I’m Too Deep into the Dive Bar Scene

I’m not sure what it is, but for some peculiar reason I feel drawn to dive bars.  There is something endearing and homely about them.  When I go out drinking, I want to be able to sit down at the bar and not have to fight my way through the masses of drunkards for a $4 beer.  The barkeep is easily accessible and the booze flows more readily.  The music is ten times more bearable than some hair-gelled, fake tan, douchey, over-compensating techno club.

I seek comfort in overused dartboards, uneven pool tables and split cue sticks.  The occasional stale beer in a dirty mug apparently has a profoundly reassuring effect on me.  And of course, the unfortunate young ladies that are commonly lured in by their miscreant boyfriends.  The faces on those poor girls as they enter these type of establishments is amusingly priceless.  Its as if they crossed over into a separate dimension where sexual deviants, drunken degenerates and switchblade-wielding drug addicts reign supreme.  The sudden shock of this scene can send an unsuspecting innocent lady dashing toward the exit while clutching her purse in menacing horror.

Well, its probably not that bad.  But I can tell you for a fact, that most are completely repulsed.  The trauma inflicted is not easily reversed nor healed.

But I always seem to have an enjoyable time…

The Mack House

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Young ladies, short tight jeans, cowboy boots and hats flooded the Pine Ridge plaza at Pine Island and I-595.  Excitement roared through the large parking lot.  As I approached the bar, I suddenly realized that the Mack House was not the premier destination of the night.  Halfway down the plaza, a country nightclub was attracting the youthful crowd.  The combination of country music and a club is something that I will avoid at all costs.  No matter how gorgeous the women are.

Entering the bar, the first thing I noticed was a fresh coat of paint smell.  Renovation was well underway and from what I understood, it needed it.  The previous bar, Music Cafe, closed its doors and the Mack House seems to have revitalized it.  The barkeep and general manager, Kyle Hatfield, informed me that the bar was undergoing much needed improvements.  Which is why the “Music Cafe” sign was still up.  Once more funds become readily available the neon sign will be replaced.

The crowd seemed strangely diverse.  Not typical for a dive bar.  Although “crowd” would be a generous estimate.  During the four hours I was there, about ten people experienced the Mack House in all its glory.  Hipsters, sweater vests and neck-tie fellows filtered in and out.

“Most of the people that come here are laid back beer lovers,” said Hatfield.  And if you enjoy local Floridian beers, this nano-brew pub is for you.  Prices here are steeper than a $2 Rolling Rock, but that is because the beer is brewed in house and the rest of the selection is bottled.  Holy Mackerel beer is showcased here.  Being a Yuengling man, I am no beer connoisseur by any means.  Having said that, I did enjoy the “Panic Attack” from the tap.  Certainly my go-to brew here.

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Filled with small wooden tables, a comfortable couch for lounging and a fish tank, the Mack House has a sort of hookah bar vibe.  Minus the hookahs.  But if you crave tobacco while drinking, this may not be the best location.  Out front is a small roped off area with a couple of tables and chairs for the smoker.

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Most small bars have a grotesque bathroom situation.  The Mack House is NOT one of those bars.  Quite impressive actually.  Pristine condition. Although you may not be able to tell from the photographs, trust me… These are not nearly as bad as what my readers are usually accustomed to.

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Other than an oversized ball park pretzel, it doesn’t have much to offer food wise. But if you do find yourself getting too drunk (which will happen more often than not/ most beers here are no less than 10% abv) one can order from the Vienna Cafe and Wine Bar next door.

“If they don’t want our food, they can have whatever,” informed Hatfield.

Or just order a pizza.  Everything seems completely relaxed and mellow.  And the barkeep is quite knowledgeable when it comes to his brew selection.  Which makes sense because he is the one brewing after all.  Despite the lack of cheap degenerates, pool tables and non-smoking, I enjoyed myself thoroughly.  Or maybe it was because of all that beer…

“Why can’t you have a nice dive bar?”- GM Hatfield

Go to this bar.  And like them on facebook… I mean, if you want to.

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Judge Blazer (left) Kyle Hatfield (right)