Robin Wheeler writes for the blog Poppy Mom. She also has a strange attraction to drinking establishments with jars of pickled -- or possibly fossilized -- eggs. She reports on these dives for Gut Check every Friday.
If a bar has been immortalized in song by the world's greatest bar band, the Bottle Rockets, it has to be the right place for the Dive Bomber.
Slo-Tom's in Carondelet more than lived up to its musical reputation: a crappy little place at the end of the block where the people are friendly, the beer flows, the music's fine -- and you can have yourself a time for under $10.
I paid $1.75 for a can of Stag on a Monday night...an hour after Happy Hour ended.
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The bar was packed. My friend Amy and I were barely in our seats when a stranger asked to sit with us. We said yes. He asked if we were spoken for.
The stranger remained at our table. A friend joined him, and they listened while Amy and I talked about hard-core bar topics. Like our dogs.
The stranger's friend politely interjected: He had an uncle who'd once kept a pet squirrel.
Monday's pool-tournament night. A hush fell each time someone entered the joint holding his own cue. This is a dive bar with manners: Women and pool-shooters are treated with respect.
Hallelujah, no Internet jukebox! Slo-Tom's has the CD version. It played all night. Lots of Johnny Cash and Tom Petty. "Freebird" twice. Sometimes the music moved packs of patrons to sing along. Loudly.
By 10:30, with the pool tournament winding down, two fellas -- one wearing a hat that said, simply, "Redneck" -- danced together to Al Green's "Love and Happiness" with a joy that wasn't mocking or mean.
Be warned: This is dive bar nirvana. You might plan to stay for an hour, but four hours later you'll be dragging yourself out the door, never wanting to leave.