Dive Bar Reviews: Erie, PA - part I

WEST RIDGE SALOON
3460 West 26th Street
A fairly clean-yet-downwind dive, the West Ridge Saloon is a cool place to go before you go out. With average beer prices and a shot list longer than the line outside of a trailer slut’s bedroom, this basement bar had a tolerable new rock atmosphere The owner/bartender was indiscreetly the drunkest person in the bar, but the overall mood was pretty light. Our patronage will definitely be repeated at the ‘Ridge.  The sexy lady posters in dudes restroom made urinating a pleasure!  The bartender gave me the wrong change once and gave my change to someone else another time, but the Sirius Radio pumped out Ministrys NWO while we were there, so all is forgiven.

OVERALL RANKING: 3/5

CAPTAIN RON’S QUARTERS
401 West 18th Street

What kind of seamen’s shack locks its doors at 11:00 pm on a Friday night?   Probably a good idea, since it's located in a neighborhood colorfully referred to as "The Rat's Nest."  The bar wench looked to be some large-legged land lover.  I sat adjacent to a middle-aged blonde ogre-of-a-lady with all white contact lenses. I think she may have had a tatoo on the side of her skull too. And her left fist was perpetually clenched. I will drop anchor here at a later date.

OVERALL RANKING: 3/5

CHESTNUT STREET PUB (a.k.a THE NUT)
362 West 31st Street

So a guy walks into a bar…it was me. That was probably the highlight of our trip to The Nut. Dirty floors, ultra-loud dirtbag clientele, weak beer selection and just an atmosphere that makes you not want to be there! The bar stools were ricketier than the legs of a cripple and the bar had a faint smell of ball sweat. With the right holocaust, this bar could have potential, but an ugly chick with DD implants is still rotten in the face.  Remember when you were a kid and youd be dragged to your dads company picnic…yeah, its worse than that. Comparable to a bee sting to the crotch.

OVERALL RANKING: 1/5

BOBBY’S PLACE
1202 West 18th Street

After Clint Eastwood escaped from Alcatraz and swam across the San Francisco Bay, he probably went to Bobbys Place. This is the most under the radar bar ever. I think it was also a stop on the Underground Railroad. If you really dont want to be found, Bobbys is the Place. Home of the $1 draft, this louchey lounge is the perfect spot to take that sure thing that is too ugly to bring around your friends. Dave the bartender slings drinks fast and courteous as the other patrons are, well…non-existent. The jukebox was weak but fun; highlighted with early Ska compilation and the Escape Club, which blatantly indicated the sexual preference of said suds slinger.

OVERALL RANKING 5/5

SOPHIAS TAVERN
514 Cherry Street
I've driven by this place a bunch of times so I thought we should check it out. Outside the entrance, assorted drug dealers peddled their products and conversed in slang. When we walked in, the record came to a screeching halt. Everyone in the place stopped and looked at the five honkys that entered their turf. While ordering drinks at the bar, a regular informed me that the Peach Street Pub was having mad drink specials that night and that we should check it out…soon. The back wall showcased a lengthy BARRED sign, naming many members who are no longer welcome at the establishment, including Ladybug, Shalom, Lil’ Juice and Junior (for life!). After choosing a drink from worst beer selection in America, we retreated to the back room where my associate became fast friends with a hairdresser named Cheri. After repeated claims of how much she loved white people, the sexy stylecat suggested we relocate to another establishment, because "we would probably like it there."   Sophias does NOT carry any of the following brews: Pabst, Yuengling, Labatts, MGD or Miller High Life while the jukebox dropped a generous selection of rap, R &B and hip hop.  Oh yeah, and there were random doorbells on the walls in the back room?

Overall ranking: 1/5

LEFTY’S TAVERN
1248 Brown Avenue

This place was a pleasant surprise, nothing flashy or fancy, just a comfortable watering hole. . The walls were ornamented with various hockey memorabilia, but my associate and I chose to gaze upon the vixenous female sud-slinger behind the bar. The joint was pretty dark due to the total negligence of windows, which could be appealing to your average sneaky pete. One could complained about the lack of a pool table, but I personally go to a bar to drink, not to better myself as a bar jock. If I wanted to play games, Id find myself another crazy girlfriend.  I had nothing really negative to say about this pub. The cool thing about this place was that wherever you turned, there was always something to your left, hence the name Leftys I guess?

