Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Demaske's Tavern, Jefferson PA -- REVIEW

Demaske's Tavern
Jefferson, Pennsylvania

The great thing about writing dive bar reviews, is that it gives me an excuse (not like I really needed one) to go into places I have meant check out for years. Demaske’s Tavern is a place I’ve driven past a hundred or more times while visiting my in-laws in Jefferson, Pennsylvania. Where’s Jefferson you ask? Even life-long residents of Southwestern PA probably have no idea where Jefferson is located.

I need to properly set the scene of Jefferson: it’s not far from West Virginia, has a population of 337 (according to the last census), no stop lights and two bars (not counting the fire hall and the Legion that a lot of people frequent as well). The racial makeup of the borough is 99.41% White, 0.30% African American, and 0.30% from two or more races. This is Appalachian coal country, so there are a lot of steep hills…great for my walk down to the main street (not so good coming back up the hill after having a few).

As I get to the street to begin my short walk down the hill, my wife relays a message to me from my father-in-law (a retired coal miner who had seen his share of dives in his day). His advise “don’t get the shit knocked out of you”. Great…

First Impressions: Is it open? There is a really dingy screen door that is impossible to see through, but I can’t hear anything. I open the screen and walk in. It IS open and there are about 8 people at the bar, an old lady bartending and a 4 year old girl behind the bar as well being challenged to see how many HOT jalapeno potato chips she can eat. A song from Hee Haw immediately jumped into my head “Gloom, despair, and agony on me. Deep, dark depression, excessive misery. If it weren't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all. Gloom, despair, and agony on me.”

The Bar: Old. Really old looking. I’m sure this is probably how the place looked the day it opened which I assume was many decades ago. It is the kind of bar surface that has soaked up a lot of beers (and a lot of tears) and then was wiped down with musty old bar towel. It seats about 10 people, and there is a table and a few chairs sitting by a vintage shuffle-bowling machine. There seemed to be a back room, but I didn’t dare venture off of my stool that was right next to the door. It even has a sign behind the bar with a gun on it that reads “Don’t call 911”.

Crowd: It was 4:00 P.M. on a Saturday afternoon, and there were a few guys in there 50s who clearly had been drinking for several hours already. A younger couple, he went about 300 pounds and clearly did not like the looks of me, and an elderly couple about 70ish who looked like they had been there quite a while as well. I have to assume that in a small bar in a small town everybody knows everyone, so I’m sure my presence alone was not making anyone very happy.

Service: The crusty old bartender yelled from the other end of the bar “you want somthin’?” Quickly scanning the rest of the bar, it appeared that Budweiser was the drink of choice…so I quickly yell “Bud, please.” Turns out she goes by “Chickie” and the little girl behind the bar was her granddaughter. In her defense, I never got to the finished with a beer before she walked back down to see if I wanted another one. Can’t knock the service here.

Price: Good question? The price seemed to range between $2.00-3.00 but that really seemed to depend on how much Chickie wanted to pull out of my stack of money. It was never the same amount twice, even though I drank the same thing the entire time there. I was NOT about to argue with her.

Food: From all I can tell, bags of chips. The little girl behind the bar claimed to be fond of the jalapeno chips, but her red face and watery eyes told a different story.

A/V: No music. No TV. Well, there was a TV but it wasn’t on, it was an eerie quiet that one does not often associate with dives.

Restrooms: Part of me just wanted to get out of there without checking the restrooms…but I have a job to do! So off to the mens room I went. Opened the door, and much to my surprise…not awful. Who knew? But something isn’t quite right, what is it? I look around and then realize, there is no sink in here! It’s just a toilet and TP hanging from the door handle with rope. Damn…and I forgot my Purell too!

Bartender Chat: Chickie is a throwback to dives from the 60’s and 70’s (think of the movie The Deer Hunter) and does not want anything to do with computers. We made small talk about a few things but mostly that she thinks kids these days are smarter than kids from other generations. (Funny…I can remember my grandmother saying the same thing about my generation.) I wanted to remind Chickie not to confuse intelligence in a small child with a smart-alecky kid reciting lines from watching hours of iCarly (when she’s not hanging out in a bar of course) but decided to just to nod my head in agreement.

