Jump to content
Gibson Brands Forums

Dive Bars


brundaddy

Recommended Posts

I have loved dive bars all my life. I even met my wife in one. New Orleans has the best. But Los Angeles has some good ones too. After all, Charles Bukowski. And the 1987 film, 'Barfly' (though almost all of the bars in that film are gone, sadly).

 

To hell with gastropubs and fancy Nancy beer. Give me the cheapest drinks in town.

 

What are the best dive bars in your hood?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

sadly the dive bar in town with the cheapest drinks no longer books live bands, but used to be Moncton's version of CBGB's. They stopped booking bands after too many incidents where skinheads came in and busted the place up or bands blew the PA system. Another place was called The Box - also a rough spot since it was a popular hangout for the local biker gang - a hells angels affiliate. Just noticed the other day they are no longer in business... presumably because once the strip clubs opened up around town the bikers found other prefered hangouts.

 

But by far the cheapest booze in town is at one of the local rec centers where I go to take in the action put on by a local indie pro wrestling promotion. Too bad they aren't open all the time. beer is 2 to 3 dollars cheaper than most of the bars in town. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh, there's a local place around here that has a lot of wrestling event's to. Come to think of it, it used to be a dive bar but it's been cleaned up and they only allow smoking on Sunday's. You can still find bikers in it but I've not seen any guy's flying color's there. I have been to many biker bars and privet parties and many of the show's with some of my band's from the 1980's where at biker spot's. There was always a bit of hooting and hollering but rarely did I see any fight's and none that didn't get cleared up rather quickly. Most all the bars in town have PBR's for 2 buck's or so and most of them run specials that regularly have a free keg while it last's too. There is one spot in town that is smack dab in the middle of a collage campus that has really good bands (some times national act's) that I believe sell's at a higher price per drink but I've not drank in years so I don't really know.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The 'Dive Bar' ethos is something I have no knowledge of whatsoever

 

Historically implying noise, sweat, smoke and poor ventilation :blink:

 

No doubt much good music has emanated themfrom

 

I believe there are some still in existence...mostly in London...with great provenance...

 

Perhaps I'll check one or more out when Stateside...

 

V

 

:-({|=

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well...

 

I'm not sure that in small boonies towns "dive bars" is a term that really fits.

 

Downtown where I live the most popular of the 3 that serve hard liquor are the Circle that's what I'd call "general blue collar" and the Cowboy that's more "general rural."

 

Never felt like I might have to hit anybody in either. I know both owners and they have an ongoing ... true competition. Age groups don't mean much 'cuz you'll see guys my age BSing with kids just barely legal to come into a saloon. Music tends to be classic-style rock, even if original, or classic-style country, even if original - so again, age groups aren't a big deal.

 

Both have live music on occasion. The Cowboy, when there's entertainment, has a semi-outdoor area for the bands that allows smoking; the Circle doesn't.

 

Even so, I'd guess both lost 25-35 percent of their business after a statewide non-smoking law. I haven't had a drink in either since the law went into effect.

 

Also.... laugh at this if you will...

 

Even our town's sports bar/restaurant, and down the street what's probably area's the best steakhouse and bar, are likely to have folks coming in for meals and/or drinks with green mud on their boots and spurs.

 

=-0-00=- As for Memphis and Nashville and other big cities... yup, a lotta places I wouldn't enter without a submachine gun - and even then a lack of certainty I'd walk out the front door.

 

Even cowboy bars in different places may have somewhat different rules for a physical ... argument ... depending on local cultures. I'm told ditto with oil workers, etc., etc., etc. So it's likely not a good idea to enter one without knowing local culture and probably entering with a cupla friends who are regulars there.

 

In my old days playing country in what city folks here might consider a "dive," once in a while after folks had too much to drink, some guy would take another guy's style of dancing with the first guy's wife as improper and they'd usually end up rolling on the floor too incompetent do do much damage anyway.

 

We just turned up the amps a bit and kept pickin'.

 

m

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I used to play once a week in a "dive" bar. I would not actually call it a biker bar but lots of Harley riders hung out there. Best audience ever!! We played Blues almost exclusivly and they were real receptive to the music. Never had any incidences of trouble nor did I ever feel threatned. In fact the musicians were treated with a great level of respect and the feelings were mutual.

 

The only incident that I remember was when the place was way crowded and people were dancing and this one chick got so excited she took her top off and was bouncing all over the dance floor. They threw her out but it was just too funny playing and watching her do her thing.

 

Best of times.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think the "dive bar" can be among the best places to play, or to go of an evening, for several reasons.

 

First, they tend to be owned by the boss rather than a corporation.