Overall ranking: 4/5


THE MARINA PUB
732 West Fourth Street
I am convinced when the bartender was younger, her and a few girls from her neighborhood were picking flowers in a horse pasture and one older girl persuaded her to piss on an electric fence and the voltage crawled up into her urethra and jolted her to age prematurely. Her snatch probably looks like a corn beef sandwich that doubles as a punching bag for Butterbean. Knowing her own tragedy, she is the admiral of the bitch boat at the Marina Pub. The lavatory looked like the room from the movie SAW and you could tell that every preppy fratboy there had a pocketful of roofies. The only thing that saved this place was the small enclosed patio behind the bar. Drinking outside is one of the finer things in life. There was nothing nautical about this nook.

Overall ranking: 1/5

NORBS BAR
25th & Peach Street
Have you ever dined at Kenny Rogers Roasters and been greeted by the country crooner himself? Or been thrusting forth a generous portion of Texas Pete Hot Sauce onto your meal only to be corralled by his Lone Star lasso? A personal approach to business is what makes Norb’s a cool ass place. While boozing it up, placid whispers of “that’s the guy on the sign!” beheld the jubilant Norb himself, sipping suds at the end of the bar, flanked by blue-haired ladies. The jukebox was very highly ranked, from Jackyl to AC/DC to Black Sabbath to Frank Sinatra. It would be relatively difficult to play a song that was not appreciated.  Norb himself informed us of his own signature drink recipe:

Take one 12 oz. can of Gennesee
Pour it into a glass
Add a dash of pepper

“Its the best drink around” he stated with honest conviction.  The only people who dont like Norbs are the ones who have never been there

Overall Ranking: 4/5


THE LAST SHOT
3064 West 12th Street
The Last Shot has cleaned up greatly since the days of GRIPPES, as the clientell seemed in bulk to be middle aged biker dudes and their respective back-of-the-bike bitches. Not the kind of biker whos some clean cut executive-type with whitewalls and a vast collection of polo shirts and a wristwatch that cost $4 grand, I mean the kind of biker with bbq sauce in his beard whose left bicep looks like a bathroom wall from all the homemade tattoos of bitches he loved over the years and who still talks about a pair of titties that flashed him at a Starvin Marvin in 1986 on his way to Bike Week.

Although I have absolutely no respect for cover bands, its nice to walk into a dive and NOT hear that gayass “I love this bar” song being played 20 times a night.  I think this place has a crooked floor.

Overall rating: 3/5


THE RINGSIDE
3202 Sterrettania Road
I like theme bars. The more meticulous the better. The Ringside did a stellar job of bringing their boxing motif to fruition . Numerous posters of Roberto Duran, Marvin Hagler and Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini (the pride of Youngstown!) garbed the interior. The place was mainly an italian restaurant with a relatively small bar in the corner of the room. Brainstorming possible menu items, we formulated such authentic dishes as Ten-Count Cheesesticks, Southpaw Spaghetti, Left Hook Linguini and Rabbit Punch Ravioli (none of which were featured on the real menu)

The jukebox?  Raging Bullshit. Some malnourished wigger kid with cokebottle glasses and an atrociously bad teenage mustache was dropping indescribably bad beats by todays hip-hop heroes. A disabled jukebox was located on the near wall, but I was nair to recognize a single group on the roster.  Remember that shitty boxing movie from the early 90s called Gladiators? I believe Cuba Gooding Jr. was the star. If memory serves, the film was horrible, but not as shitty as the soundtrack, which featured Warrant covering “We Will Rock You!” The music video had Jani Lane trying to dance like Ali and jab at the camera. Id still like to jab a fork in his eye.   I wrongfully assumed that they would have some boxer-esque shot like Yagermeister and Gatorade (which would obviously be named “See ya Yager alliGator”)

Observation: A split decision….I think Ill schedule a rematch.
Overall rating: 3/5


