money. I dont get the whole modern cleaned up bar atmosphere, its stupid, bars arent socail clubs... if you want a social club then go to a socail club, bars arent night clubs, if you want an F-ing night club go to an F-ing night club. At those places you pay to much money for a watered down fuggin martini when all you want is a double shot of F-ing gin in a funny shaped glass, with an olive on top. I support my local dive bar when i really want to get tanked... You walk in drop a 5 in the DD box walk over to the bar and order your drink, you get your drink and you drink it and when its gone you get another and so on... when your to drunk to order and you start to sway in place the bartender rings a bell and a local college guy who need ths extra cash and likes the idea of getting his tab paid off walk over helps you out to the parking lot, makes sure your car is good and locked up for the night, helps you into his **** box car, fallows your heavily slurred directions home, helps you up to the door, makes sure you have your keys, and then drives right back to the bar and does it all over again. Thats a dive bar for you, a well oiled and serivce oriented machiene, a drunk manufacturing assembly line, its not pretty, its not stylish, but its home all the same... and some times you just want to go where everybody knows your name... and where theres a box which says DD by the door or a jar which says Cab Fare on the bar...

Cheers
 

eriktlupus

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we got a comedy club here in town (GARY FIELDS) where when the owner intros the comic he says that he'll drive anybody home who is to drunk to drive in their car and one of the waitstaff will follow in his car, cause your not gonna puke in gary's car.:drunk:
 
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Decojuicer

Decojuicer

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What I don't get is why all of these bars turn the lights way up now. If I am in a dive bar, I don't want to see the other sad SOB's that I'm drinking with. And give the ugly people a chance to get laid too. Keep those lights down.
 

hopdog

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What I don't get is why all of these bars turn the lights way up now. If I am in a dive bar, I don't want to see the other sad SOB's that I'm drinking with. And give the ugly people a chance to get laid too. Keep those lights down.
+1 on the lights but, man, I just can't handle Karaoke. Perhaps if I were not such a piss-poor singer. I like a dive with a decent band.
 

BrewinJack

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What I don't get is why all of these bars turn the lights way up now. If I am in a dive bar, I don't want to see the other sad SOB's that I'm drinking with. And give the ugly people a chance to get laid too. Keep those lights down.
I know i mean i dont remember the last time i picked up a women in a bar... considering they only started letting me in about 6 months ago thats not long... but still, most of the bars i frequant use compact florecents(which seem natrally dim) and dimmer switches and they dim the lights as the night progresses, so at closeing time they can turn them up really really high and make eveyrbody want to leave... lol

Cheers
 
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+1 on the lights but, man, I just can't handle Karaoke. Perhaps if I were not such a piss-poor singer. I like a dive with a decent band.
I dated a girl once who used to win money on a fairly regular basis in Karaoke competition. Of course, she was a music teacher. That pretty much made up for the whole having to deal with listening to people who clearly couldn't sing, well, sing - or strangle a cat - or whatever the heck it was they were doing.

Good luck finding a decent band playing anywhere, though... That, too, seems to be a dying art.
 

BrewinJack

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I dated a girl once who used to win money on a fairly regular basis in Karaoke competition. Of course, she was a music teacher. That pretty much made up for the whole having to deal with listening to people who clearly couldn't sing, well, sing - or strangle a cat - or whatever the heck it was they were doing.

Good luck finding a decent band playing anywhere, though... That, too, seems to be a dying art.
I know, but the local brew pubs they seem to attract a good ticket some times... many a time i have sipped a decent micro brew and enjoyed a decent van band (normally 3-5 guys and a van with all there gear)

cheers
 

MoRoToRiUm

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I was just at my dive last night! 50 cent pool, CHEAP beer, dim lights, smoke, faux darkwood tables, assortment of metal patio like chairs and black padded ones (a few taped up), regular drunks, same bartenders who just need to know if I want a small or large pitcher, jukebox (off last night due to football)...

