Let’s face it… you’ve outgrown the dive bar on the corner. And unless it’s the Superbowl, who needs to hit up a sports bar any more? You’re a grown man and you require a fifth of nice whiskey, a fine beer and classy watering hole. Finding one isn’t as easy as it seems though. Which is why we’re here, bud. You’re welcome.
Finding a classy spot online
There’s a science to finding a good bar on the Internets. Sites like Yelp and Beer Advocate are great resources if you know how to use them. Hit up Yelp and type in “bar,” for example, and you’re going to be given a list of bars organized, roughly, by user ratings.
The reviews on these sites are user-generated which is a mixed bag of fun for stuff like finding a nice bar because while amateur reviewers aren’t nearly as hoity-toity as professional reviewers, they’re also not nearly as consistent as professional reviewers either.
So if the potential spot you’ve found online has, say, 39 reviews and a rating of 4 1/2 stars out of 5… well, that’s fantastic! That means the bar is PROBABLY a good place. It could also mean the owner of the place paid off 39 people. Just like a bar with 0 stars is MOST LIKELY crappy. But it could also be that the owner pissed of 39 people (which still probably means the place is high on the skippable factor).
Basically, the ratings on these sites are good predictors but could be meaningless. Our suggestion is to find a few highly rated places in your price that are all in the same neighborhood. Finding your new favorite bar is like finding the right girl… it’s going to take research, persistence and a whole lotta drinks. Ladies, we kid.
The outside of a classy joint
Dive bars are diamonds in the rough… once you get past the dingy, filth-covered windows and head inside the scummy entryway, you’re pleasantly surprised by the large beer selection and incredibly cheap shots.
A classy watering hole doesn’t operate on this element of surprise — going in you know you’re going to pay a bit more so you don’t have to worry about some sort of mystery stain rubbing off on your sweatshirt. So spotting a classy spot from the outside is a skill we’re going to impart on you now. Wow, we’re in generous mood.
Classy places and their clientele relish in understated affluence, so gaudy-colored paint jobs, brash lighting and a big sign saying “We’re Classy, Yo!” are all signals that you’re hitting up the wrong joint.
A classy watering hole will have dark wood finish, dim lighting and a tasteful-but-expensive sign (like a small slab of chiseled granite) on its exterior. Now, if there’s a guy in a tuxedo manning the door and the door is made of solid gold, this place might be too classy (expensive) for you. But don’t worry, they won’t even let you in the place if that’s the case.
Inside a classy joint
Once you’ve found a medium-classy bar, head inside. First thing you should notice is the smell — or, rather, lack thereof. Fun, junky dive bars often have one of those “stay with you for days” stenches. If you’re going to be plunking down $6 for a beer, then you’re gonna want to replace that reeking stench with a little ambiance.
We’re know you’re a manly fellow (because you’re reading this site), so we’re guessing you’re not going to want to kick back in some frilly, pastel-colored wine bar. Look for spots with refined-manly interior elements like fine oak, crushed velvet, dark booths and a bit of leather, in moderation.
It goes without saying a classy watering hole has the choicest of refreshments. A lot of so-called high end establishments don’t have beer on tap, shockingly enough. And that might’ve been something you had to put up with to be in a classy joint 10-years-ago. But when one of the top rated restaurants in the country has one of the best beer lists as well, you don’t have to put up with the tyranny of a solo wine list.
You’re a classy guy… now you’ve found a classy place. Welcome to your classy life.