New Meaning to “Dive Bar”

I bleed teal and am a Chant 100%. However, I do keep tabs on the athletics program of my old school just because I worked thousands of hours over four plus years at the University of Montana. I enjoyed my time as Griz I have a lot of friends working there. So When I learned that the Montana vs. North Dakota State game got picked up by ESPN Gameplan, I decided to find a bar that might carry it.

Looking for a place that I hadn’t frequented before, I went to an establishment just a couple minutes from my apartment. Tucked away in a rather run-down strip mall I knew it was going to be a dive. But I am a guy who likes dives and since it was clearly identified as a sports bar I decided to give it a try.

Now I said I like dives. However, yesterday I learned that there are bars that are even a little too “divey” for me. I will not say the name of this bar because I don’t want to do it a disservice. I think it probably satisfies its customer base just fine and who am I to give it a bad review and soil its name on Google? I am not about that. I will just share with you some details on why I won’t be returning.

I walked inside and immediately I knew that even if I left right then and there my clothes would smell like an ash tray for the rest of the day. In South Carolina you can still smoke in bars. The atmosphere fit the definition of a dive perfectly. Dimly lit, clutter all over the place, shabby fixtures, and weird smells. Again though, I expected this type of environment and it didn’t serve as the reason why I won’t go back.

I sat down and the bartender came over to me with a cigarette hanging out of her mouth and asked what I wanted. For the roughly 30 minutes I spent in the place she always had a lit cigarette in between her lips except for when she was taking vodka shots. She treated me very well but as a non-smoker I would prefer if the smoke from someone’s ciggy isn’t infiltrating my drink while it is being handed to me.

The bartender was really nice, I just don't think you should be able to smoke behind the bar.

The bartender was really nice, I just don’t think you should be able to smoke behind the bar.

However, it wasn’t that big of a deal. I knew I wouldn’t be staying long. The place had only a few clunky televisions and I am sure management had never heard of “ESPN Gameplan” in their lives. Yes sir, a wasted trip. But I tried to make the best of it and observe my surroundings.

You ever watch “Bar Rescue” when they show some places that have drunks that drive away customers? Welcome to the place I was at yesterday! At 1:30 p.m. there were two obnoxiously loud, belligerent men hooping and hollering about the most random topics the whole time I was there. Even if the bar had the game on each of their three televisions I wouldn’t have been able to stay.

I love peanuts and I love bars that offer peanuts where you can discard the shells on the floor. This place had a different take on one of my favorite tavern traditions. At every other seat at the bar they had a baby food type container with unshelled peanuts in them. At my seat I had a container that was half way full. The notion of others before me, most likely with tobacco stained fingers, grabbing peanuts out of the cup absolutely disgusted me. If I was Jon Taffer (host of “Bar Rescue”) I would have gone in the place and used my hand to violently swoop the peanut containers off the bar.

I had some other food concerns. The kitchen in the back looked like it was permanently stained brown. The cook had long greasy hair and was drinking a beer. From what I gathered, it looked like the regulars didn’t think much of the food either. A group that was playing pool had brought in big bags of chips and sack lunches that they were munching on. Of course doing something like that probably says more about yourself than the food at the bar.

The last thing that really accelerated my departure was the arrival of an unwelcome guest. As I was watching one of the games I heard barking. I looked back and sure enough someone had brought in a dog! One of the drunks started barking back at it. I got up and left.

I walked to a real sports bar right by my apartment and the bartenders promptly put the game on for me. I enjoyed watching the Griz in comfort. Although I will never go back to the first establishment again, I do thank them for re-educating me on what a real dive bar is. I am just thankful that I never had to use the restroom there. Don’t Blink.

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