There’s a lot of bars along Foster between 50th and 82nd.
A whole lot. I ended up in the vicinity last March, while on a walk for my birthday. It began to rain heavily (hell, it began to hail for fuck’s sake), and while getting soaked, I ducked into Dusty’s to hide out and have a beer. It was a sports bar with a rather pedestrian vibe at that. Nothing to really give it personality. The service was decent, but it just wasn’t my kind of place. I’m thankful it sheltered me from the rain, and that’s about it.
When the weather let up enough for me to get walking again, I passed by the collection of odd and end places on Foster. Gun shops. Piano stores. And lots of dive bar shacks. But behind dive bar I noticed a strange looking place called the Slingshot. I’m a curious creature; What is that, and why don’t I know about it?
So I crossed the street to look inside. It was remarkably dark inside for a closed bar, despite the large windows in front. But I made out some tables and a really large space to play pool or shuffleboard. It looked alright, and I’m always looking for new places to hang out and write or play Magic, so I filed it away under “Must do this sometime” and continued home to change my wet pants into dry ones and get my free beer at the Rogue brewpub.
Well, “Must do this sometime” took about three months, but Fuz and I ventured into the space last Friday. And it’s remarkably roomy, with large tables we probably could’ve fit four people to and still played cards. The drinks are reasonably priced and strong. Plus, they were being poured by a guy who had a broken wrist. That’s hardcore, kids. (He’d had an accident and his arm was in a splint when he wasn’t working. Dude didn’t have enough cash to go to the doctor and get the cast on his arm he should have–and with a cast on your arm you really can’t work food service anyway. Call this part a little metaphor for what’s gone askew in America.)
There looked to be a decent food menu, but we didn’t partake. There seemed to be collections of local artists on the walls, as places like this tend to do. The music was varied, although mostly heavy metal and punk there was also Johnny Cash, and some group singing in Spanish that sounded pretty enjoyable. Basically, it varied enough to keep you on your toes, but not so much that I didn’t get a good idea of what the Slingshot was about. Most importantly, the music was loud enough to hear, but not so loud you couldn’t easily talk over it. They hit that sweet spot, and most places miss it.
Finally, there were no televisions. Personally, I think this is absolutely awesome. Some bars should have TVs, but most shouldn’t. They’re distractions frequently broadcasting things that don’t really contribute to the atmosphere of the bar, so instead of getting patrons that somehow contribute to how the place feels, they become drones. This isn’t true everywhere of course but when the bar is trying to project a personality, televisions get in the way of that.
All in all, I’m going back. Best compliment I can think of.