THE STARLITE HOTEL
901 West 4th Street
Yes, this is the place located in the basement of a crack hotel. This is the same bar that Barf killed a rat running across the floor with one jab of his pool stick. This is also the drinkery that offers delicious sausage-and-pancake-on-a-stick for a mere $2.00. Yup, also the locale where someone took a shit on the back of the toilet tank because the bartender (who was affectionately referred to as Skeletor) didnt know how to make a Long Island Ice Tea. The Starlite Hotel is an Erie dive bar of primary importance. Dirtbags, hookers, crackmoms and thugs all conglomerate at this rotten establishment. Our most recent trip was pretty uneventful, sans my discovery that management got rid of CrAzY bOwL, the best video bowling game ever. Still, the Starlite has its advantages. Friday nights from 6-8 pm is free pool, any other time you must pay the full price of 25 cents a game. The mixed drinks are stronger than Dolph Lungren and youre bound to make friends with at least one of the derelict locals.  Some thug DJ with huge speakaz (not a PA, I mean home stereo speakaz) was making shitty rap songs, drop, hit and boom. Apparently the old owner fell down the stairs near the bar entrance and laid there for two days before giving in to death. True story!
Overall rating: 4/5 (don’t ask me why…)


THE BEER MUG
1108 Liberty Street

If you were a bong-ripping hippie, go to the Docksider. If you like shitty cover bands or shitty wannabe metal bands, then hit up Sherlocks. Since the closing of Forward Hall, the Beer Mug is THE place for good local shows. The Beer Mug serves mugs of beer, among other bottled favorites. What do you want? I want a Pabst Blue Ribbon! Whatll you have? Ill have a PBR! Oh man, I'd run a million laps for a bottle of Pabst!  One time at the Beer Mug some chick dragged me into the dudes restroom and made me hold the door closed while she peed in front of me. If that pink-pantied prom queen reads this, you had a nice stream baby!!! Ooooh!

Overall Rating: 4/5

WAGNERS
1002 West 8th Street

Another hole in the wall bar located on the lower west side. The wings here are pretty good, the atmosphere is dark and if youre lucky, you may here some ignorant NASCAR fan make a racial slur. This bar is about as fun as an insurance seminar.  We showed up just in time for the lunch lady DJ (who I dubbed Salisbury Stacy) to spin Cds that she borrowed from her 16 year old daughter, a proud owner of a Starter jacket. If music is the universal language, then this tongue was a twisted confection of ebonics and southern drawl.

For some reason the beer served at Wagners has a tendency to spill more easily than at other bars. I think they have some hot-rod tap system, but a filthy rag is always nearby to clean up the mess.  I lived one block away from this place for 3 years and only went there twice…take that for what its worth.

Overall rating: 2/5

DEMSEYS PLACE
We pulled up in front of the building. It seemed to be hastily evacuated sometime around Reagan’s first term.

Me: Dude, I think they’re closed...there’s no lights on
My associate: No, that’s just how they roll, man
Me: I think I just saw someone inside
My associate: I think I just heard a gunshot


AJ’s BAYVIEW
331 Cascade Street

This place was “the Bar of the Living Dead.” Unthreatening grunts and monotone moans could be heard throughout this drop-ceiling’ed establishment. There was an odd mixture of fluff chicks, cowboys and assorted dirtfucks in the bar. I contemplated throwing out my shoes after walking into AJ’s…it felt that dirty. But alas, this is my mission.  Thumbs up on the song selections. but it was very apparent that the customers refuse to accept musical progression after 1979. There is life after the first Boston album. It’s called Dragonforce.

Bottles of Pabst were $2, I got a free shot after Whitman whoo’ed the ghetto brat bartender but the best drink deal was also the most discussed. Two loose-toothed ladies got in a hair pulling match right behind us. The bartender “Sandy” let out a piercing shrill that forced the rumble outside to the street, with the majority of the night’s patrons in tow. After a less-than-sexy sparring session the feuding females came back in the bar and were each subsequently awarded with a free 40 oz. malt liquor to go. From there, the majority of the bar argued over the punching prizefighters and the true victor.   If the boys at the Bayview held a fart competition, the winner could have his pick of any chick in the bar. A wise man would disqualify himself.

