Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Light House Bar & Grill Opening Second Omaha Location this Summer

One of the first dive bar reviews I ever wrote for the fledgling HitThatDive was about a place tucked away in West Omaha called the Light House Bar & Grill.

Let's be honest, I had no idea what I actually was doing my first time here, and for the record, I still don't. So I'm not so sure I captured everything that makes the Light House one of my favorite places to hang out out for cheap drinks and great bar food during my first trip there all those years ago.

All of that for less than $10 on a Monday

Fast forward nearly seven years from my first time in this West Omaha dive bar gem, and I am honored to announce, that the Light House is expanding.

Now, let's making something clear, they are not closing their current location. Owner (and now good friend) Gueorgui Platchkov...try to say that one three times fast...is bringing his concept of cheap drinks, great food and good times to a new location. Which for the record, will make TWO Light House Bar & Grills in the Omaha-area. 

A wing-lovers dream come true. 
The new location opening this July on 168th Street near Tiburon Golf Course, will continue Gueorgui's vision of a great dive bar experience for West Omaha dwellers who might not have ever made the trek to his original location on 156th and West Maple.

If you've never been to the Light House...here's a few reasons why it is West Omaha's premiere dive bar.

  • Happy Hour 4-7 Monday-Friday that can't be beat anywhere west of 60th Street
  • One of the largest bar menus anywhere in the area.
  • Home of my favorite "non-traditional" wings in Omaha period. (Try the dry rubbed Desert Fire wings trust me).
  • GIANT 34 ounce Happy Hour beers for $4.
  • Amazing bartenders 
  • No frills vibe that is hard to find in the West Omaha area
  • And, of course, it's the home of the $3 Long Island Ice Tea...all day...every day. 
Good food. Great prices.

Of course there's a lot more to the bar than that. But in an area of Omaha that is overrun with boring, over-priced sports bars...with over-priced nondescript food...the Light House has always been a dive bar-lovers dream. And what makes it even better, is that it's in a part of town that would rather charge you through the nose to get the expected prices for food and drinks that a working persons bar should be charging.  

Why do I love the Light House? You get blue-collar prices for everything in an environment where everyone feels welcomed. That my friends is a dive bar!

$4 beer!
HitThatDive's "AC" and I stopped by the Maple location (now celebrating 10 years in business) just last night at happy hour to see if the Light House is still a dive bar lovers dream.  And the answer was, of course! 

Omaha's best happy hour. 

Where else can you get an order of wings AND a burger and fries for less than $10? Only one place that I know of...and that's right here! 

Do yourself a favor and always check the signs on the walls for the day's specials. Play your cards right, and you'll be walking out of the Light House not only happy about what you just had, but even more happy about how little it cost to have a great time. 

So congratulation to Gueorgui and his staff for getting ready to bring a second location to the dive bar-starved areas of West Omaha!

Keep reading HitThatDive for updates on when the new place will open. Until then, make it a point to stop by the original location and enjoy the best dive bar experience you can have located this close to an Apple Store anywhere in Nebraska! 

All day. Every day. 

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Geno's Bar and Grill -- Omaha Wing Challenge

3821 North 167th Circle
Omaha, Nebraska 68116
We have both kinds. Bar, and grill.
Back by popular demand (and certain out-dated extradition laws) it's an honest-to-goodness HitThatDive wing review! Now, I had no intent of doing a wing review, but my friend (and fellow wing enthusiast) AC needed to escape from her kids...the day before Mother's Day no less...just as much as I was looking for ANYTHING to do. Yadda...yadda...yadda...let's go for wings.

In case you forgot how I rate wings (because I just forgot and had to look it up) there are a total of 5 categories. And a potential to receive 10 points in each category for a grand total of 50 points.  Here's the mostly complete list of all the HitThatDive Wing Reviews.

Okay Geno's (not to be confused with number 71 on the Pittsburgh Penguins)...you're up!

