The Best of Today . . .
From a hole in Vegas to a microscopic bar in our very own backyard, Playboy.com has compiled a list of the top ten American dives. As Steve Dollar writes in the article, “Nothing satisfies man’s tortured soul and restless craving for misadventure quite like the dive bar.” We couldn’t agree more.
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. . . and Tomorrow
Speaking of dives, Matt Eisler (Angels & Kings, Empire Liquors, Victory Liquors) and Kevin Heisner are gearing up to open Bar DeVille (701 N. Damen Ave.)—that’s bar “of the city” in French—next week in Ukrainian Village. “As soon as we have ourselves together, we’ll start pouring drinks,” Eisler says. He predicts doors will open Wednesday in soft-launch mode, which means the guys will be experimenting for the next couple of months. One thing Eisler and Heisner (try saying those names three times fast) know for sure: They’re not looking to be the next fancy rock lounge. Eisler hopes Bar DeVille will join the ranks of well-worn establishments like the Matchbox (770 N. Milwaukee Ave.)—taverns whose cred comes from making good cocktails in a comfortable setting without making a scene. Eisler shared a few more details.
What was in the space prior to Bar DeVille?
An old dive bar called La Mazanilla that didn’t let women in. We were going to keep it exactly as it was [minus the no-ladies policy], but little by little we started fixing things up. It doesn’t look shiny and new, though—still has the old original Brunswick bar, and we added vintage furniture and fixtures.
What’s the layout like?
There are three rooms: The first room has the bar, bar stools, and banquettes. The second room has a pool table, a vintage photo booth, and a couch. And the third room is the party room—a little more loungey, with a DJ booth, [and] vintage furniture.
Tell me about the drinks.
Our GM and head bartender is Brad Bolt, formerly of The Violet Hour, who’s really more of a mixologist. We’re doing the handcrafted cocktails thing, with subtle twists on classic drinks, like the Manhattan or margarita ($8-$10). There will be 30 different bottles of beer and eight beers on tap ($3 and up). Dive-bar enthusiasts will like our juice glasses of PBR for $1. We’ll also have a reserve beer list of French and Belgian ales and really focus on locally brewed beer like Goose Island, Three Floyds, Half Acre, and Two Brothers. We’ll also have Brooklyn Brewmaster’s Reserve on tap.
What will the music be like?
We’ll have a DJ on weekends and for private parties, but otherwise it’s a jukebox that we’re still loading: international soul to rockabilly to country alt-rock. We may have special live-music nights with a dude in a flannel shirt playing the guitar.