Dive bar food spans the gamut. From barely edible to devouringly delicious – and everything in between – chances are, if you’re downing Jameson with Miller High Life round after round, bless your soul, you’ll need to eat. For this first installation of Dining at the Dive Bar, we bring you four options you might find yourself facing at some point.
Burgers at The Red Garter
3143 E Speedway Blvd • http://redgartertucson.com/
Once upon a time, Speedway was the end of town. Now, the crosstown strip is dotted with dive bars. On the corner of East Speedway and North Camilla Boulevard is one of those joints. With 12 burgers to choose from, including the San Francisco Burger (pictured above) – a half pound charbroiled patty topped with melted Swiss and Thousand Island dressing on grilled sourdough, The Red Garter is a killer place to grab a surprisingly delicious burger. The veggie burger is also a great alternative for vegetarian friends.
Wings at The Wooden Nickel
1908 S Country Club Rd • http://www.woodennickeltucson.com/
This bar is tucked away at the edge of Barrio Centro. It’s next to a drive-thru liquor store where you can buy ice, booze and water bongs. The Wooden Nickel contains a wide variety of eats, including a root beer float. But, aside from Sunday’s karaoke night, the best day to stroll in is on Wednesday for fifty-cent wing night. Two bucks scores you four wings with four different flavors to choose from. There’s teriyaki, hot, barbecue and garlic parmesan. Also, not listed on the menu is Sriracha Teriyaki (pictured).
Pickled Eggs & Hot Dogs at The Buffet
538 E 9th St • https://www.thebuffetbar.com/
The Buffet Bar & Crock Pot rests in the heart of the historic Iron Horse Community. It’s one of the few places where you can get original Coors on tap seven days a week at 6 a.m. The interior is as ugly as it sounds, but the bar’s soul and character make up for the aesthetics. For $2, you can get a 100% beef dog, that has been slow boiling in Coors, in a beat up crock pot. For an extra buck, you can opt for a polish dog. There’s also a carousel of toppings to choose from. But, as stated so eloquently in Esquire Magazine, “The hot dogs are available all day long. But they should never be consumed sober.”
If you’re not in the mood for a wiener, or you don’t eat meat, but need some drunk munchies, then check out the Dutch pickled eggs. You get two giant, pickled eggs for a dollar. They serve them in an old fashion glass with — if you’re lucky — some of the pickle juice.
Bloody Mary With Two Slider Garnish at Chicago Bar
5954 E Speedway Blvd • http://chicagobartucson.com/
More often than not, I hear bartenders say, “I don’t want to brag, but I make the best Bloody Mary.” And, every time I want to reply, “Smashing. I’m hungover. Make me one,” in thick English accent.
The Chicago Bar’s Emmy Cooper – who also happens to do a great British impression – makes one mean Bloody Mary. There’s a process to this drink. And, in the truest sense of the word, a smorgasbord of garnishes are available. Actually, it’s more like a dive bar version of a grand slam breakfast with options including bacon, blue cheese olives, green olives, horseradish, tobacco sauce, boiled egg, a carrot, celery stick and two sliders. Cooper hand makes the sliders every morning before the bar opens.