Woman came in and asked for sex on the beach, bartender looks at her- "how do you make that?" "I don't know" he goes in the back, returning holding a mix drink book, fumbling at it's pages, "we don't have everything to make that; want a beer?"
 

Zul'jin

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Hold on now. Any place should be able to make a decent Sour. It aint rocket surgery.

The best in Fat City were Dinos, Last Stop and Zepplins. Uncle Mikes was good too sometimes if the other crowds spilled into it. Then there was the Howling Wolf.

Now for a bit of sleaze, we went to Paradise Lounge or the Matador. For full on trash and a chance to go to jail or at least be stalked by nasty hookers, the Candle Light Inn. Man, that place smelled like old shrimp and smoked crack.
 

MrNate

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Finally I asked them what they expected, this is a shot and a beer bar. Have a shot, or have a beer, or order a coke and STFU.

After that, the night went great.

I love a good dive bar every now and then.
That is awesome. If you're using more than one word to order a drink in a dive bar, you're missing the point.
 

cubbies

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My neighborhood bar is a craptacular Elks lodge. Great place to play darts, pool or video bowling. I talked them into getting a "different" beer and they got Newcastle. Far from earth shattering, but not a bad beer for a place like that.
 

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While I have a tendency to get my drink on at either my local F.O.E. or V.F.W. I do not partake in beer there, as they do not have anything worthy of being partook. That said Omaha has more bar's per capita than any other city. We have plenty of neighborhood bars, which if they overacheived might be considered a "dive". I visited a fair share of these during my younger and more impressionable years and had a fabulous time at each one. Hell me and the SWMBO got married in what could be considered a "Dive".
 

kjung

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I grew up in Chicago, which is famous for it's neighborhood bars. EVERY neighbohood has at least a couple of them, and that's where you learned how to drink. Most of them even let you in under-age. Have a few beers and/or shots, shoot some pool, throw some REAL darts, and hit on the local girls. That was how you grew up.
When the ex and I had kids she decided that the town we grew up in was a better place to raise the kids, (the school system IS much better here than the city had, back then) so she moved us out here.
What a shock to the system going nto a bar was, in this little conservative, church-influenced 'burb ! There was only one place that could qualify as a neighborhood bar/dive, and that was a biker bar that most locals were afraid to go into.
Once the ex and I seperated, I decided to check out the biker bar. The moment that I walked in, I felt like I was home ! Everyday, working class people, pics of GOOD bands on the walls (the owner is a HUGE Dead fan !), a great juke box, and a GREAT beer selection !!!
The deciding factor to make this my local, however, was the night that my divorce was finalized. I walked in to celebrate, saw a couple of people that I knew, not even friends, and talked with them. As soon as I told them why I was there, I was not allowed to pay for another drink ALL NIGHT. Even the bartender started buying me drinks ! THAT is MY kinda bar !!!

Best of all, when I started dating my SWHBO, I found out that her house is walking/stumbling distance from this place !
 
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Decojuicer

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The coolest bar that I was ever in was in Chicago.

Some friends and I went there for St. Patrick's Day, and the night before, they wanted to go to some "club". I think that it was called Excaliber, or something like that. After a minor altercation with a half dozen bouncers that, thankfully ended with the police showing up and saving my life, I branched out on my own.

I wound up in this little blues club that I probably couldn't find again if I tried. I don't even think that it had a sign out front. I only noticed because somebody was walking out when I walked by.

Cool crowd there. Good music. Good booze.
 

kjung

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The coolest bar that I was ever in was in Chicago.

Some friends and I went there for St. Patrick's Day, and the night before, they wanted to go to some "club". I think that it was called Excaliber, or something like that. After a minor altercation with a half dozen bouncers that, thankfully ended with the police showing up and saving my life, I branched out on my own.

I wound up in this little blues club that I probably couldn't find again if I tried. I don't even think that it had a sign out front. I only noticed because somebody was walking out when I walked by.

Cool crowd there. Good music. Good booze.