One of these things is not like the other.
First Impressions: Well, ummmmmm, yeah. There they were. 10 wings (that's the full order on the menu) on a tray that easily could have fit, oh...I don't know...a 100 or so?  Three scrawny pieces of celery, and "fun-sized" bowl of blue cheese hiding away in the corner of the tray.

They didn't appear to have sauce on them at all, for the record, we did order them "charred" and they did not give off an ounce of steam at all. Not a make or break, just our observations. Did it look like we would love these from the start? Not so much. Did it look like they could potentially kill us? No. So what the hell...let's keep going.

Oh did I mention, that one wing looked like the fat kid in gym class that thought he could hide behind the tetherball pole during a game of dodgeball only to be spotted immediately and pummeled? More on that in a bit...


Score: 4 out of 10

Sauce: Hello, McFly (you butt-head) where's the sauce? As I've stated earlier (for those of you paying attention) the menu alerted us that "All wings Available Charred Upon Request" so...I requested it. We ordered the "spicy buffalo" sauce. And, let's just say. Meh. Not really sure there was any sauce on these things ever. Was it horrible? No. Did it roughly have the same kick as paste? Well, yeah.

Look, if you throw the word "spicy" out there and you're not doing an impression of Sean Spicer...make sure it's hot enough that I am bitching about how hot it was in the morning as I read the latest from Tom Shatel.

I would have give this a better score, but, it's impossible to say how wet the sand is in the Sahara Desert because...well...it isn't. Hard to rate what isn't there, but, feeling not so crabby, I'll give the benefit of the doubt here that there must have been actual "spicy" sauce involved somewhere in the process.

Texas "T"?

Score: 3 out of 10

Crispy: Here was my guess, and new owners of Geno's, please correct me if I'm wrong. But, these wings never saw the light-of-day in a fryer. They had a distinctly baked taste, had a few odd grill marks on them (one was even branded with a T!) And, I'm just guessing out loud here, were heated up in a microwave.

I will give credit where it's due, they all were baked well...even that fat bastard from gym class...so there were no concerns of spending the night praying to the porcelain god.

Were they actually crispy? Only in the way that Elvis was a blackbelt I suppose. But, any wing review you can walk away from and not feel like you're going to die is always a plus in my book. So, thumbs up for not killing me or AC.

Good lord!

Score: 4 out of 10

Size: Let's just call this one...Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids. Yeah...I mean...you had your Dumb Donald, Weird Herald, Rudy Davis and even Mushmouth in there...but...when one wing is so gargantuan-sized compared to the rest, I'm not really sure what to make of all of it.

How big was the fat one? For the first time ever, I didn't make fun of someone attempting to eat a wing with a knife and fork. I was not about to ruin my weekend eating that thing, but, AC being the trooper that she is...dove right in. Bonus points for her on that attempt!

(Note to bar owners) These are called WINGS for a reason, because as a general rule, they are the wings. If one looks like $15 turkey leg from the local Renaissance Festival, maybe just (I don't know) plop it in the garbage can. I mean, do what you want, but, that's what I would do with it. But what do I know?

I've seen worse. I've had MUCH better.

Score: 5 out of 10

Extras: Oh, you know, not a lot to bitch about here. The tray was so HUGE there wasn't an issue of where to put the bones (that's what she said). Of note...the celery was sort of sad and small...compared to Fat Albert. The blue cheese was a home-made watery disaster and there weren't any wetnaps for us to use as a toothpick to at the end of all of this..

Geno's did provide extra plates and extra napkins, but the only real use of the napkins was for AC to wipe the slime off of her phone that she dropped right on to top of Fat Albert as she was attempting to sell a house in the midst of a hot Omaha housing market. (Side note from AC...DON'T BE A TIRE KICKER IN THIS MARKET!)

Score: 6 out of 10

AC digs in in. 
Final Score: 22 out of 50

Final Impressions: Will these wings kill you? Not so much. Will they make you text your friends and say "YOU HAVE TO TRY THESE!" Ummmmm...no. At the end of the day, these are the wings that you would get at a Ramada Inn in Fargo when all the other bars closed. Will you hate yourself in the morning? I suppose not. Will you add this place to your list of "Must Have" wings in the Omaha-area? If so, you and I are no longer friends. (Kidding).

