Not all dives are cut from the same cloth. Choosing the right one is important. Recommending good ones is modestly powerful (subjectively speaking), and with subjectively modest power comes objectively minor responsibility.
Example: I try to never recommend any bar unwelcoming or dangerous to new people. Should I or my thoroughly respectable drinking companions be unwelcomingly viewed askew or generally accosted, you’ll not see me yelping about them here. Catch me out to hear those stories and share your own.
With that said, let me recommend George’s Tavern in Blair. It hits all the right notes for socializing on the DL. George’s has what discriminating tastes aspire to, if not actually settle for, in a dive.
Top of that list of features is location. How far do you want to drive to the bar and, more importantly, how far do you want to drive back? George’s is a lovely country drive north to Blair, the happening capital of Washington County, where light has been hidden under a bushel for far too long. Take Highway 75 or I-29 and see the light in about 20 minutes.
Next up: folks. Sometimes walking into a bar full of regulars can feel like a literal spit in the face. Some places, however, really open up to first-timers because they want them to come back. It’s nice to be wanted. Such a place is George’s. Two regulars offered to pick up my tab, but I paid as I went. Thanks anyway, Steve and Zach!
Speaking of going, the toilets could use an upgrade, but that’s less about the size of the facilities and more about the size of modern Americans.
Cost: If you’re like me, you’re buzz is budget-conscious ... early on in the evening, at least. Bars in small towns and “pre-gentrified” neighborhoods have low-overhead, thus cheap drinks, and ergo my conditional endorsement. George’s Tavern is in the “if it were any cheaper, it’d be free” category. Draws are $2.25 normally, and only $1.75 during daily happy hours from 4 to 6 p.m. In fact, all drinks are $0.50 off during happy hour.
There are only three domestic taps: Bud, Bud Light and Miller Lite. The variety is in the bottles, and that includes Heineken, Corona, Stella, Sam Adams, Guinness, Lagunitas, Boulevard, Angry Claw Hard Seltzer and Pacific Pear Crispin Cider.
Fun, in addition to alcohol, includes morning and Monday night cards, game-day specials, Keno, pool, darts, a jukebox and enough spacious, well-lit, diagonal, small-town parking to make Elon Musk reconsider leaving Earth.
If you don’t like warm leatherette or great parking, George’s Tavern might not be for you. If you like comfortable, well-worn places that feel like an old pair of steel-toed work boots, then George’s is your jam.