Great Nights Out: Dive Bars
The furniture is worn. The drinks ain’t fancy. We wouldn’t have it any other way.
Dorman Street Saloon
Here lies the deepest jukebox in the city.
Four years ago, IM named the Dorman Street Saloon our favorite dive bar. While that endorsement stands, we’re probably guilty of corrupting the term a bit, as most dives provide serviceable swill in unmemorable surroundings—watering holes, emphasis on the hole. But if “The Hog”—established in 1900—is classless, it’s only in the democratic sense of the word. Spend enough time in the friendly Cottage Home haunt and you’ll find a clientele that spans generations, cliques, and tastes, from retirees on pensions drinking pulls of Sun King to hipsters nursing bottles of PBR and sidecars of Jameson. So you don’t go to the Dorman Street Saloon to see how the other half lives. There is no other half. 901 Dorman St., 317-237-9008, dormanstreet.com
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The Melody Inn
Scream away the winter blues on Punk Rock Night.
Dust off your leather jacket and safety-pinned patches and head over to Punk Rock Night, every Saturday at the Mel. Don’t have tattered jeans? H.R. frowns upon a mohawk at work? Fear not! This is a come-as-you-are experience. The vibe is relaxed, the drinks are cheap, and the music is electric (and loud, so bring earplugs if you value your hearing). Bands range from local to national acts and keep rocking ’til 3 a.m. If you find yourself in need of a break from the thrashing, the quiet and comfortable PBR Lounge awaits you in the back—just follow the soft, red glow emanating from beyond the kitchen. 3826 N. Illinois St., 317-923-4707, melodyindy.com
Ralph’s Great Divide
Dive or no? You make the call.
Is it really fair to call Ralph’s a dive bar? Pro: It’s a windowless building with a metal security door in front of the entrance; you may mistake it for a liquor store. Con: It closes at around 10 p.m on weekends. 10 p.m.! Pro: Trinkets cramming the walls include Mardi Gras beads and one of those “Beware Pickpockets and Loose Women” signs. Con: They make a locally famous coconut cream pie. Pro: It’s adjacent to a rumbling highway … and not much else. Con: There is a pianist on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. So maybe just order some Hot Pots, bowls of addictive cheesy-potato soup, and debate the dive-bar thing—or realize it doesn’t matter. 743 E. New York St., 317-637-2192, ralphsgreatdivide.com