 

Second, they tend to be owned and worked by real locals who likely would be customers if they weren't working there.

 

Finally, they tend to have a known culture.

 

OTOH, there have been some in the past I knew of - and I'm told there still are a few similar ones in bigger towns - that were pretty sad and potentially more dangerous for an outsider than the normal clientele if he/she didn't know some of the folks there. I remember one "ethnic" joint in a small town where I used to live some 45 years ago where of an evening one might see birth, death and impregnation within hours, not to mention fights with truly no inhibitions of local culture. Even the cops didn't walk in alone. As some economics improved, the place closed and literally was bulldozed.

 

But then, I didn't consider them a "dive bar" as much as just sleazy-dangerous. Urban areas, I think, tend to have more along those lines than anywhere around where I live. North 200 miles I wouldn't bet much on that, though.

 

m

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Semi-pro wrestling & cheap drinks? Sounds like fun. Gooski's is a great name, too.

 

There are some in Nashville I afraid to go in. [scared]

 

Which ones? I gotta know!

 

I wouldn't venture into any here in Miami ...

 

Mac's Club Deuce is a great joint in Miami. Steps away from a decent pool hall, too (if Mac's's table is too crowded).

 

Milo, envisioning 'green mud' schmeared around a place that serves food makes me grin & cringe at the same time! I definitely agree that 'dive bar' is more of a city thing. Maybe it's the perception that it stands in marked contrast to the 'classier' place(s) down the street or elsewhere in town.

 

I've been in some great dumps in Memphis. Detroit too. Also passed over some scary ones. In my experience if you stay out of gang turf & don't try to buy heroin, the biggest thing you have to worry about is a bum trying to run some hustle on you. Watch where you park the car, etc. Always have a local buddy as a guide. Basic street smarts.

 

L.A. has tons of (too many) gentrified bars, gastropubs, and expensive clubs ... but there are plenty of dives keeping it real & a little gritty.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Actually most of the folks have most of the green mud off the boots before they go in. Spurs jingling is no big deal.

 

But <grin> I've been at some brandings where there's plenty on folks' jeans, too. And a big deal chow is part of the fun of a branding - quite often some great steaks.

 

As the local saying goes, "its the smell of money."

 

Most of our local bank folks and lawyers could handle a job or two at a branding, so the whole culture's a bit different.

 

No fern bars. Folks who want 'em don't usually figure on living here when there's a nice little college town a dozen miles south - where their high school kids can do drugs instead of Copenhagen and bunch up into economic-based cliques. That's a bit of an extension of reality, but not entirely; it's totally different cultures, a dozen miles away. They have "us" as a buffer against the physical emptinesses of ranch country and "we" are quite comfortable with that.

 

m

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Probably the most memorable dive bar in my town (Leominster Mass) was "The Elbow Lounge".

 

When I was in high school that was "THE GIG" to land for all the bands in the area. (Drinking age was 18 back then in this state)

 

The place just oozed the odor of spilled beer and stale cigarettes, and you didn't want to leave your date, girl friend or wife alone without someone sitting with them because they were gonna be hit on, a lot. But it was a great place to play, great crowd, and the heavier the music, the more they loved it. "Turn down" two words you NEVER heard there.

 

Ironically some years later, when the bar closed, the city took over the building and turned it into an AA meeting hall. We all figured it was so locals who drank themselves into oblivion over the last 3 decades would know where to go to get to daily meetings.

 

 

There's a place in Worcester (the Worcester Mass locals on this board will know of it) Ralph's Dinner, it's sort of place you're amazed they are allowed to sell food there, but another great place to play, it's always packed, and the people that work there ultra cool.

 

/KB

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We used to have a great one called Willie's Tavern He advertised it as a restaurant also to make the taxes cheaper but i never saw anybody order food there was a glass Ice box full of sandwiches that were probably older than the average patron. It was closed down after to many complaints of fights and stabbings it was a fun place but rough if anyone got stabbed the patrons would literally drag the poor sucker out front and deny any knowledge of the event even if there was a blood trail leading inside.

 

I worked as a bouncer in biker bars and topless joints for several years when I was a young man and i gotta tell you working in one erases any interest you might have pretty quickly , there not nice places and the girls honestly pretty much hate every guy in the place watching them no matter how they act. Pretty much every guy that didn't work there was labelled a perv by the girls that danced. We had one called the office bar that was a pretty mean joint but also a lot of fun if you were tough or just smart enough to keep your mouth shut.

