Jukebox Skipping

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

"Bar", Rio Grande, Puerto Rico -- REVIEW

State Road 187
Dive...Puerto Rico-style

Rio Grande, Puerto Rico 00745

Never one to shy away from adventure, I packed up the family and took them to a small town east of San Juan, Puerto Rico. To be expected, my kids wanted to know why we weren't going to Disney World yet again this year. Quick thinking on my part and I blurted out, "But Puerto Rico has monkeys!" And, oddly enough, that seemed to be enough to convince them to join along.

Yadda...Yadda...Yadda. I find myself in a bar, with no name, that looks a bit shady.  Did I also mention that I don't speak a lick of Spanish?  What could possibly go wrong in a small Puerto Rican town anyway...not counting what happened to Hector "Macho" Camacho of course.

PROS:  Easy to find a seat. Price of beer.  The bartender spoke some English.
CONS: The dude in a blue shirt.  A little girl laughed at my attempt to speak Spanish.  

Plenty of room!
First Impressions: I drove past this bar for a few days in a row, and there were always a few shady looking characters out front.  I ultimately decided that I can't leave here without at least poking my head to see if someone will attempt to shoot it off.  There is no parking, so I drive down a side street and park next to a row of houses all with more steel bars over the doors and windows then your typical maximum-security prison.  Remembering a line from the movie Nobody's Fool, "This is where a smart man would stay in the car," I get out of my car and walk through an opening where I assume a door would go.  I grab the closest seat to the "door" and look around...I am the only one in here.

The Bar:  In a word, sparse.  A decent-enough collection of some no-name booze behind the bar, no beers on draft and assorted 10-ounce cans of beer in a cooler.  Yes, you read that right, beer only seems to come in 10-ounce cans in Puerto Rico, so it always feels like you're drinking out of a Red Bull can.  There are roughly 8 mix-and-match bar stools and not a single table or chair in the entire building.  It's more than a bit run down, but not in horrible shape necessarily.  There's an unlit back room that I assume would be where restaurant seating would go, but currently it looks more suited to hide from the local police.  Of note, there are a few signs on the walls, but I have no idea what they said other than one that I'm pretty sure said no smoking.

The Crowd:  Not much to say on this one.  While I was there it was just me, the bartender and her daughter that mocked my attempted to tell her "hello" in Spanish.  Also, every few minutes or so, a dude in a blue shirt and sunglasses would walk in and stand behind the bar looking none-too-pleased that I was sitting there.  I would have only stayed for a beer or two, BUT, since "El Hefe" seemed insistent in running me out of the joint...I stayed for a few more just to be annoying.  Ha!  I would have given him a piece of mind, but boy is he lucky I don't speak Spanish.

Service: Being the only person in the bar, it was pretty easy to get a beer as needed.  And even though they never taught this one in middle school Spanish, I am bright enough to remember the phrase "Una cerveza, por favor" so service wasn't a problem...even with my horrible attempts at Spanish that make small children laugh. 

Prices:  Two good things about the prices in Puerto Rico when you're not at a hotel, it's pretty cheap everywhere and the currency used there is the American Dollar.  Not knowing to ask how much "una cerveza" costs, I just threw some money on the bar an counted up my change.  As it turns out, a 10 ounce Medalla Light (the local beer of choice) was a whopping $1.35.  I can live with that considering at the hotel we were staying in down the street charged a ridiculous $7 for the same damn thing!

They sort of all match
Food: All I saw were some chips and gum behind the bar, but oddly enough, on my way back to the airport on our way home, they had some kind of outdoor food cart set up.  On a side note, make it a point to visit Puerto Rico just once in your life to eat some of the best food anywhere in the world!

Entertainment:  Well, there was a TV on.  Other than that...nothing.  For all I know, I was the entertainment for the dude in the blue shirt.  But damn-it dude...I'll leave when I'm good and ready!  Unless you throw me out first, of course. 

Bartender Chat:  I learned a few things.  One...crime is pretty bad in this area, hence the iron bars on every house and business.  Two...I was one of the first tourists to stop into this bar in a long, long time. Three...the bartender is also the owner.  Four...the dude in the blue shirt is a "regular".  And five...the bartender/owner was originally from the Dominican Republic.  That's all I got...hey what do you expect...my Spanish SUCKS!

Restrooms:  Sorry to disappoint on this one.  I didn't see an area that looked like they had any, and actually, I felt safer by the door than being cornered in the men's room by the blue shirt dude.  I guess that's just my way of saying that I blew it on this one.  On the other hand it gives me a reason to go back...right?

I don't know the Spanish word for "shots".
How Far Did My $20 Go?:  If I had all day to sit there, that's more than enough money for 14 beers...and it wasn't even happy hour!  Or maybe it was and I didn't recognize the words on the sign.  In any case, that's a better price than $1 beer night at Werner Park...which is now $2 beer night!  (That's a complaint for another time).

Final Impressions: Let's face it, the chance of anyone reading this one and actually stopping by this bar for a few beers is pretty much zero.  So why did I even bother writing it in the first place?  Well, why the hell not!  As it turns out, it wasn't nearly as scary as I thought it might be and somehow I felt like a regular old boy scout doing my good deed for the day by brining the owner some unexpected business (how nobel of me).  

Now, if you somehow stumble across this review and plan to check this bar out, send me a message, I can give you pretty good directions provided they don't need to be in Spanish! Golpear Esa Inmersion!  (aka Hit That Dive)


The Blue Shirt Dude!


  1. Your "No se fia" sign means No Credit.

    1. Really? Now I have just doubled my Spanish vocabulary. Thank you!