What makes a great dive bar?
We’re going to switch it up in the old bar today and talk about … bars.
Yeah, we’re a sports forum, but we have room in here to mix it up (and not just on the never-been-used, four-foot-square dance floor).
And this is sort of about sports, so stick with me.
I wrote earlier about the Orioles’ spring training move from Fort Lauderdale to Sarasota and how there were some things about Lauderdale I’d miss. Several of my baseball-writing buddies wrote on their blogs about their memories from Lauderdale.
And Jack, among other regular customers, wanted some tall tales about the spring from me. Well let’s say I believe in the truism, “Whatever happens in Lauderdale, stays in Lauderdale.” I know, that’s no fun. But I am a former altar boy, I have a reputation to consider.
My pal Roch Kubatko over at MASN wrote about some of his fondest memories, and included a little dive bar called Jester’s in North Lauderdale. (I’d say his account of our late night is 99 percent accurate, though I contend, perhaps sheepishly, that it was common knowledge I wasn’t on the next morning’s trip).
Crazily, when I think about my nine seasons in Lauderdale, Jester’s will be one of the most memorable places – to the shrieks of the Fort Lauderdale Tourism Bureau. The place screamed dive bar – and I loved it.
It was open until 4 a.m., while others in the area had to close at 2. So it was one of the few places that got busier after 2. And what a clientele that poured in there after hours. It made the Star Wars bar look tame. Creatures with three heads were a common sight. It was prime people-watching territory, and that’s key for a frumpy, married sportswriter with time on his hands.
My two all-time Jester’s highlights in order: 1. Watching a knock-down, drag-out fight between two drunken women that spilled into the parking lot and nearly toppled a motorcycle. 2. Seeing Roch cry at the bar while listening to Green Day’s “Good Riddance” on our last day of the spring one year (Roch claims he was just a little melancholy, but I swear I saw mist in those eyes. One of us is telling the truth, I promise).
Anyway, it got me thinking about my favorite dive bars and the connection between them. They’re usually dark, dingy and filled with bizarre-looking people. I explain dive bars this way: You likely wouldn’t eat there and you certainly wouldn’t take a first date there. But it’s the place you and your buddies start or end a night on the town.
So, while the Orioles are on a losing road trip, let’s talk dive bars. What makes a good one and which is your favorite?
If you absolutely, positively need a sports fix this weekend, however, here’s a trivia question to ponder that I stumbled across.
Seattle’s Felix Hernandez, at age 23 and 105 days, became the 15th youngest player in baseball history to reach 50 career wins this week.
The youngest to reach 50 was age 20 and 297 days. He’s a Hall-of Famer. The second youngest wasted his talent. The third youngest should be in the Hall, but hasn’t gotten the necessary votes yet.
And the fourth is a former Oriole, who reached 50 wins at age 22 and 108 days. His name isn’t Jim Palmer, by the way (Cakes was 24 and change when he did it).
So name the four youngest to reach 50. I’ll let you know for sure on Monday.
Daily Think Special: What makes a great dive bar? Which is your favorite?
Bonus Think Special: Name the top four youngest big leaguers to achieve 50 wins.