 

My favorite bar to work though was a weird college bar called Minder Binder's it was a strange multi story old joint with all kinds of weird stuff nailed all over the walls and ceiling but it was also right next to ASU and it was always overflowing with gorgeous co-eds.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The dive bar of dive bars in Arizona though was a place called the Outpost it was a big old metal fabrication place they turned into a bar and the topless dancers used the old loading docks as stages. It was about five miles from Williams Air Force Base's front gate and that's where most of the young pilots that flew fighters got there training in the 80's so it was a wild place most nights with a mix of Air force guys, Cowboys out of Chandler and Gilbert and several dozen power drinkers off the Indian Reservations a great combination for random act of violence. It was also out in the middle of nowhere and owned by a guy that would cut people off only if they passed out. in 18 months as a bouncer I got shot once and stabbed three times and that wasn't unusual. It was a great bar and paid very well so the dancers were all young and gorgeous but it was rough I worked there 18 months and I bet there was maybe 20 nights out of that time where there wasn't a major fight either in the bar or in the parking lot. It lasted four weeks after it was annexed into a city before the liquor board shut it down but it was a fun place. about six miles away was another place called Norton's corner just about identical without the topless dancers both rough bars people would come from clear across the valley just for the experience! they got it usually [scared]

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My band plays a Great little dive in Hemet every month. The owner really know how to keep customers and treat them right. Always cheap drinks and always a friendly atmosphere. We played a bigger place down the street a few months ago, and you can have it. Nice big stage and big lights, but the management was all about getting and keeping the dollar, and it showed. Beer wasn't very cold and the selection was about half of what the dive has on tap, not to mention what it keep in bottles (Stella, Guiness, Becks, Paccifico, Modelo, you name it).

 

Sure, we have to set up on the floor, but I'll take a well managed floor over an mismanaged stage any day.

 

However, locally, we play in the classy joint, and I wouldn't trade it for all the dives in town. It's all about the owner/manager (the classy joint is still privately owned).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Lots of good stories here, good topic! I can see saying the difference of calling it a Dive Bar or a Barrel House or a nice Classy joint. It all comes down to the same thing in the end... getting drunk and being entertained. The Topless places.... well that's just some where for people to spend there money on more than music and drink's and as for the way woman label men that go to them, that's how woman really feel about men in the first place so they just speak up about it there and if they didn't like it, there would not be any in the first place so let's put that to rest.

 

The local rough spots here in my town, that is the one's that regularly see/seen hard action via fight's, stabbing's, shooting's, mass drug dealing's etc are at the spots where young and young/minorities hang out. There are not nearly as many bar's around as there was back 30 years ago, the bad economy has driven people to do home partying witch may be good in a way. I had visited one or two of these ethnic bar's back in the day with some ethnic work mate's and was fine but I didn't say much and just drank my beer and we never stayed long as I believe my friends didn't want to see any trouble. I never would have gone with out them being with me and it was cool but I'd rather been at a place where I could have been more at ease and vice-verca.

 

I do see some minorities at the establishment's that are still around young and old and there's no trouble, I go to a few local places to Jam Night's that are more like College Party Bar's then Dive Bar's, they aren't the cleanest places in town but there not total dumps ether.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well... my understanding is that a "barrel house" was more than "just" a bar.

 

Some earlier threads here had noted my use of the term "saloon." In ways the "dive bars" around here might almost be better referred to as saloons 'cuz they ain't changed all that much in over a century in a lotta ways.

 

I'm not going to complain that I ain't been shot or stabbed as noted by Retro - but I tended to stay out of such places unless I was paid to be there.

 

I think also that there's something more deeply corrupt in bars where there are drug dealings and use that makes me cringe and look for a way out. But that's just me, perhaps.

 

As for "ethnic" bars... yeah, regardless of the specific ethnicity, I think there's too often a tendency to have an "us vs. them" perspective if you're not a known quantity to the clientele.

 

On the other hand, I think on a big night in "the Cowboy" in rodeo season, city folk might easily be intimidated. Yet have a well-worn hat and boots and know the difference between steer trippin' and calf roping and it's plenty comfortable even for one with a penchant for quoting Shakespeare or T.S. Eliot.

 

m

Link to comment
Share on other sites

.

 

The only incident that I remember was when the place was way crowded and people were dancing and this one chick got so excited she took her top off and was bouncing all over the dance floor. They threw her out but it was just too funny playing and watching her do her thing.

 

Best of times.

 

 

They threw her out??? What the......? eusa_think.gif

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I know this is all being funny, but if you don't have the proper license for nudity the bar could lose it's liquor license real quick if they don't bounce the boobies when they come out......... :rolleyes:[biggrin]

You are 100% correct on that. The cops always had their eye out for stuff at this place.

Still it was the best place to play, especially if you were a blues band. You could play " Got My Mojo Workin'" for a half hour and as long as it was grovin' they would love it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...