How Far Did My $20 Go: Like I said, there seemed to be a progressive increase in the price of a Budweiser every time I ordered one. I spent $7 on three beers, but only $2 on the first one. Can some do the algebra on this one for me?

Final Impressions: I’m glad I went. Now I never have to go back. Not that it was an awful place, but it is a place for locals to get drunk. I think this place is best summed up by a line from It’s a Wonderful Life “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?” If I WERE a local, I would stop by here on occasion if for no other reason than to say I know a bartender named Chickie.



Dive-O-Meter


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30 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  2. This is like was said not a bad bar. but you do get your money's worth. About sellings drugs from the bar I have never seen this done and I am a regular.
    The person that prev posted the comment must be smoking crack. lol

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  3. Maybe the other comment IS from the drug dealer! I like Demaske's...I was treated fairly and had a good time. I've been in bars where they deal drugs, and this is not a place where I would expect that. Now, why is there no sink in the men's room??

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  4. The Demaske's kids, especially Stacey, is a fucking crack whore herself, alcohol isnt the only thing they sell in that place. Drugs for sure. Sorry guys. This place sucks.

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  5. You're not the first one to mention that. I can only write about what I saw when I was there...now I may need to go back this summer when I'm in Jefferson to see what the hell I missed on my first trip!

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  6. This bar should have been bulldozed to the ground years ago. The owners are white trash, racist, scum criminals and the place has been nothing but an eye sore in Jefferson since I was a kid!

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  7. Hoarders.....have you seen the backyard?

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  8. Too many drugs going on in there. You can't even get in the women's restroom because they line up to get their turn on the crack pipe...no joke!

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  10. The Demaski's are good people just trying to make a living, yes it's an old bar with an old bartinder, that's life and what you see is what you get!

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    1. William Huffman is the biggest crack head of them all of course he would say that!! You strung out heroine addicct you suck dick in the bathroom to get your next fix!!!! You fuckin Addict go suck another dick for a hit asshole I'll buy u a shot of crack while sitting at the bar and burn this bitch down with u in it

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  11. I lived close to this bar my entire 30 year life in I am telling you %100 they have sold drugs out of this bar a million times. Wanna no how I no cuz I have payed for drugs at this bar. I no the owners in played sports with stush the owners son. This bar might just be a bar now I dont no I have not lived down there in a couple years but before it was as crooked as it comes. Facts dont lie in if you have ever lived anywhere in green county then u def no this was a crack drug infested crooked bar. I am not a hater of the bar so I have no reason to talk crap on the bar because I have always gotten along with all of them but as for the bar it is what is is. I like dont have a problem with the owners in have always has just a tiny bit or respect for marco the owner because he does have a huge pile of junk in the back but when people see it as a pile of junk I see it as a very smart man that was a head of the game when junking starting getting big. This man was doing it years before everyone else seen the money that could be made in he was def one hell of a worker. But like I said the bar was a joke.

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    1. I agree the bar is infested with drug dealers and drug addicts! Chicky herself is a good person and I understand people saying the things they are about Demaskes, this is a blog about Hit that Dive, and I definitely wouldn't want to be there unless I was getting drugs!

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  13. The guy who said no drugs is a fucking junkie himself these place Ben busted for drugs!!! Nothing but trash in this bar!!!! The place needs to burn down with everyone in it. Nothing but white trash strung out junkies!!!!

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  14. I have grow up in Jefferson my whole life and Chicky was so nice to me she was like mother I grow up with her grandchildren

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  16. Chickie my own the place but it's Marco who runs it, his mother is sooo scared of him because he has beat her up on several occasions when she hasn't complied with his orders.....I feel bad for chickie cause she is trapped by her own son & grand kids...she just had a massive heart attack last yr & had surgery & those ppl wouldn't let her rest because everyone was ripping off the money coming into the bar...

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  17. I like how people make nasty comments but hide there names. Is it because there afraid of a ass kicking or are they the ones that go there and buy drugs too but figure this back staying will fool everyone.