There is no place better than Chicago to celebrate St. Patrick's day ! Either Pub Row, on the far South Side, or The Abbey or The Irish Cultural Center on the North Side. I've tried to go to The Abbey, ONCE, on St. Pat's day, and the line was forming my 7:AM !

Been to Excalibur, too. They tried to charge me a $10 cover, on a MONDAY NIGHT !!!

Chicago has the best blues bars I've ever been in. I took a date to The Checkerboard Lounge, once. The Checkerboard was, and still is, in a real bad neighborhood. The bouncer walked us back to our car as we left, just to make my date feel better. Another night, some friends and I wound up drinking with George Thorogood(sp ?) at our table, becaue there was nowhere else for him to sit. Of course, he bought a couple of rounds, too !
 
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Decojuicer

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My son is a St. Patrick Day baby. For his 21st birthday, I plan to take him and some friends to Chicago. He'll be 5 this year. You are all invited!!
 

Ryan

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LOL. Where did you go Mike? I can think of 3 dives right off the top of my head.
 
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Decojuicer

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I ended up at Coachman's, over on Auburn Rd., right where it turns into Auburn from Mound.

We thought about Waldenburg Bar, or the Kit Kat Klub, but went to Coachman's instead.
 

kjung

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My son is a St. Patrick Day baby. For his 21st birthday, I plan to take him and some friends to Chicago. He'll be 5 this year. You are all invited!!


LMAO ! Just let me know where. I'll be there.


My son and SWMBO's' son turn 21 in 6 years, both just after St. Pat's. I'm gonna try to sneak them in someplace for their first.
 
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Decojuicer

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Here's a picture of one of the bars glasses. Somehow, this glass ended up in my truck. I have no idea how. It must have been a bar troll.



I don't know if you can tell, but the glass actually reads "Warm Beer & Lousy Food". Oh, and did I mentioned that I followed the cook out of the bathroom and he didn't even stop at the sink. Never even looked at it. I am so glad that I didn't eat there.
 

BrewinJack

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The coolest bar that I was ever in was in Chicago.

Some friends and I went there for St. Patrick's Day, and the night before, they wanted to go to some "club". I think that it was called Excaliber, or something like that. After a minor altercation with a half dozen bouncers that, thankfully ended with the police showing up and saving my life, I branched out on my own.

I wound up in this little blues club that I probably couldn't find again if I tried. I don't even think that it had a sign out front. I only noticed because somebody was walking out when I walked by.

Cool crowd there. Good music. Good booze.
Oddly enough i think i know where your talking about... i was newly 21 about a week after my birthday and ended up in chicago for a really dumb concert with a couple of old highschool what you might call friends when they are the only people you used to see on a daily basis and what i call asswholes... They were smoking pot and being really ****ing dumb in downtown Chicago and were gonna go hit up a local durg dealer for some weed and that was too much for me... I mean i tolerated the ****ty music and the crapy bar, and even those two passing a joint all ****ing night and being the dumbest two people god created... I had the keys to the car, and was sober enough to walk. I didnt grow up in the city but i know how to use a bus and the EL-train so i split just as tweedel and dweedel were haveing the dope dealer show them to his car. I walked a couple blocks out of the lights of the stip took a couple of side streets past a Boarders, and was gonna hop an EL when i heard music... it was an oddly warm september night and i could smell cajuin food. I look over underneath EL platform over on one side under s street lamp was an open door. I walked over and poked my head it and it was this little jazz club not more then 12 tables and a bar which was like a mile long and was real black walnut. I walked in and there were less then say 15 people in there. The bartender looked up and smiled and waved me over... I am thinking holy **** i tripped hit my head and its 1937 and hes waving me over to get my ass out the door so the pasing fuzz dont check the place out. It wasnt obviosuly because there was a Red Dog sign over the bar and 4 guys whereing jeans in the corner playing holdem. I walked over and the bar man said "Hey there son you look like your lost, can i help you." I told him an abreveated and edited story of what was going on while he poured me a can of Fosters (australian for piss, which i guiltly like). He just laughed and told me the first beer was on the house because it was a slow night because of the big concert in the area (i dont even remember who was playing, i think it was Jet, i wasnt seeing them anyway it was some panzy ass G'N'R cover band)... I got into the carb game after, not for money but for the next round, and had more fun in 4 hours then i had in the last 3 weeks. With people i didnt even know... Thats what a dive bar is, its what it means.... I dont know the bars name, and i dont know if i could ever find it again... or maybe i just went back to the hotel and got trashed on the mini-bar (charged it to my "firends") and dreamed up the whole thing... I dont know... But it was great... it was almost as good as getting a phone call at ten oclock the next morning telling me to go home because my "firends" got busted... Remember that dope dealer about 8 pages back in this story... yeah he was Chy Vice... my "friends" got back to town a week later and didnt want to speak to me because i bailed on them and didnt get arrested, and because they say i was a stick in the mud the whole trip, and they did it all for me because i was newly 21... retards... now thats a dive bar story

