Thursday, April 05, 2007

2) Le Dives

It helps to have a back up routine, one that you can fall back on once the rehearsals are over...You get done with work, why not grab a beer?

Maybe catch a game while you're at it. Maybe flirt with the bartender, if she's cute and amenable. If not, shoot the shit with the guy bartender, and the other regulars lined up at the bar.

Maybe one of the regulars is carrying some merchandise with him, and if that's the case, you just step out and around the corner. Twenty minutes later, you're ready for whatever the evening will bring to you.

And if that bar happens to be a dive? All the better.

Yuppies and meat market monkeys have no appreciation for the dive bar. It's really simple: You don't go there to flirt, you don't go there to shmooze, you don't go there because the latest local It band will be playing. No, you go there because everyone else there just wants to hang out, drink (or just get drunk), and do nothing but talk bullshit with other like minded individuals.

I love dive bars. Sadly, they are a dying breed here in the town of Sea.

For the last ten years, old, funky, charming portions of town have been developed in much the same manner Joan Rivers gets facelifts. Yeah, yeah, it's progress and all that crap, but what these neighborhoods are being replaced with are nesting areas for the young and rich.

Does this town really need that many ugly faux-brick and glass monstrosities?

Don't get me wrong, I'm all about density. I've been ranting that this town needs to accept its impending big-city-dom, for eons now. But at this price? If you've ever been to the Fremont neighborhood before the year 2000, you wouldn't recognize what has become of that place now.

Right. Okay. One of the unfortunate side-effects of all this development is that the dive bars tend to evaporate along with the neighborhood. Businesses run on the model of catering to the local population usually have to deal with an unearthly drag in cash flow as the locals are forced to move.

It's not as if dive bars don't have enough challenges as it is.

The Nightlight had to adapt to the moneyed youths that were suddenly pouring into their place. The Frontier Room and the Rendezvous both remodeled for the same reason. The Family Affair (probably the standard for dive bars in Seattle) was forced to shut down due to the economic depression that took place in the aftermath of 9/11. Marsbar/Cafe Venus (which partially took over a dive bar legendary in the Punk scene: The Storeroom), remodeled. Hell, even Targy's, the only dive bar on top of Queen Anne Hill, remodeled and stopped serving swill. Jade Pagoda, gone. Ernie Steele's, aka Eileen's, gone. Sorry Charlie's, gone.

That's only a small sampling...

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At 3:31 PM, Blogger Christopher said...

If it's any consolation - in 20 years or so, any of the places that survive the "aughts" will probably themselves be relegated to the level of dive bars, as the next generation of young, upwardly mobile masses fill S. Lake Union, Georgetown and White Center to capacity, leaving "old" neighborhoods like Belltown, CapHill and Fremont behind in their never ending quest for the "next hot place".

If we're still around then, maybe we'll be able to sit in the cracked vinyl booths at Havana or Twist or Nectar, scratching our initials into the well-worn table tops, and reminisce about the "days when" to an uncaring late-middle-aged bar server sporting the characteristic wrinkly skin of numerous laser tattoo removals.

At 1:58 PM, Blogger Stine said...

Lest we forget the grandmother of all dive bars - Le Family Affair.

Those were good times man...but part of the reason we're in credit card debt currently.

At 6:00 PM, Blogger Deni said...

Shit, the Frontier Room remodeled?!?!?!?!

I'm glad I left before I saw that happen. That place was perfect exactly how it was.

Along with the Corner Pocket at the Junction in West Seattle, my favorite place to hang in Seattle.


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