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(Editor's Note: Never in the three years of HitThatDive has one review ever stirred-up such a shit storm of comments! I've been called everything from an awful person to hilarious....from a horrible parent to "spot-on". One comment said "Loma is fun, I see no harm in this article it is the truth"... to "We can tell that you have no respect for people. Apparently there is no middle ground on this one)
I don't know where to begin? Rarely, if ever, am I at a loss for the proper words to describe any variety of shit-holes, dumps, dives, juke joints or regular old neighborhood bars...but this one has me baffled. Usually this is where I give a little background on how I decided to review a bar in the first place...you know...the backstory. So I guess I'll just start at the beginning.
In a recent conversation with HTD co-directors of research, Mark and Becky, they told me about an odd little bar in a small (like 40 people total small) "town" that is best known for being the fictitious Snydersville, Nebraska in the Patrick Swayze film "To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar. Sounds fine enough to me...I'll have to get there some day because Mark and Becky are never wrong on out-of-the-way bars to review.
PROS: It's a one of a kind experience. Great afternoon road trip destination.
CONS: Bad things happen in this place...I just know it!
First Impressions: Turn off 92 onto "Road W" and go for, I'm guessing, six miles or so on a dirt road. Pass the creepy little cemetery on the left and you're almost in "downtown" Loma. Originally, this was a Czech settlement in a region known as Bohemian Alps. Mistake one...I didn't heed Cara's warnings about the place and threw "Scuba Jr." and one of my daughters into the car with me when I left the house.
I park the car next to the bar, and we take a stroll down the main drag, my daughter quickly points out that there is "No Chance" 40 people live in this town. We look at the few buildings that are still standing, including a church still in good shape, and ponder if the Bar-M Corral is even open. A handmade sign in the front door, behind a dirty old screen door, claims that they are indeed "Open". I give the front door a try and it opens...dear God...this will give the kids nightmares for years.
The Bar: I am using the term "bar" here very loosely. Yes, technically there is a bar with roughly 8 rickety old stools and a few assorted beer signs and old bottles scattered about for good measure. However, other words that could have been used for this section also are: flea market, flop house, hobo paradise, vagabond vacation, or mother of all dumps. It's hoarders meets the wild west.
The Crowd: Let's see...there was me. Scuba Jr. My daughter. And, the old lady owner (Betty). End of list.
Service: How to best describe this one. For the first minute we were in there, she never once looked up from her book or said anything. Awkward . Finally, I uttered the first of two things they were spoken the entire time we were in there. Asking her for a beer was the equivalent of poking a hibernating bear with a stick...oh sure...she seemed too groggy to do much damage. But, not unlike a half-comatose bear...there's just always a threat that something bad can happen at any second. My biggest fear? That's easy...that she was going to lumber over to the bar and out of nowhere she was going to just start cackling and saying , "You're all doooomed!! HAHAHAHAHA". Of note...that never happened.
|Is that you John Wayne?|
Food: Two children to bake into gingerbread cookies is my only guess.
Entertainment: Two old TVs, the pool table/laundry table, and enough items for a rummage sale that you could spend hours going through just one part of the boxes along the walls. Here's an even better thing to do, dare one of your jacksass buddies to drink water from the sink in the bar that says "Do not drink this water." I assume that water is used to make potions to turn people into toads...but again...that is only a hunch.
Restrooms: I have failed you on this one. There was no chance I would leave my ever-increasing scared children alone...even for a quick picture. But, I did find a blog post from a woman that was born and raised in Loma, and she has a few good pictures of the bathrooms here.
How Far Did My $20 Go: For the first time ever, I only made it through one beer. As my children's blinks of S-O-S became more rapid as they looked at me with a pained expression, I knew it was a "one and gone" sort of afternoon. My guess is, if you take your beer outside, you can get close to about 15 of them...not a bad deal.
|Take. Us. Home.|
My advice, get a group of friends to drive out here one afternoon...there is strength in numbers after all. Leave the kids at home and send me an invitation to firstname.lastname@example.org...I would love to tag along with anyone heading that way.
We hopped back in the car, drove back through the vortex by the cemetery and were given a cheerful wave by a farmer on a tractor. It was at that moment that I wondered was that all just part of a bad dream...or was I hallucinating from winning a five dollar bet from Scuba Jr. and drinking a glass of water from the "Do not drink the water" sink? I may never be quite the same. In any case...HIT THIS DIVE!
A league of its own!
|One of a kind!|