We love to get excited about things becoming bigger and better. We watch the places that follow all the trends, trying desperately to either keep up with them or get ahead of what they are doing. More craft beers, larger cocktail menus, more and more food options. All of it in the name of trying to attract more customers. That may be the expected thing to do when you own a bar or restaurant, but it is not always the right thing. Occasionally the right thing is to be the solid rock in a sea of changing tastes. Sure Shots has been following this path for as long as I have been stopping in, and they must be doing something right. Approaching the bar from the outside, you can tell this is a no frills place where people just come for a good time and a cold beer.
The first thing that is going to strike you when you open the door to Sure Shots is a whiff of cigarette smoke. As long as it has been since the smoking ban settled on the state of Ohio, there are still bars out there where that oddly comforting aroma still lingers. The second thing that struck me is the lack of light. This is a bar where, once you are in, hours can fly by and you would not know it. The main source of lighting was focused on the pool tables and dart boards, and a few large television screens around the perimeter. There is also a nice selection of music on the juke box, and the soft glow of a Jägermeister machine and a drink mixing machine preparing Apple Pie Shots for the unsuspecting masses. A few portions of the wall are also well lit that show off their community outreach by supporting local teams, or dart and pool league champions.
Sure Shots is a nuts-and-bolts bar. Minus the Jaeger machine, nothing is on tap, all the beer is by the can or bottle. They like to support locals in their drink selection when they can, offering Warped Wing favorites behind the bar and some Belle of Dayton for all your vodka sipping needs. They carry a few nice liquor choices, like Hennessy and Johnny Walker Black, but there are no rarities or odd flavors that beg to try something new. The Everclear may give you a few dirty looks, but that is really what Everclear does. Every night there is a different drink special, from $5 Root Beer Floats on Mondays to $3.50 Caramel Apples on Wednesday and Saturday. The food menu, like the bar, is also no frills. Come on in for a pizza or a soft pretzel, but that is all you are going to be able to find. That being said, is there anything better to soak up drinks like pizza and pretzels? No, no there isn’t.
The best part of every place we visit are the surprises. Are you a third shift worker? You can swing by Sue Shots when you get off of your shift, since they are one of the few local bars that are open at 5:30 AM. In the area early on a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday morning? You can enjoy a little breakfast while you are there. Eggs, bacon, biscuits, gravy, all of the basics one would expect for a morning meal. This is also the official Home of the Apple Pie Shot. It has an impact similar to a Bad Juan; you do not feel it at first, but it is something that packs a punch. Apples and rum pair very well together, but one would think that 151 would make its presence more known than it does. Slide in a little of that shifty Everclear, and you have a shot that will definitely grabs your attention.
Many of my friends have stumbled out of this bar in the wee hours of the morning after a long night at work. Every time I have been there the atmosphere has been cheerful, if not fairly boisterous from time to time. There is always a pool game in the corner, and the bar staff is hustling hard to make sure beers everyone has a drink and is having a great time. What more do you want from a local watering hole? Cheers!
Sure Shots is located at 3121 E Dorothy Ln, Dayton, OH 45420. They are open daily from 5:30 AM to 2:30 AM. You can like them on their Facebook page to stay up to date on their specials and other events.