You know it’s a dive when: A working pay phone hangs from the wall. Regulars keep cups and homemade beer coozies made of insulation behind the bar. The bar’s name could easily suit an emo band. Maximum occupancy is 38. Four bottles of warm Night Train sit among the liquor bottles, ordered specifically for the one regular who drinks it. Crime scene tape is tacked to the wall, a reminder of a high- speed chase that ended in the bar’s parking lot awhile back.
Relics of a dive bar: Owner Jeff Brower bought the bar with his dad, John, seven or eight years ago. John Brower has since passed away, though a photo of father and son sits behind the bar, next to the full bottle of Bud Light that was left out for John when the bar regulars toasted his passing. The building once housed the Latin Queen, the more casual, lunchtime alter ego of the popular east-side Italian eatery the Latin King.
What we ordered: The Wednesday night special is $3 mini pitchers, but we weren’t ready to commit to that volume on a school night. We opted for bottles of Bud Light for $2.50 each, discounted 25 cents on account of the bowl game on TV. Regular-priced bottles are $2.75 and 24-ounce tall boy beers are $3.50.
And if you’d like to know how much a shot of liquor is, all prices have been scrawled on the bottles with a marker.
Local flavor: When we strolled in on a Wednesday night, bartender Marty Belcher was winding down the bar and getting ready to close. He graciously served us a beer anyway and regaled us with stories about East High School softball, the group of retired third-shifters who congregate at 6 a.m. daily to drink and play cards, the Barnstormers and the family of regulars that exists at the bar. To illustrate his point, he told us about a regular who passed away about a year ago and was buried without a gravestone. A hat was passed around the bar and enough money was raised to purchase one.
Best deals: Mondays and Tuesdays have beer specials, including $1.50 “value cans” (includes Pabst Blue Ribbon and Busch Light) and $2 “premium” bottles and cans (includes Budweiser and Bud Light). Happy hour is Monday through Friday from 3 to 7 p.m., and includes 25 cents off all drinks.
You’ll be back for: NASCAR season and those cheap “value cans.”
Stranded by the Tracks
Stranded by the Tracks
Find it: 1922 Hubbell Ave.
Hours: 6 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 6 a.m.-2 a.m. Friday and Saturday, 8 a.m. to midnight Sunday
Your dive bar challenge: Pop some change into the pay phone or call collect while reveling in the technological advances of yesteryear.