Geno's is a fine enough little sports bar in an odd location. The service was great, and the place was pretty packed on a Saturday night. Give them a shot and order the kick ass pulled pork burger that the dude at the table next to us was eating (He ordered it with no bun, so that's a rant for another day) but it's hard to be too negative of a place that's trying hard, but just can't do wings all that well.

Hey AC...where to next...I'm still hungry for wings damnit!

Follow HitThatDive's "Scuba Steve"now at @stevegates62 on Twitter. Please and thank you.

I've had worse. 

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Perry's Place -- Omaha Wing Review

9652 Mockingbird Drive
Omaha NE 68124
402 592 3230
Here goes nothing
There's pretty much not a day that goes by where I'm not asked if I've ever have tried the wings at (fill in the blank). Sometimes I have, and sometimes I add it to my "Places I'll eventually get to when I'm not being a lazy bastard" list. That list gets longer by the day, just FYI. 

It just so happens that Perry's Place has been on that list for quite some time, and I was out that way after getting stood up for a Dr's appointment (how does that happen?) so I figured what the hell...let's give it a try.

In all fairness, I have had the wings here one other time and don't really remember walking away with the greatest of impressions of them. But...let's just say I'll never forget THIS experience.

Food comes from that barely open window. 

In case you forgot how I rate wings (because I just forgot and had to look it up) there are a total of 5 categories. And a potential to receive 10 points in each category for a grand total of 50 points.  Here's the mostly complete list of all the HitThatDive Wing Reviews.

Okay Perry's Place...you're up!

First Impressions:

First off...looking at the giant novelty over-sized menu clearly printed by Quality Brands...the wings here are listed under "Appetizers & Sides".  In my opinion, wings are neither and should have their own place on every menu. That's just me being picky.

They took about 15 minutes to come from the kitchen, so that's always a good sign in my book. They from behind a barely opened window below a sign that says "Perry's Kitchen" out they came.

Soup's on!

Ummmmm...well. Okay. I didn't see "wing soup" on that gigantic menu. But yet, here are eight oddly shaped wings in a bowl swimming in what I assume is sauce.  No celery. No extra bowl.

I can't totally write these off just yet...but we're not off to a great start.

Total: 4 out of 10
*On a side note, Perry's Place already beat out LaVista Keno


Well, there sure is a lot of it. Like...a ton. Like...what the hell was someone thinking? There easily was enough sauce in the bottom of that bowl for several orders of wings. I felt like Moses parting the Red Sea of wings just to keep them on the sides of the bowl and not get too soggy.

I MAY be being over-dramatic

For as much sauce as they dumped all over these things...it didn't have all that much of a taste to it. It certainly didn't really have a hot sauce taste to it all and seems more like watery red vinegar. There was the occasional hint of flavor...but on a taste to amount of sauce ratio...it was like 10,000 to 1.

I tried to save this guy from the Red Sea

Total: 3 out of 10


Let's just cut to the chase on this one...these were some of the most oddly shaped "chicken" wings I've ever seen. These things were so ugly they could have been a modern art masterpiece! I'm not sure how wings get this deformed? The flats were decent enough size-wise and weren't all THAT deformed.

Is that a red bass?
But the drummies were huge and looked like something you use to beat on a kettle drum.  Plus the fact that last two were so huge and oddly shaped that I wasn't sure if I should even try and eat them.

But, me being me, you know that I at least gave it a go.  I attempted to eat one and quickly realized that I would have had a better chance of chewing on a super ball than I would trying to consume any part of this wing.  But I did try!

Total 4 out of 10


I just knew this was going to be a losing battle based on the Red Sea of vinegar sauce so, this is going to be a hard one to give an accurate score. You know, because of the odd nature of how they were shaped, there were some crispy little bits to gnaw on...almost like the wing equivalent of burnt ends.

