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Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Dive Bomber: Irish Diving at Foley's Bar

Posted By on Thu, Jul 23, 2009 at 11:45 AM

I got some sad news via a blog comment the other day. One of my favorite dives, Screamer's, will be closing at the end of the month. Just look at the comments on my post and think about all those patrons being displaced. It makes me sad to see a community that tight dissolved through a real-estate transaction.

Apparently, the new owners intend to change Screamer's into an Irish pub. Now, I have no problem with authentic U.K.-style pubs. I love the Scottish Arms, and Castletown Geoghegan does a decent colcannon-topped shepherd's pie.

I do have a problem with manufactured "Irish" bars that are authentic as Dublin Pineapple Salad. We have enough of those.

  • Robin Wheeler
I once knew a guy whose last name was Foley. When asked if he'd visited one of the three bars named Foley's in the St. Louis area, he damn near took off my head. So when I think of Foley's, I think of run-down pits inhabited by clones of the angry Foley from my past.

Not the case with Foley's Bar in Maplewood, which was a surly-free zone. The neighborhood is partially rehabbed, but the railroad tracks run parallel to Greenwood Boulevard. Inside, it's lovely: pressed tin ceiling, exposed brick walls and a separate game room. While I was there, the bartender managed to get me emotionally involved in the episode of the Bachelorette she was watching.

So Foley's is neither divey nor Irish -- but it does offer Wacky WiFi Tuesday. Bring your laptop and play Facebook games. Order via IM. One patron was watching Michael Jackson videos on her laptop while I was there. Forty-cent hot wings aren't Irish, either, but the couple next to me were drinking Irish Car Bombs under the flags of Ireland and the U.S.A.

Is Foley's Irish? In the sense that it's a bar owned for a long time by someone of Irish descent, yes. And that's just fine with me. It's a bit too nice to be a dive, but it's an honest Irish-American bar. I hope the new owners of the former Screamer's take note.

Robin Wheeler writes 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 Thursday.

After the jump, a bonus photo from Foley's neighborhood...

  • Robin Wheeler

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