Overall Ranking: 3/5

THE GASLIGHT
2306 State Street
This mild yet forgettable hangout was a refreshing change on the bar tour. There was alot of stuff inside that was breakable and I didn’t see one single person wearing a tanktop. It seems that every bar we go to has the same damn music vendor so unless I mention otherwise, most holes-in-the-wall have a steady selection of classic rock, power rock and basic metal.  My first bottle of Yuengling was flatter than Winnie Cooper from “The Wonder Years” but the bartender was very pretty so I bit my lip. She didn’t bite me back.  The Gaslight had an impressive selection of kippered jerky snacks. It was a little nicer than the other dives we have been to…a decent place to take a ditsy date.

Overall Ranking: 2/5


LUIGI’S
727 West 18th Street
Jimmy had an older sister growing up. She was 3 years his senior and all the guys in the neighborhood wanted to fuck her. They would come over to Jimmy’s house after school and eat all his food and ransack his bedroom. Not a day went by when he wasn’t roughed up by his sisters friends as he walked the school halls and corridors. Jimmy couldn’t take the abuse any longer and dropped out in in 1952 and joined the Army. He was swiftly shipped off to Korea, hoping to gain some respect back home as a war hero. On his first mission, Jimmy got a bullet in his lower back, which is why he still walks with a limp. For the next 53 years, Jimmy led a life of bitchery. He took a lot of joshing from those around him. On his 69th birthday, he spend his life’s savings by purchasing a bar on 18th & Liberty. Still, Jimmy gets shat on by every being that walks into that place.

At 9 p.m. this place was rowdier than a sports bar in Philly the night Rocky Balboa defeated Apollo Creed for the Heavyweight Championship of the World. And Pabst drafts for a buck…hell yeah! Ol’ Jimmy slings them suds like a turtle crossing an 8 lane highway, but that Milwaukee brewed beer is worth the wait. Most of the regular patrons have figured out that if you scream at the top of your lungs super freekin’ loud and bang your fists on the bar, Jimmy will eventually give you a refill. One guy was reminiscent of a caged gorilla in dire need of a tranquilizer. Good thing his prostitute girlfriend kept him in check or this thirsty tank-of-a-man would have went “Kong” on the joint.

In a rather ballsy move, Jimmy recently posed a sign saying “NEW BAR POLICY: TIPS ARE NOW ALLOWED” but seemed disoriented when an errant dollar lay on the bar. Six packs of Steel Reserve High Gravity Lager are only $3.50, but it’s not the kind of place that you’d want to take a chick…unless you need to borrow Jimmy’s car.

Overall Ranking: 4/5 (keep rocking Jimmy!)


RENOS PLACE
18th & Walnut Street

One of the filthier bars we have been to, Reno’s Place is a haven of deception, dust and dirtbags. I assume that if you smoke crack, you already know where this place.  The jukebox blasted assorted rap, hip hop, and all other types of gangsta jives. I wasn’t familiar with any of the thug beats transcending thru the speakaz.

In regards to beverages, I was instructed to ignore the signs on the walls. The beer they advertise is not the beer they carry. When I ordered a Yuengling, the bartender stated, “Aww,,,no…the best we get is Labatt’s.”  As I sat down in a booth and was instantly entangled in a thickery of spider webs. Apparently this place doesn’t get a lot of traffic.

Overall Ranking: 1/5

30 comments:

  1. I am from Erie. Is Haggarty's still on 26th? Good selection of places I have never been before. thank you cheryl

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  2. your review of the dive bars was not needed. I am a bartender and frequent regular at Bacardie Joe's and yes I spelled it right, obviously on the bottle it is spelled Bacardi, but we wouldn't want to be sued illegally using their name. We treat every customer whether a regular or first timer like family! Next time you decide to slander all of these bars in Erie maybe you should take some time to actually get to know the place. I'm sure you're a "Down Towner" yea their bars are "nicer," but they also have more money and less rules to follow. I would like to invite you back to Bacardie Joe's so one you can see ALL of the remodeling that has been done and two so that we can show you that a dive bar can be a lot more than a dive bar.

