Donovan expects nightlife to be an adventure. A great bar is a story in itself. He’s looking for places with a distinct personality. The more unusal the experience the better. Generic fake Irish bars need not apply. Also I also love places where you step in and feel like you’re in a different country; the less English the better.
Andrew is a non-profit fat cat by day and a dive bar connoisseur by night. He joined the Big Bar Hunter because he is looking for his “perfect bar.” What is that bar? Empty. Quiet. Cheap. Sad. A bar that oozes defeat. A bar to disappear into forever.
How We Judge A Bar
Andrew: The darker, the better. I miss the anonymity that came from bars being cloaked in smoke and am intimidated by the openness of a bright bar. Drinking is about self-delusion; that is difficult in places with good visibility.
Donovan: There is no such thing as too many neon signs.
Andrew: I’m looking for regulars. Not “Cheers” regulars, though. Real regulars. The ones who are slumped in the background of Paddy’s Pub in “It’s Always Sunny.”
Donovan: Unlike Andrew, I believe going out is about meeting new people (or at least staring at them). Not being a particularly outgoing person myself, I appreciate a friendly clientele.
Andrew: I’ve never much cared for frills. Why is the bar trying to distract me from my beer? Of course, if a bar has games–specifically Big Buck Hunter–I will love it forever.
Donovan: I like bars with pictures of the regulars, taxidermy, or knickknacks from the old country.
Andrew: The math here is pretty straightforward: cheaper drinks = better drinks. Yes, I likes fancy beer. I like IPAs because they were the drink of my ancestor’s oppressors. But I’m on the hunt for the diviest dives–the neighborhood places gentrification hasn’t affected–and I don’t care if you have Chimay on tap. $2 Bud Lite, please. And if you have $5 shot and a beer, you’ve aced this category.
Donovan: If I liked paying six dollars for a beer I wouldn’t be pub crawling the outer boroughs.
Andrew: A bar is supposed to be an adventure–strange and uncomfortable, but ultimately gratifying. And if you wind up with dysentery or your expedition partners are eaten by natives, well that’s just part of the adventure.
Donovan: I like a place where you feel like anything can happen, but I prefer not having to worry about getting knifed.