A big believer in the notion that what you drink determines who you are much more than nature or nurture, Barrespondent Drew nurtures a few more pints while discussing the nature of something or other. Take that Darwin!
Creating a great dive bar isn’t nearly as easy as you might think. After all, there’s no shortage of bars in this city or anywhere around the world that could be classified as ‘dive’. Anywhere vaguely unclean and in danger of being shut down by the health department pretty much fits the bill. But to be the kind of dive that people with some of their original teeth actually go to is a lot more tricky. After all, how clean is too clean? How surly is too surly? And, most importantly, is there anything anyone can do to get thrown out of the place? These are all questions that you better have a clear answer to if you want to be a great dive bar.
Clooneys, on Valencia and 25th, is a pure classic dive. Unchanged for generations, it still curtly serves its booze to a clientele that runs the total range from ‘lowlife’ to ‘reprobate’ to ‘derelict’. The most comfortable thing about this place is the incredible faith that one has walking into it that it hasn’t changed since the last time you were there, or indeed since it opened nearly a century ago.
Upon first seeing ‘The Cloon’ awhile back, our first thought was that it was way too bright. While this is still the case, the added light leads to a lot more interaction between patrons here than at most bars. We’ll let individual readers decide if this is a plus or minus. Just don’t bring a first date here for some quiet ‘alone’ time because you won’t get it. What you will get is great bartenders, stiff drinks, and probably the occasional blitzed up drunk pointing at you like he has something important to ask and then forgetting what he was going to say.
So if you want quality divey-ness day or night (they open at 6AM!), then get yourself into Clooney’s.