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    1. I used to play in a pool league that went around the dive bars. Though I have only been to Bacardie Joe's 2 times, it was a decent experience. People were nice enough and the place looked good. I agree with the assessment that you do need to get to know the place or it is about the people you hang out with.

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  3. What about Choo Choo's on west 8th St? There's a classy place for ya!!

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  4. This is the best website I have seen in a long time. Your reviews are spot on and hilarious!

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  5. I have only been to half of these bars but you're probably dead on about all of them. Hilarious.

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  6. Thank you for sharing. I will have to check some of those out. Do you have a favorite?

    -flower delivery service Erie PA

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  7. I recently purchased Vinnie Props which is located between Wagner's and AJs Bayview on 5th Cascade. We have owned the bar for the last four months and since changed the name to Kelly Down. We've put a lot into it and with 16 beers on tap welcome your review. Thank you.

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    1. Kelly Down is a great bar you put alot work into it not live the other bars around you that are a dive love your place i will return good people good times

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    2. There's a 49ers logo on the wall. That's a win in my book.

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    3. Kelley Down sucks, Mike perry your a loser as your clients and bartenders Sarah and Ondie OMG can you get any sluttier?

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  8. Lets update these bars some are new owners new names.

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  9. Can't wait for part 2. Try Bay County there's a scary place. I could go on and on because I've been in a lot of dive bars in this town and have worked in a few.. Would love to be part of this tour!!

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    1. If you werent raised Bay County, you're probably not cut out for Bay County. The owner is an awesome lady, the bartenders (Gibby especially) are friendly and helpful people and the patrons keep to their groups. It definitely may be a "dive bar" but its what you make of it. Plus drink prices are incredibly affordable and well made.

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  10. Norb's has been closed longer than you have been drinking

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  11. Whoever posted the story about Reno's is not true this is not the 80's when it was known as a crack bar it is under new ownership since 2003 and no cobwebs if you seen cobwebs change your glasses as far s trouble there if you came there probably would be aand far as beer goes many selections
    a nice place to enjoy yourself so if you have a problem contact me ...................I AM THE PROUD MOTHER OF A BAR OWNER SO PLEASE WHO EVER POSTED THIS GIVE RENOS A SHOT AND STOP THEN WOULD LOVE TO HERE YOUR POST THANK YOU Mr Anonymous..................

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  12. plase contact jannaboobo@yahoo.com

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  13. Reno's is a fuccking dump. The only difference between them and Sophia's is the volume of traffic. Boom roasted!!

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    1. doug have you been in renos lately try it

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    2. Judging by its review... I'll pass

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    3. I was in Reno's once...ONCE. 12/15. I considered myself lucky to have not been shot. If I wasn't so terrified what would happen to me if I turned around and walked out, I would have. Ordered a draft, drank it in about 7 minutes. I was afraid to pound it and leave or I would have. If you like a bar that you should have Kevlar on to drink at, I highly recommend this place.

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  14. Bacardie joes isn't a dive bar though, far from it. It's more of a family bar. More of the owners family frequents there than anything else. Lol

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  15. since the new owner has taken over reno's it is cleaner and a nice clean place to go the new owner has done alot of work there i see him daily taking materials in and out to remodle the apartments upstairs the other owner never did no work around there to fix the place up i know because i stop for a drink after work everynight for the last 20 years

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  16. I work at ge and stop at reno's after work 2nd shift I find it a nice place to play pool and listen to music very nice place to go years ago fights everynight drugs would never go there the new owner is a great guy

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  17. Cant believe someone has nothing better to do than this. 4/5 on Starlite is prolly cuz youre a crack smoker. Get a life, loser

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  18. i find that renos is a nice place to go the owner mike and family are great people nice place i go there daily and enjoy myself so get a life and know the bars before you judge them

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  19. Hey Reno people, chill. This article is obviously old as hell, dude hasn't posted on his blog in 4 years so who knows when this was created. Gotta love facebook and internet drama.

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  20. I used to frequent some of those dive bars. Had a great time. I must of missed the "dive" part.

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  21. I was born and raised in Erie, love my hometown but the reality is they have a ton of dive bars. I thought this post was hilarious.

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