They weren't horribly cooked for the most part, but again, with wings this size the giant mutant pieces never are as well-cooked as the more uniform somewhat smaller pieces.

Were they crispy? I guess I can't say that they weren't...if that makes any sense at all. You know, for the most part, they were cooked fairly well...just too damn big and too much sauce to give the right amount of crunch.

Total: 7 out of 10


I've said it before...I'll say it again. There is NEVER a reason not to get a 10 in this one. But no celery...no extra bowl....if you're a bar or restaurant that serves wings...that should be mandatory. There were enough extra napkins and blue cheese....so this one wasn't a total loss.

Have to deduct 2.5 points for each missing thing. Sorry...rules are rules.

Total: 5 out of 10

Final Score: 23 out of 50

Had to tap out.
I hate to sound like a total dick when I write these things so here's a few suggestions. One: EASY ON THE SAUCE. You just want the wings coated with a little extra and then tossed in a bowl. Not dump pints of sauce on top with a soup ladle.

Two: To the best that you can...see about smaller wings. It will make the cook's job that much easier to send quality wings out of the window.

Three: Zip that sauce up with some Frank's!

Four: Pay attention to the extras.

These weren't the worst ever...so that's good I suppose. Will I ever order them again? No. But, I know a lot of people that swear by the wings here...so always keep in mind this is always just one kuncklehead's opinion.

Scuba Steve

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Hello There...Again

Well, that was only five-ish months since my last HitThatDive post. It's not that I got lazy (but I am), I just didn't seem to have the same internal fire to yammer on as I did at one point.

July 22nd was the six-year "anniversary" of HitThatDive, and reading back through some of the old reviews today...they made me laugh a lot.  Something I need to do more of these days.

Make new friends!

I guess that's my way of saying that HitThatDive should carry on and remain THE resource for out-of-the-way bars and places with the best wings all around Omaha.

So here's my thought. I need help with this. Because quite frankly, I miss being able to help...in my own way...promote some of the great locally owned businesses all over the area.

Can you:

  • Write Reviews?
  • Help Design a New Website?
  • Advertise? 
  • Help Design a New Website?
  • Sponsor Events?
  • Help Design a New Website? 
If so...I NEED YOUR HELP to help rethink how HTD looks, sounds and reads. 

Raise tons of money!

This silly old blog has been responsible for raising tens of thousands of dollars for local families in need...and generating new customers to bars that would never have the budget to market why they're a great place to stop by for a drink or two. 

And most importantly...you'll meet some of the nicest people you will have have the benefit of calling friends. 

So...if this sounds like something you want to take a crack at....LET ME KNOW. I'm easy to track down at HitThatDive@gmail.com. On Twitter at @HitThatDive1. Or through the HTD Facebook page

Thank you...it's good to be back! 

"Scuba" Steve

Wear cool shirts! 

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

It's Groundhog Day! Are The Bars Open?

Remember when you were a kid, you would sit by the radio on a snowy day praying that school was cancelled? Now that you're an adult, you do just the opposite and pray that the BAR is OPEN!

So with that in mind, I was able to compile a quick list of bars that will be open all day today...snow or no snow....

Jake's Cigars

The Village Bar at 3:00

The Lighthouse at 3:00

Addy's Sports Bar and Grill

Sneaky Pete's Saloon

The Elbow Room at 3:00

Aussies Pub at 2:00

Jerry's Bar

The Rogue Bar with Voodoo Taco

Crossbones at 3:00

Caddy Shack and Caddy Shack West

The Library Pub

Big Red Sports Bar

The Good Life Sports Bar and Grill

The Twisted Post

The Hideout Lounge

Friday, December 25, 2015

The Bar is OPEN! -- Christmas Day Edition

There's nothing like spending the day with family from near and far watching a Christmas Story for the 11th time... and stuffing your face with home-cooked food. But let's face it, by about 5ish (or so) all that togetherness can get a little...well...let's just say you're ready for a break from your grumpy old uncle.

Some are even open right now!

He had a LONG day

So, with that in mind, we have yet again compiled a list of HitThatDive "Certified" bars that will be more than happy to sling some drinks on Christmas...let the fun begin!

