Highlights for Low Lifes
Dive bars, like a fine wine, are an aquired taste. Some things that tend to make a bar a "dive". They are usually older, a bit run down, on the smaller side and very local. Here are several suburban dives that I have called home at one time or another.
1. The Neighborhood Inn in Hoffman Estates. What is there to say, we call this place "the Hood". A loud smoke filled bar. One soft tipped dart board that is usually in play. A decent jukebox but with Karokee on Thursday, Friday and Saturday night it is off until late night most of the time. Friendly bartenders (Paulie rules!) and cheap beer make the place tolerable. Last call isn't until around 3am on the weekends so the usual crowd can vary. Most of the time it is populated with locals, bartenders and waiters who just got off work and the occasional off duty cop or biker.
Drink recommendations: Jager Bombs, the draft beer isn't too bad.
2. Bungalow Joes in Streamwood. I know one of the bartenders so it is always a decent time for me(also, she's really hot). Sometimes this place has a cover on the weekends. It is for the live band that is always way too loud. Get to this bar early on the weekends if you want to sit at the bar. The place is small and the bar is small so the seats go quickly. The back room has several booths and a few pool tables. This place is a real dive. It isn't too tricky to get into a fight here, even if you aren't trying. It does last call late (3am I think) and it opens early at 8am every morning. Nothing like getting loaded with third shifters at 8am. This is definatley not a dive you want to try out on your first time. It can get a little rough and the joint is a little worn down.
Drink recomendations: Bottle beer only.
3. The Chili Pub in Schaumburg. Last call at 3:30am. Wagon wheels on the walls. A local joint that really does have good chili. This is actually a pretty decent place to hang out. It is a bit old school and it is a local place. They don't put up with a lot of crap here, but the staff is nice so the crowd is friendly most of the time. Because it is open so late the crowd can sometimes tend to be a bit wasted. In fact, I was there recently and I was pretty loaded. It is also on the small side but there are plenty of nooks and cranny's to sit down in. Downside, no waitresses so you have to get your drinks from the crowded bar.
Drink recomendations: Bottle beer. Wasted? Get some chili.
4. Easy Street Pub in Schaumburg. I have saved the best for last. I actually frequent this place quite a bit. Some names have been changed to protect identities.
The bar's motto is "I love this place". There is plenty of local history. It is one of the oldest buildings in town. In the past it has served as a church, a restaurant, a brothel and for the last 30 years or better a local bar. Whenever I go in there it feels like a high school reunion. All good local bars in a person's home town should feel like that. They have classed the joint up a lot the last few years. They took down all the bras that used to hang from the ceiling. This place is like two seperate bars. One half has the games and a few tables. By games I mean fooz ball, pool, and a bunch of steel tip dart boards. Did I mention that all the games are free? The other half of the bar is the bar side. A long bar with a bunch of tables and one booth. Anything can happen in here. I was in here recently (just before I went to the Chili pub actually) and we were drinking. Me and several of my drinking buddies (BC & PL you know who you are) ended up getting the beneficial end of the bartenders boredom. It seems that the barkeep and a patron(Hi, Mike) were trying to figure out how to make some new shots. All of their "mistakes" found there way down to us. Nothing like a lost weekend. I have seen many things in this bar. Old friends from high school and junior high, the town drunk ("good morning"), public nudity (mmm, flapjacks), and the usual bar stool olympics (the dismount is always the worst). Do I love this place? You bet!
Hang out in here long enough and you will experience what we affectionatley call "An Easy Night"
Drink recommendations: Bottle beer, any of the "new" shots( I prefered the "Pink Pussy").
Tips for hanging out in a Dive
*Don't draw too much attention to yourself. you are already an outsider.
*Don't flash cash but pay as you go
*Make friends with the bartender(friendly chat, don't annoy them)
*Don't pick a fight. Most people in here probably know each other so you ARE outnumbered.
*Enjoy the local flavor. Talk to the toothless guy, listen to the story from the guy with the Mullet, and do a shot with the lady who's haircut is from 1987. You'll feel better about yourself, do stay away from the weirdos.
*Beer drinkers- order bottles. Tap beer in most dives is nasty.
*Look at what booze they have behind the bar before you order. If this is a "Shot & a beer" joint do not order a Shirazz or Cosmopolitan.