Finally it was Friday! I fumbled with my suitcase, running to the Greyhound station to head home for the weekend. Visiting Philly was long overdue. Working in New York had managed to make me a bit homesick. I called up Zero upon boarding; we would need to devise a master plan. “I’m on my wayyyyy!” I said proudly, waiting for Zero to tell me the list of parties that awaited our arrival. “I got nothing, man,” Zero said glumly, this sentence was one I rarely heard anymore. Since we already hit some of our favorite monthly parties like Cruel Intentions, Dirty Wasted Thursday and pretty much lived at The Barbary every other weekend, I hopped on Facebook to check my long list of events. He was right, there was nothing going on. My first weekend back in forever and there were no big events! This was lame, winter sucked all the fun out of everyone. I called Zero back. “How about we take advantage of the downtime and explore some of Philly’s hidden treasures? Meet me at The Dive in South Philly.”
The dive was a great spot to grab a few cheap Pabst, catch up with old friends, listen to some old school metal, and above all get away from the typical Philly scene. “And no one has to worry about crazy exs!”, I said to Zero. We both cringed at the thought of running into anyone of our exs, anywhere lately. I hopped on the bus and closed my eyes, dreams of tiny cheap flying Pabst cans casually floating by.
Before I knew it I was awoken by the driver yelling “Downtown Philadelphiaaaaa!! Last Stop!” I jumped up and shook myself awake. “Wake up woman, There’s drinking to be done!” I thought, excited to meet up with Zero. It must have been at least three weeks since we’d done a review together that was far too long. I dialed him up to inform him of my arrival. “Yo yo yo! I’m here! When are we meeting up fool?!” I laughed playfully. “I’ll meet you soon?” Zero said. I was fairly sure it was more of a rhetorical question, but I was excited to hang out.
I waited for Zero downtown. After all, I had missed being home and Philly looked rather welcoming with the holiday décor. I walked around admiring the lights and wreathes. The holiday spirit always made Philly look a little nicer than it really was.
We both arrived at the dive ready for a nice, cold beverage. “Where IS this place exactly?” Zero questioned, looking around a dimly lit cluster of street corners. I pointed across the street toward a hanging sign shaped like a beer can that proudly displayed a unique message. As we walked up I laughed and pointed up to the sign again. “The Dive, The bar you never heard of,” Zero read out loud. Sounding rather inquisitive Zero motioned toward the door. “I AM SO EXCITED FOR THIS PLACE,” I said.
Zero cautiously opened the door, popping his head in as if to see what he was getting himself into. “IDs please,” announced the bouncer sitting to the left by the first floor bar. After producing the required documentation we were faced with a choice, “Down here or upstairs?” Zero asked. I was no stranger to The Dive. “Pick your poison,” I said, smiling while waiting for him to make his move. Zero quickly glanced into the bar to the left. It was a long, narrow bar that stretched back the length of the building. A crowded bunch of older folks stared at the TV mounted high behind the bar. The first floor bar was more a watering hole for non accompanied guests to relish in their solitude while enjoying a beer. With a quick head tilt, Zero signaled toward the steep, yet narrow staircase.
We climbed them hastily toward the break in the stairs where the second floor was and headed immediately toward the bar. “Two Pabst please,” Zero asked charmingly of the barmaid. “$4 please,” she said returning a smile. I held my beer up to Zero issuing a toast, “Cheers! To being home and in good company.”
The room was pretty dark other than the Christmas colored light bulbs that glowed from the ever spinning ceiling fans. I looked at Zero, then back to the fans. I wondered if he was thinking about the layers of grime that no doubt caked the top of them too. “I dig this place, I’m just not sure I want to touch anything other than this beer,” Zero said matter of factly. I didn’t blame him, I knew exactly what he meant. There was a ‘not so invisible’ layer of something that covered just about every surface, including the walls. Graffiti, event posters and a wallpaper giant boob lined the strange, yet awesome, space. With this being one of the few bars in Philly that still allowed smoking, I was starting to think that the layer of invisible gunk somehow protected the walls from yellowing. “Care to explore?” I asked Zero. We departed the dark room and went further up the staircase.
We stopped by a thick metal door that read “PRIVATE OFFICE.” If you didn’t know better you would surely turn right back around. No sound could be heard from inside the fortress. “I’m not so sure I’m cool with seeing what’s behind door number 3,” Zero looked slightly nervous. “C’monnn! I promise you’ll enjoy it,” I smiled knowing I could coerce him in. I turned the cold handle and walked in. To Zero’s surprise, we entered a brightly lit game. Darts, pool and a game console were at our disposal. The room broke The Dive’s traditional stance on grime and low lighting. You might have been fooled to believe there was a fog machine with the amount of smoke that filled the tiny area. The immaculate room was brightly lit, while people laughed and played pool and darts. “This rooms too bright for me, let’s return to the metal and grime,” Zero said to me. With that we backed out the door to the bar.
“So this is The Dive, in all it’s glory. What do you think?” I asked while grabbing us another round of Pabst. Zero kicked backed in a chair and coolly took a sip of his beer. With a slight grin he nodded and said, “I like this place. Reminds me of a spot I used to hangout at all the time when I was younger.”
The dive was all about that laid back, hanging with your best buds feeling. No one bothered you, no one gave a shit about your name. All that mattered was being with your friends, and a nice cold beer on a Friday night.
The bottom line:
|Hours: 5 p.m. – 2 a.m.
Music: DJ | Background
|Price range: $
Accepts Credit Cards: No
|Dance floor: No
Outdoor area: No
Coat check: No
The place is called the dive for a reason. It’s dirty, smoke filled, and plays loud metal music. This is why it’s infallible and perfect. It’s the great escape, to lose yourself, but not lose hope in humanity. The eclectic crowd rocks out and everyone is surprisingly polite. Keep in mind, this isn’t a spot for everyone. The smoking aspect tends to drive some business away but if you’re a smoker or don’t mind, they offer a wide selection of beer at very affordable prices. Surely a great place to relax and kick back on a low key night.
947 E Passyunk Ave