Crossbones Bar: Christmas Day at 7pm - 2am. Christmas Day starting at 9 we have Gman as your DJ to an escape to the 80s!! Merry Christmas everyone!

Happy Hour 3PM to 7PM - $4 35oz draws, $2 bottles, pints & wells, 10 jumbo wings for $6, one topping personal pizzas for $5.
Kitchen open 4PM-9PM.

D.U. Sleigh? 

Sneaky Pete's Saloon: Happy Hour 6am-6pm open until 2am 365 days a year

Blind Dave's Bar: is open until 2:00 am Christmas Eve and noon to 2:00 am Christmas.

The Village Bar: Christmas 7pm to 2am.

NOT Scuba Steve

Andy's Place: Open 1:00 X-Mass with Tug Boat presiding

Addy's Bar and Grill: 6 Xmas and kitchen is open too!

The Good Life Sports Bar and Grill: We are fully open from 3am to 2am, kitchen and all. Great specials, awesome staff, and good basketball!

Doghouse Saloon: OPEN!

Maloney's Irish Pub: Open at 7:00pm

Alderman's: Open at 3:00

Elbow Room: Open at 6:00

Piccolo's in Millard: Open

Jerry's Bar: Opens at 6:00pm.

Moe and Curly's: Karaoke starts at 9:00. 

And to all a good night from HitThatDive!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Nick's, Pottersville, New York -- REVIEW

Main Street
Pottersville, New York

Much like a moldy old fruitcake, or that sweater vest from your long lost relative, it's time for the annual retelling of my long strange trip to Pottersville, New York a few years ago on Christmas Eve.  

Merry Christmas 2015! 

Scuba Steve

Let's get hammered!
My travels take me to some pretty out-of-the-way places, so it's not unusual that I find myself spending a night in a small town like Pottersville. I couldn't find the place on Google maps, so I had no idea what to expect when I got there.

But, what to my wandering eyes did appear (once I got there), nothing short of one kick-ass party town! Pottersville is nothing but night clubs, bars, liquor stores and pool halls…did I just die and go to heaven? It was a snowy night, so I ducked into the first crowded bar I saw, a place called Nick's.

PROS: Cheap. Hot Dames.  Hard-Drinking Regulars.

CONS: Goon Bouncers.  A Few Odd Balls Showed Up.

First Impressions: Holy crap…considering it's Christmas Eve…this place is ROCKING and loud. It was hard to find a place to belly up at the bar, but I found a seat at the end and was amazed at how many people were throwing back shots of bourbon, drinking gin and generally getting hammered.

My kind of place for sure! And, oddly enough, most of the people are wearing hats (not baseball caps) but honest-to-goodness hats. As usual, I am under dressed.

Smoke 'em if ya got 'em
The Bar: Small and bare bones. The bar, I'm guessing, seats about 12 people…but not all that comfortably. There are a handful of tables, and they too are all filled. The walls have pictures of boxers and race horses, and a look behind the bar didn't seem to reveal a ton of choices. No beer on tap, but they did have enough bourbon and gin to drown W.C. Fields, as well as several bottles of Italian wine (aka Dago Red) which seemed a bit out of place. Maybe a holdover from the previous owner?

The Crowd: A hard-drinking mix of men and women all dressed up in suits and skirts…it is Christmas Eve I guess…definitely NOT a Harley T-shirt place. Most people seemed nice enough and all seemed like they knew one another…the typical regulars kind of crowd.

A few odd balls showed up at one point and quickly had their asses thrown out the door…And STAY out! HA!! Who goes to a dive bar and orders a flaming rum punch? What the hell is that anyway? Some old panhandler also showed up and got his ass kicked out too. I overheard someone say that he spent time in jail for killing a kid. Why the hell isn't he still in jail!

