You know it's a dive when: A stray cat named Morris wanders in at 9 p.m. for dinner. The front door is propped open with a log. A man at the bar eats a 10-ounce steak using only his two hands. There are no taps, only bottles or cans of beer. Regulars use lingo like "My old lady" and "Git r done." A sign behind the bar reads, "This isn't Burger King. You get it my way or you don't get the son-of-a-bitch at all."
Relics of a dive bar: According to bartender Melody (who's also the owner's daughter), Kelly's Little Nipper opened as a grocery store during the Great Depression. In the 1940s, it was converted into a bar. It hasn't seen too many updates since then. One side of the bar - which from the street looks like an old house - is lined with tables and booths. In the center is a well-used pool table, and the bar and small kitchen area line the opposite wall. No one seems to be quite sure where the name "Kelly" came from.
What we ordered: Don't look for a Fat Tire or Boulevard. I kept it simple, with a bottle of Bud Light and an order of wings. The wings were fried crispy and came with a side of ranch and barbecue sauce. After Melody popped open our beers, she whipped together our wings. (She made the steak for the regular, too.)
Local flavor: After surveying the modest crowd from a booth, we moved up to the bar when two stools opened up. I asked Brian, who was dressed in head-to-toe camo, if he was a big hunter. He said "Well, I like to hunt and I'm a big guy, so I guess so." He's been coming to Kelly's for three years, saying it's his favorite bar. "The food and the camaraderie is really good here," he said.
Melody knew everyone's name, and seemed tolerant of the entirely male crowd. Everyone shook our hands when we left, and Brian invited us back the following Wednesday.
Best deals: Get a $6.75 steak dinner on Monday and Thursday nights. The best deal is probably on Sunday afternoon, though, when they prepare a free lunch beginning at 1 p.m. (burgers, brats, sandwiches and salads) for whomever stops by. Pool is also free on Sunday.
You'll be back for: Entertaining chats with the locals and a great meal from Melody any night of the week.