We love to talk about the crafted, well built side of the culinary world: fine dining, well balanced cocktails, and hand crafted beers. What we don’t discuss very often is the other side of the coin. The places where the food is comfortable, the shots are full, and the beer is cheap. Dive bars do not get the love that fine dining gets, and there is no good reason for it. There is a certain charm to loud and dimly lit places. You have some control of the music. They are a little more willing to serve one more (heavily poured) drink after last call. They have character, and there is nothing better for a drinking establishment to have than character.
The first of many Dive Bar Tuesdays happened at Miami Valley Sports Bar, a watering hole I remember from my days working at Jokers Comedy Cafe. It was a place we would periodically go to on a Sunday after work to unwind. There was virtual golf, pool tables as far as the eye could see, and some snacks to nibble on as we discussed the shift. It was smoky, and they had dart boards for metal tipped dart, not just electronic ones. If you ordered a shot of something, it was a double. I found that out the hard way the first time, but subsequent visits were not as painful the next morning. Good times were had by all into the wee hours of the morning.
Fast forward quite a few years to our visit. When we walked in the wooden trellis and candy machines were still there, as were the pool tables and game machines. It looked exactly as I remembered it from the last time I went. Even as I approached the bar with their variety of flavored whiskies and Skittles infused vodkas, all was familiar. Then I turned the corner and saw there were some huge changes. The space where the steel tipped dart boards and virtual golf had occupied was glowing purple with dozens of taps and bottles of liquor. There was a separate patio room with a few more pool tables and a kitchen. A kitchen I say! There was some serious remodeling of the building, and from chatting with some of the staff the changes had not stopped.
The taps are part of Tillie’s Tap Room, a little slice of craft beer heaven. They currently have thirty two taps, thirty one pouring craft brews and one with Abita Root Beer for the designated drivers and children who visit the bar. The prices are reasonable, and the list is organized by color and tap location, with Ohio-brewed beers indicated with a state shaped magnet. The glassware is not fancy, but it really does not need to be. The taps had some delightful liquid coming out of them, like Warped Wing’s Whiskey Rebellion, The Brew Kettle’s White Rajah, Lucky Star’s Wicked Step Mutha, and other Ohio favorites. Have no fear, it is not all craft. I saw a few people while I was there with the old standbys of Budweiser and Michelob Ultra.
Cocktails. They have cocktails! A wide variety of Mules, including the classic Moscow Mule, are available. Some of them came in collectable cups, some came in the proper copper mugs (which are NOT collectible), but all of them stuck to the original formula while adding some flavorful twists. My friends and I sampled the Hawaiian Mule and the Canadian Mule. The ginger beer had the right snap to it, but did not overshadow the rest of the flavors that were in the drink. We did not get to the rest of the cocktails that covered a few pages in the menu, but it looked like there was something there for everyone.
And did you know that Miami Valley Sports Bar had food? Not the nachos with questionable cheese sauce and popcorn that you might expect, but pizzas, wings and sandwiches as well? We tried the wings and the pizza and were pleased with both of the offerings. I am going to guess that the kitchen will keep expanding its menu, as it is only a few months old.
The food and drink offerings, as well as the large screen televisions on the walls and a few of the columns, make this a great place to watch the game of your choosing. For those in your party that are not sports fans, there are enough pool tables and dart boards to keep everyone entertained. They also have shuffleboard, air hockey, and skee ball. The air hockey alone is enough to tack on an extra star to the review, if giving stars was something I did with the reviews.
If you have not been to Miami Valley Sports Bar in any length of time, now would be a good time to revisit it. For those of you that are south of town, this is a great little bar that has something for everyone. It is just off of 75 if you live near downtown and want to make the ten minute drive and check it out for yourself. Head over on Tuesdays to take advantage of deals in Tillie’s Tap Room or have a few cocktails with friends. Just be careful with the shots. One thing they have not changed is the pours for the shots; they are still doubles.
My rating: 4.5 out of 5 shot glasses.