A few hot dames
Service: Nick is my kind of bartender, not the most friendly guy in the world, but is ready to pour you another shot the second you thrown one back. I had no problems with the guy the entire time I was in there, but I would not want to get on his bad side, at all. As "don't f### with me" as he seemed, I could not help but to think that if his life had taken a different path, that he might actually be a nice and upstanding citizen. On the other hand, who cares, I'm here to drink. Nick, another bourbon!

Prices: There were no signs for specials on the walls, and I did not want to piss off Nick by asking for about happy hour prices. Nick's will let you drink on a tab, but they do not take credit cards. I'm guessing they charge you roughly .60 cents for a pint and .80 cents for a shot. Again, I was not about to ask, and much like everyone else in the place I was there to get drunk…so I didn't care.

He takes no shit
Food: No menus anywhere that I could see. I am under the impression that this is NOT the place to go if you are hungry. But, having been in a place like this once or twice, I am sure you can find some pickled eggs behind the bar if you look hard enough. Not that I would actually eat one, but it's nice to know there is some type of protein in case the rotgut booze starts to have a really bad effect on me and make me think I was talking to an angel.

Way better than an Internet jukebox
Entertainment: Not a place to come to watch a football game. Why? They don't have any TVs…not even a radio. But, they did have a dude at the piano playing some down-and dirty jazz. That's a new one to me in a dive (other than New Orleans or Memphis) but who cares…this dude can play!

I didn't see a jukebox either, so I'm not sure what you do for fun at Nick's when the "piano man" takes a break. My guess is you just order another shot and hope his goon bouncers throw-out some other poor slob for the amusement of others. I have to say, when it's not me being the one thrown out, it's pretty entertaining to watch. 

Restrooms: I can only assume the worst, but I was not about to abandon my barstool just to have someone steal it. My best advice in a place like this is to drink until you're hammered (and can't hold it anymore), pay your tab, walk quickly out the door, and pee in the alley behind the building. If nothing else, I'm sure it is a way more sanitary approach.

Cash Only
Bartender Chat: This is NOT a place to make small talk with the staff. Let me put it this way, I overheard Nick telling one of the two "pixies" not too long before he had them thrown out the door, "Hey, look mister, we serve hard drinks in here for men who want to get drunk fast. And we don't need any characters around to give the joint atmosphere. Is that clear? Or do I have to slip you my left for a convincer?"

Hell yes! My motto too…drink up or hit the road! Nick rules!!

How Far Did My $20 Go: At roughly .80 cents a shot, 20 bucks can get you HAMMERED. I'm sure I didn't drink nearly my twenty bucks worth, but threw it on the bar anyway on my way out the door. God knows I didn't want one of the goons at Nick's bar to "show me the door" for being a cheap tipper.

Final Impressions: I dig this place. They don't take shit from the customers, are intent on getting their customers wasted, and apparently "hand out wings" by ringing the cash register over and over again when they feel like it. I'd come back here in a heartbeat.

There is a feeling in the place that it could be much more friendly under different circumstances, but as cheap as the drinks are, how can you not love coming here on Christmas Eve to tie one on with a bunch of people dressed up for church. This is a one of a kind dive!



Thursday, November 26, 2015

25th Annual BlackOUT Friday -- Thanksgiving Tradition

Being completely allergic to stores, and the people in them, BlackOUT Friday started as a way to NOT go shopping on the day after Thanksgiving.

This year I am proud to announce that the tradition of not shopping, and sitting in a (strip) mall bar instead, will continue at The Good Life Bar and Grill  (TGL) promptly at 11:00 AM on Friday.

Here's what I had to say about TGL in my column earlier this year in the Omaha World-Herald...The Good Life Sports Bar and Grill. 

Come get your free HitThatDive shirt tomorrow. While supplies last!

Show up with a pack of Camel (non-filters) or wearing a cowboy hat and I, Scuba Steve, will buy your first drink and give you a HitThatDive t-shirt to proudly add to your collection!

But, what exactly are the origins of BlackOUT Friday? And, how does someone properly celebrate it...let me explain.  

