Little dive bars are such gems. Almost every town has one, but when you discover one, you feel like it belongs to you.
This weekend we took a quick jaunt to St. Charles, Missouri to visit some friends. We've been there many times and when we go we like to stop in at the Sliver Moon Saloon. It's not nestled in an old part of town or in a quirky shack on the side of the highway like you might expect. It's opposite a grocery store in a strip mall but it's the epitome of a great dive bar.
We don't go there for the ambiance. Like all good dive bars, it's dark and run down. It's still legal to smoke in bars in Missouri, so the smell hangs in the air along with dried up spilled beer. Artifacts from the Iraqi war, photos and clever sayings hang on the wall above the cash register. The Cardinals play baseball on all the TVs. Neon beer lights and the juke box provide mood lighting.
They serve the most delicious burgers - not the kind from frozen patties - from scratch. With a toasted bun, a slice of cheese, cooked to perfection and served with all the fix-ins. In good dive bar fashion, it's really cheap - two burgers, a frosty draft and a glass of wine for $20, and that included a big tip for the bartender.
The Saturday afternoon bartender is one of the reasons the place is so great. He's a personable guy, always with a big smile, and he shook our hands as if he remembered us. Everyone in the place knew each other, we were certainly the newbies. They looked at us with a sense of astonishment us when we walked in as if people don't often wander in like we did.
Although I was trying to avoid the cliche of comparing this place to Cheers, it can't be avoided. Someone who wrote a review on Urbanspoon.com called it "the Cheers of St Charles". Now that I've described it, it sounds like Cheers, doesn't it? That's the Grand Prize of compliments for a dive bar.
If you ever find yourself in St Charles, Missouri, do yourself a favor and stop in at the Silver Moon Saloon.
What's your favorite dive bar?
Filed under: Great Places