Cheers
 

swatchie

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We have the Anderson Mill Tavern for a dive bar. Its awesome too . Shuffleboard, pool, even Texas Holdem !

Its in the same shopping center as a church and a day care even. Last time I was there this one guy brought the cordless phone from his home so he could talk to people. Laughed my butt off when I saw him :D When my wife pops the baby, will go back :D
 

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Too many people kept falling off and hitting their heads on the concrete.
-Me
 

cheeseshark

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I went to this dive bar once to see my friend's "band" (I use the term very loosely) play. The only things you could order to drink were PBR cans or Jack shots. Awesome.
 
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I miss my old dive bar from slower-lower Illinois.

While driving though our old home town last week , SWMBO and I stopped by our dive for dinner (yummy bar food) with the kiddos. We called some old friends of ours (and their daughter) and invited them to join us.

The kids had a great time, danced to the jukebox, and had their first "dive bar" experience.

Another 11 years and I'll have my very own designated driver...

Don't ask about the drink specials... I had a couple of Stags for old time's sake...

dive kids.jpg
 

GregR

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I love the Dive scene. the best dive I've been to has to be Double Downs in vegas. I went there on halloween and I was the only one out of my friends really loved the place. it's the kind of place with so much graffiti in the bathrooms that there isn't even room for new graffiti. the smoke is so think that you'd rather have a cig than breath the second hand smoke.

some good ones in San Diego are The Hong Kong on the outskirts of downtown and the Zombie Lounge. sadly the Zombie lounge is under new ownership and I haven't been back since so I'm not sure how it is now.
 

david_42

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My only local bar would qualify. Smells so bad, I wasn't able to get in the door, Bud Light sign flickering in the window, and "We only serve real American beers" on the door. I didn't ask.
 

Laughing_Gnome_Invisible

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My only local bar would qualify. Smells so bad, I wasn't able to get in the door, Bud Light sign flickering in the window, and "We only serve real American beers" on the door. I didn't ask.
If the locals ever get to know about Inbev, that bar is f#cked! ;)
 

TerapinChef

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Yeah I can think of a few bars in your area that would qualify as well. Check out Wiseguys at 18 or so and Garfield. Sounds like it's right up your alley.
 

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I use to frequent a dive bar about 20 years ago in Central Illinois. we called it the knife and gun club. Jukebox was always loud, pool tables had stains all over them (some not from spilled drinks).

You could almost always find someone cutting lines on the bar. The bartender always had a full pipe he passed around. The best part was - the bar was directly across the street from the Police station. I stopped going when some more unsavory characters started frequenting the place.
 

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The place I used to go to in Baltimore wasn't nearly that rough, but one night the Crazy Old Guy (every dive bar has at least one) showed me the screwdriver he kept in his boot and said he had to stab someone with it the night before. I believed him, and if youd've been there I bet you would've too.
 
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My local dive opens at 7am and features $1.99 Bloody Mary's with biscuits and gravy.
Think about the unit cost of those quality ingredients.
 

ohiobrewtus

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Unfortunately my town is almost all dive bars. Not a single place for an EAC to get some good beer.
 
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