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  18. What the fuck wrong with people having their own opinion? If you like the bar great, if not that's great 2. The reason for a comment section is for comments you fucking idiots. Why are you getting all ass hurt cause ppl speak the truth. It's a shitty place for local drunks and unfortunately drugs are sold there. It's a fact. So if you're mad at the truth change the situation. Let's see 2000 no blacks and no crack or coke being sold. Now what do you have? Since cops busted him Marco cleaned up the place but he can't stand guard at the door and keep all the BS out. Drugs are sold at 80% of bars cause ppl get drunk and letting down their guard and wanna party hard. It happens. But don't dog Every1 that has a different point of view. If we all agreed and liked everything others do or say it would be fucking boring. So brush the sand outta your clam and put urr manpon in and order a beer. Fucktard.

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  21. This is like the worst drug bar around you people are crazy

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  22. I like how people make nasty comments but hide there names. Is it because there afraid of a ass kicking or are they the ones that go there and buy drugs too but figure this back staying will fool everyone.

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  23. Good old bar drank there for years and sir Chickie is the owner.

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  24. The place is a joke. I've taken my aunt there who I know personally went to buy her herion, and lined up with others including Stacey to shoot up in the bathroom. Its awful and anyone thinking no drugs are sold there is a joke themselves. I could care less to step foot in that place and am glad I never have. My family is no better then anyone else's however that poor Chickie is amazing and the only reason any business even comes there. Good job and a pat on the back to you Chickie. But Chickie along with the rest of the demaske bunch know the ones coming there for everything but a good beer. Definitely a dive bar to say the least!!!

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  25. Y'all are nasty and make me sick. Unknown, hiding behind a computer who r you to say anything about ANYONE...

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  26. First I need to point out such horrible grammar! And guys let's be real if you're not from around here and walk into a bar you're going to get looks! My advice? Talk to them when you go back! If you're sitting there like a stuck up Punta then you're bound to get bad vibes and looks. Now I grew up with them and Marco wasn't always a bad person! Nor is he now.... People make mistakes in life and unfortunately they have had their fair share. But I respect Marco and Chickie around here you have two options eat or be eaten. He is a very intelligent intellectual believe me so many fear him and the man still wakes up and works hard from sun up to sun down. When I was an addict (no I never purchased drugs here nor did I ever see them there) they had not 1 problem with me staying overnight so I wasn't in the cold! And not one person touched me or even tried!! Marco was very respectful and surprisingly great at advice!! Chickie wouldn't care if she knew you or not if you was hungry she would feed you! I think so many locals have their own image of them due to rumors or past things that have taken place. Chickie is not getting younger nor is Marco but you would probably be very shocked to learn that they are truly good people! If Marco see's an opportunity he takes it I know he has bought a few things that has turned out to be a very good investment but again because people see him out with his jeans and no shirt and a vehicle full of scraps they think less but he's truly no different than those that are bankers, ceo's, those who own companies and sit behind a desk pushing papers he still has that old school mind frame and I respect him even more for that! We live in a time where people are too afraid to tell others the truth, where others have rolled over to save their own skin, being 10 years old suddenly means you can be scandalous, and let's not forget people now days want to be handed everything they think they are entitled, and have no true meaning of respect! I can honestly say now that I'm bringing this all up I would truly be sad if that building wasn't there anymore. I pass it everyday and it never fails to get a smile and a wave or nod but not just that it is almost as if time has stopped for a brief moment and you're back in the old days where values actually meant something to our small town folk. Chickie and Marco speak their mind they do not have a filter and honestly before I left to get clean they encouraged me and gave me the advice that I needed.... it was the truth and it wasn't in a way to hurt me it was because I grew up and Marco wanted to see all the kids succeed around here. Believe me he's not the monster so many portray him to be.... chances are that alot of people probably got their feelings hurt by this family at one time or another, or they simply envy what he has! I know people will think I'm crazy for that comment but it's the truth! But alot of folks forget that if they wouldn't get their panties in a bunch they would realize the good qualities and not focus on the past... it's a past for a reason!! My suggestion is to go back and loosen up a little and conversation would help.
    Best of luck,
    Nik

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