Monday, May 25, 2020

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The Best Dive Bar In Utah?

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Sticky floors. Jukebox. Neon signs. Cheap drinks. Regulars. What makes a good dive bar? It turns out, after a lively discussion in the editorial office here at Salt Lake magazine, the answer is: it depends.

I think a good dive bar is a little seedy and a lot friendly. But, Managing Editor Glen Warchol feels quite passionately that “Illicit drugs or stolen goods should be exchanging hands” to make it a true dive.

Food and Lifestyle website The Daily Meal says, “A true dive bar will have the cheapest beers in town, a clientele of colorful characters, and something a little quirky to set it apart.” And so, it’s editors set out to find the best dive bars in the nation based on the following criteria: pricing, existence of a jukebox, the availability of pool, darts and other pub games, and what they subjectively define as overall character.

After an extensive nation-wide search they named a bar in our fair city as one of the 25 best.

 

Y’all probably know the painfully unoriginally named Bar in Sugarhouse, but probably not by name. You might call it the old (old) Tap Room. You might call it That Place Next To Fats Grill. Or you might call it The Tiny, Crooked Shack on Highland Drive (that would be a better name, actually). Well, apparently, it’s the best dive bar in the state, according to people who may or may not have ever stepped foot in the place.

Don’t get me wrong, The Bar in Sugarhouse is a decent joint. I was once on a date there and talking about music —and I somehow managed to get the entire bar engaged in a dscussion about The Pogues. What’s not to like about that? But, let’s just be honest. There’s better dive-bars in this town, no matter how you define them.

Here’s a few on my list.

Willie’s: My one evening at Willie’s was after a Bee’s game. There was karaoke, roller derby girls, a bar with a sign declaring it “The G-Spot” and a derogatory name for women on the ladies room door. Oh, what a night.

The Republican: No matter what time of day you go in, The Republican is a dark place. This windowless cavern on State Street is a great place to get a beer and be left the hell alone, if that’s your thing. That’s totally my thing.

The Busy Bee: This place has gone from a bar to an all ages restaurant and back to a bar again. I swear to you, every time I have been there (and I have been there a lot, those garlic burgers always hit the spot) I have had the same waitress. It’s cash only, beer only and smells of garlic and broken dreams. Oh my gosh, I love it there so much.

Twilite Lounge: Twilight is a retro-cool dive with vinyl booths and old-school charm, pulling an interesting and diverse mix of folks from all walks of life. Like their website says, it’s like a happy boozer’s commune.

This blog would be remiss if we didn’t pour one on the ground for the lost, but forever in our hearts, dive bars. This one’s for you, Burt’s Tiki Lounge and Bar-X (before the Modern Family takeover). You’re gone, but never forgotten.

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