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The Imbiber: Barchetypes
  • November 15, 2011 : 20:11
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6. The Hotel Bar

These come in many shapes and sizes, but have one defining characteristic that unites them. Hotel Bars are always located within stumbling distance of a bedroom. And that means possibilities. Not all of them good ones.

7. The Live Music Joint

These places barely qualify as bars because trying to order a drink is a lot like trying to secure a bowl of gruel in a Calcutta soup kitchen. Be prepared to hold your own against a crush of sweaty alcohol-starved humanity. Then there's the aural assault that is the experimental ragecore quartet (see also: friends of the friend who dragged you there) and the converse-wearing Indie rock fans who get exponentially more annoying for every minute you age past 30. Bring throat lozenges as you'll be screaming “WHAT?” at the top of your lungs most of the evening, not just because the music is loud but because the only thing fewer people do than pine for a drink at a live music joint is shut up and pay attention to the music. Do not, under any circumstances wear open-toed shoes to the Live Music Joint. Especially if you plan on using the bathroom.

8. The Sports Bar

In addition to being the barchetype responsible for the second-highest number of divorces, sports bars are also a factor in a large number of DUI arrests, full-scale brawls, illegal gambling rings and chicken wing choking incidents. As a result, men can't seem to get enough of them. This is because men, while occasionally sweet and erudite, are complete assholes most of the time. And with the exception of a few really messed up sex clubs, there's nowhere a man can tap into his inner-asshole more completely than a place where the menus are shaped liked goalie masks and feature meals named after ballparks and Heisman Trophy winners. In fairness, I did once have a transcendent dining experience at a Hooters in South Florida - though I have a suspicion that it owes something to the fact that Sandra, our waitress, insisted on sitting in my lap every time she came to check that we had enough beer. It's possible that made me elevate my Pasta Testaverde with marinara sauce and peppers to legendary status. But Mama mia, what a meal!

9. The Vertical Bar

These are places that cater to a highly specific clientele, i.e. bikers, leather enthusiasts, oenophiles, fur wearers, midgets, furry midgets, or fans of 80s synth-pop bands. I mention that last one because once, while in the Estonian capital city of Tallinn, I went to a subterranean watering hole called the DM Baar that is devoted entirely to the musical stylings of Depeche Mode. As it turns out I just can get enough of the DM Baar. To avoid the trek to northern Europe, you can simulate this for yourself by holing up with 30 people and several bottles of vodka in a dark basement while “Songs of Faith and Devotion” plays on perpetual loop at high volume. How long does it take before someone snaps? If you're part of the regular clientele, never. If you're a lonely, horny, vodka-soaked booze journalist dicking around Eastern Europe, however, the answer is 26 minutes and 53 seconds. I seriously considered calling the consulate and ordering a daiscutter strike just to be sure we stopped the infection before it could spread.

10. The Neighborhood Dive

The neighborhood dive is a no frills joint owned and operated by a native son with a name like Sully or Mac. These bars are open every day from 6 a.m. til 2 a.m (4 a.m. in New York) and cater to a tightly knit, fiercely loyal clientele that revel in the camaraderie, cheap drinks and proximity to home. Beyond being a temple of worship for the local sports franchises, a neighborhood dive doesn't purport to have a “concept” or “theme.” There is no food to speak of, save for some pretzels on the bar (those who dislike e. coli are advised to stay away), a pegboard filled with individual packages of chips and perhaps a jar filled with pickled eggs (I dare you). With the possible exception of replacing a worn-out dartboard or updating the jukebox selections every decade or so, neighborhood dives don't keep up with the times. They are enduring reminders that the more things change, the more working class drinkers remain the same. They are places of poetry and I love them dearly.

Dan’s book “Living Loaded: Tales of Sex, Salvation and the Pursuit of the Never-Ending Happy Hour” is available at Amazon, Borders Barnes & Noble and wherever books are sold. Follow Dan on Twitter and Facebook

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read more: nightlife, alcohol, the imbiber, bars


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