Origins:  Thanksgiving of 1991, my college roommate (Smitty) and I (one year removed from college graduation) remained woefully unemployed.  To kill time over that year, we would meet every Friday at 11:00 a.m. at various bars and order the same thing…beer and wings.  (Keep in mind that this weekly habit led to the end of Smitty’s 10 month marriage to his high school girlfriend.)  

I too had recently ended a four year relationship with my college girlfriend…which meant that neither Smitty or I (being newly single and hopefully unemployed) were feeling very festive for the upcoming holidays. 

We decided that even though it was the Friday after Thanksgiving we should stick with our routine at the local “mall bar” The Ground Round…they had pretty good wings and 22 ounce draft beers.  

And we thought, “what the hell”, let’s see if we can find some Christmas spirit and hit the mall after a few beers and see what all the crazy people were up to.  In order to not look like complete degenerates, we enlisted one of our more upstanding friends (Chic) to join us.  To this day, Chic IS still married to his high school sweetheart.

Not the original
We had some wings, a few too many beers, walked around the mall, made fun of people that we knew there and eventually went home.  It was an amusing way to kill an afternoon and all agreed to do it again the following year.

1992:  I had moved out of the Pittsburgh-area, as had Chic,  so word got around town that we would all be at our same bar stools as the year before at The Ground Round the day after Thanksgiving.  A few more friends decided to join us, so it turned into more of a reunion than anything else, ultimately we decided to skip the mall and spend the afternoon drinking with friends.   

Smokes anyone?
1993-1996:  The new “rule” for the day after Thanksgiving was that you were not allowed to coordinate meeting at the mall bar.  It was a word-of-mouth invitation and either you showed up or you didn’t.  During these next five years, a few things happened:

  • We seemed to get progressively drunker every year;
  • More people started to “attend” our yearly ritual;
  • Shots became part of the tradition;
  • They put a bar IN the mall
Up until the opening of the mall bar (Ruby Tuesday), we would get fairly buzzed throughout the afternoon and call it a day.  But, the draw of a bar in the mall just seemed to be too much for the group to pass up.  Oh, we still drank the same amount at the first bar, which meant our decision-making once we took seats at the bar IN the mall were more than slightly impaired. 

1997:  We all took our same spots in the Ground Round, at this point the bartender already was expecting us, but there seemed to be an extra ounce of tomfoolery in the air.  By the time we hit the mall bar, we were all pretty ripped and hell-bent on shots once we got to the mall.  

Being their busiest day of the year, I have to assume that the management of Ruby Tuesday were not very thrilled to have a bunch of drunk rowdies in the place chasing off the customers that were there for a quiet lunch.  

How do I know that?  I believe we were asked to leave several times…which we promptly ignored.  Somehow we befriended an honest-to-goodness cowboy that we referred, oddly enough, only as “Cowboy”. 

3-2-1 RUN!
We decided that, since it was the start of the holiday season, we should join in the spirit of giving.  Not wanting to actually go shopping, we decided to buy a few packs of Camel (non-filters) from the vending machine and hand them out to all the mothers and daughters that were eating lunch. 

Who would have guessed that not a single one of them thanked us? It was evident that we would be forcibly removed from a Ruby Tuesday at 4:00 p.m.on a Friday (has that ever happened before?) so we promised the bartender we would leave after a few more rounds (and this time we mean it).  

As we get ready to leave, Cowboy asks us “where to next?”  To say Cowboy was a bit creepy is an understatement. 

It was then that a group of us huddled up and decided we had to “lose” Cowboy.  Those in attendance might remember it differently, but what I recall is on the count of three we all scattered as fast as we could in different directions throughout the mall.  

Things get a little fuzzy from there, but I do remember Cowboy being much harder to lose than my drunken brain had anticipated.  All I really remember about the rest of the day:

  • Not sure how I got home
  • Stopping at someone’s house because they had a beermeister
  • Smitty out cold in a car
  • “Falling asleep” and coming to just in time to watch Pete Gonzalez of Pitt beat West Virginia in the “Backyard Brawl”. Of note...this game is no longer even played. 
The gift that keeps giving
1998:  Mrs. HitThatDive caught wind of a few of the stories from the year before and implemented a new system.  Everyone who attended this year was given 6 drink coupons for a program that she would administer.  One coupon handed to her allowed you to purchase one beer, and handing her two coupons allowed you to purchase a shot.  

