Dear Jonny, Hometown Drinking?
I’m making my annual pilgrimage to Fayetteville for an extended new years weekend. While a bit more pedestrian than other recent columns, can you give us a rundown of a few solid watering holes in the greater Fayetteville metroplex (and those to avoid)? Anything new or recently improved? While i know everyone has their own tastes, I’m looking to avoid 18-year old dudes, substantial crowds, places that charge Tier 1 city prices, and on-duty strippers. Any thoughts would be much appreciated.
Well, your main focus will, of course, be on or near Dickson. That street is pretty fucking sad and ridiculous, man. Many of the bars/”clubs” pretend to have distinct, individual personalities, but in reality, after a few beers almost everything melts together into one simple, ugly blob. Most of the people I run into are either burnt-out, crazy, stupid, or all three. In fact, other than a few doormen, four or five bartenders, and the gentleman who peddles hotdogs from that little cart on the corner, I can’t think of any interesting, intelligent person on that street with whom I’ve shared a single noteworthy conversation. And the women are mostly well-scrubbed (at best) barstool whores, which can be fun under the right circumstances; but so can picking your nose. Once you get past that, there are a few – and I stress the word “few” – places you can go without wanting to make the females cry while punching the male patrons in the face. The closest you’ll get to a legitimate dive bar/hole in the wall is Tables and Ale, which must have the cheapest beer prices in the city. Mickey Finns has cool bartenders and good drink specials. The Green Room is a solid place to play pool, if that’s your thing (it isn’t mine). The Crown Pub is genuinely relaxed and imitates class well, but expect those Tier 1 city prices. Speakeasy has classy bathrooms/nice deck, and is to Dickson Street Theater what diamonds are to festering hog shit. I find the faux chic/hipster environment of the Smoke and Barrel to be extremely fucking frustrating and endlessly annoying, but many people swear by it. Though I haven’t been there in quite a while, for some reason I’ve always enjoyed drinking heavily at the bar in Wasabi; good sushi, reasonably priced drinks. Stir is a fine place to go if you want to watch a lot of little pond jackasses play big city dress up. I have a particularly strong hatred for the homey-but-not feel of J.R.’s. LIT seems all right, but I’ve only been there once, and I was out of my head. Brewski’s is worth revisiting, if only for the stellar beer selection. Everyone talks up George’s, but that place makes me want to elbow holes in the wall while spitting all over whatever bullshit local band is playing. The bar at Common Grounds is a very easygoing, neutral place in my book. Buster Belly’s depresses me. Jose’s makes excellent margaritas and shitty food. Kingfish is almost charming and worth a visit. The Piano Bar is so-so at best. Fix gets packed with far too many shitheel wankstas. And Grub’s – as well as many other unnamed places – are for drunken frat boy types. That’s about all I have to offer. There are, of course, other, newer, trendier establishments, but I try to avoid those at all costs. And paid parking is laughable (this isn’t fucking Dallas). If all else fails, you can always get tanked at the house, then hit Dickson to poke fun at all the goddamn simple-minded fuckos holding the “You’re headed to hell” sort of signs. Hey, dickheads, we’re already there. Grab a beer and shut the fuck up.