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Food & Drink

Best Place to Play Darts 


From the outside, this south-side pub could be the city's ugliest bar. It takes more than a little gall to paint the name of your business in lemon yellow on cheap-looking bright-blue siding. It's like something from a bad acid trip. But ignore the godawful paint job. Take a deep breath and step inside. No one will hurt you. We promise. Once inside the door, it's a completely different scene. The décor is comfortable corner tavern, with a zillion or so pennies laminated into the bar top and the requisite country-and-western mingling peacefully with hoosier rock favorites on the jukebox, which is silent when you walk in. Curious, given that there are 26 selections waiting to be made, free of charge. You order a beer and start punching buttons, only to find the volume barely at conversation level. "Can we turn it up?" you ask. No, answers the bartender, with a slight roll of her eyes. Tonight, she explains, is league night. Now you notice that the room is divided exactly in half, with a four-foot-high wall separating the bar area from a space devoted to dart players. The lighting just above the boards perfectly illuminates the bristle, and the bulls-eyes look to be in good shape, not worn by a thousand perfect shots. But only two of the bar's eight boards are being used, by no more than a half-dozen players. Plenty of room for me, you think, and so you ask for some house darts. Once again the answer is the same: No. It's league night, the clearly apologetic bartender explains. Players here change boards with each game, somewhat like bowlers who alternate lanes. Wouldn't want to be in the middle of a game when it's time for the league players to move to your board. Well, excuuuuse me, you think. So you sit. And drink. And listen to your tunes. Finally one of the league players saunters over. You half-expect him to ask that the music be turned down. Instead, he buys you a beer, says he's sorry that you couldn't play right away and invites you over to the hallowed dart side. We're done with the boards on the left, he says. Play as much as you want. Score!

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