They were non-transferable, and once the coupons were all gone, she would drive us home.  Safe to say, the day did not end with a group of us drunkenly sprinting through a crowded mall to escape from Cowboy. 

1999-present:  I haven’t been in the Pittsburgh-area for Thanksgiving since 1998, but to this day the tradition of BlackOUT Friday proudly has continued in Northern Virginia and now for more than decade right here in Nebraska!

Whether in Pizzeria Uno inVirginia, the now defunct Draft House in Omaha, or even  Jerry's Bar in Benson...I have lived up to my word more than two decades ago that no matter where I am, I’ll be seated in a bar at 11:00 a.m. on the day after Thanksgiving to have a beer(s) and toast all the friends from over the years that I wish were sitting there with me. 

Now...who wants some shots at The Good Life Bar and Grill. I'm buying! 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The Bar is OPEN -- Thanksgiving 2015 Edition

There's nothing like spending the day with family from near and far watching football and stuffing your face with home-cooked food. But let's face it, by about 5ish (or so) all that togetherness can get a little...well...let's just say you're ready for a break from your grumpy old uncle.

And this year, we have TWO bars on our list that get the fun started right at 6:00am!

So, with that in mind, we have yet again compiled a list of HitThatDive "Certified" bars that will be more than happy to sling some drinks on Thanksgiving...after everyone's food coma wears off, of course.

Go home grandma...you're hammered. 
The Good Life Sports Bar and Grill: Open from noon to 2am. Home of tomorrow's 25th annual HitThatDive BlackOUT Friday.

Blind Dave'sBar: 11:00 a.m. til 2:00 a.m.

Elbow Room: Ready to roll at 6 p.m. $2.50 domestic bottles/tap, $3.50 premium/import bottles/tap $3.50 shots/bombs.

The VillageBar:  HitThatDive's "Bar of the Year" is open from 7:00-2:00. $3 "You Call It" shots.

Sneaky Pete's Saloon: 6am -2am ALL DAMN DAY!! 38th L street

Addy's Sports Bar and Grillopen 6 pm to 2 am with full kitchen.

Hit That Dive!
Leavenworth Bar: Say hey to Kirk and the gang anytime after 8 p.m.

Maloney's Pub:  Opens at 7 and will have $3 Fireball shots all night. 

Buck's Bar and Grill:  6pm no kitchen. "If you need food that day, you're doing it wrong. No kitchen on Thanksgiving. Nikki, however, will be offering free family counseling at the bar.

Observatory Lounge : Opens at 7pm.

Lookout Lounge: will be open 7pm-2am with FREE COMEDY

Lighthouse Bar & Grill:  Thursday - 3PM to 2AM; Happy Hour 4PM to 7PM - $4 35oz domestic draws, $2 domestic bottles & pints, $2 wells. No Kitchen.
  • Friday - opening at Noon for the game - Happy Hour 4PM to 7PM - $4 35oz domestic draws, $2 domestic bottles & pints, $2 wells, 10 Jumbo wings for $6, one topping personal pizzas for $5.$3 Long Islands, Margaritas & Hurricanes - All Day, Every Day!

The White House Bar: Will be open at 5pm

Crossbones Bar: Will be open at 7pm with the lovely Cherie!

Happy Thanksgiving Uncle Larry...I'll be right back after 10 beers at the bar. 

Dundee Dell: Will be open at 5 pm.

The 108: Opens at 6am

Pheasant Bar and Grill: Open at 6 pm and the kitchen will be open too

Underwood Bar: Opens at 5 pm

The Sydney: Opens at 7pm.

Don't forget to read HitThatDive tomorrow as we name the location for our 25th annual BlackOUT Friday! A tradition so great, it's celebrated the same way in several US time zones.  

Nap time.