Finding My Inner Dirtbag With Seattle’s Best Dive Bars
I’ve been accused of taking my anti-beer-douche crusade too far. I’ve also been called a hypocrite for bagging on beer snobbery while, at the same time, “putting craft beer on a pedestal.” So let me explain myself. You might be able to relate.
On the one hand, I like to drink good beer. I’ve drunk so much beer that I’ve become pretty picky about it. It pisses me off when a place that’s supposedly “all about beer” has dirty tap lines. I also like to eat quality food with my beer and I’m not against an upscale atmosphere as long as it isn’t too highbrow. I enjoy talking beer with truly passionate people who aren’t just name-dropping and broadcasting whatever status they think they’ve achieved with the contents of their beer cellar. Based on that description, it’d be hard for me to argue that I’m not a bit hoity when it comes to beer and the places where I drink it.
But… on the other hand, there’s also a part of me that loves hanging out in the skeeviest dive bars. I enjoy having cheap beer out of the can and random conversations with burnouts. I appreciate surly bartenders. I like places that have a feeling of unpredictability, and–dare I say–danger, to them. Overall, I feel like I ride the fence between the world of the beer douche and the dirtbag. As I get older, I’m afraid I may get softer and gravitate toward the beer douche side.
Luckily, Mike Seely has written a book called Seattle’s Best Dive Bars that should keep me honest. The great thing about the book is how Seely captures the atmosphere of every bar. He didn’t just pop in for one drink, take a few notes and write a couple witty paragraphs–you get the feeling he’s gotten shitfaced at a lot of these bars.
I’ve only been to 10-12 of the bars out of the dozens that are written up in the book. I plan on visiting them all. Whenever I find myself spending too much time rubbing shoulders with guys talking about their last trip to Cantillon or the amazing barleywines they’ve laid down in their cellars for vertical tastings, it’ll be time to pull out Seattle’s Best Dive Bars and find the closest place for a shot, a can of Rainier and $10 in pull tabs.