Copper Lounge


Bar:  Copper Lounge

Address:  1504 Central Ave SE

Someplace I read that Copper Lounge is a dive.  It certainly seems like it could be; It’s got that look from the outside.  It’s been there FOREVER, it has a nifty little package store attached that you have to exit and follow a starkly blank brick wall to find the side door  (provided you alert the bar tender to unlock the door for you, the package store doesn’t seem to have dedicated staffing so normally they just keep the door locked.)

Inside it’s cool, dark, and I scored $3 pint during happy hour.   The ceiling is low, although quite fancy.  And other things about this place are definitely non-dive.  The floor has an expensive treatment, that acid-washed concrete stuff.  The drains in the bathroom floor have mosaic tile sunbursts type around them.  There are pool tables, but the felt is a beautiful burnt orange color I’ve never seen on a pool table (“copper” colored, anyone?)

So how does it score on the dive bar scale?  Due to sloppy testing on our part we can’t be sure, but Copper scores anywhere between 4 and 7. I’m pretty sure this isn’t a dive.  I think this is… a lounge.  It feels “loungy”, like old school rat-pack days sort of loungy. Yes, I know it has “lounge” right in the name, I guess that should have given it away.

The Chart:

Cheap drinks $3 beer during happy hour
PBR I don’t know and blame Dave for not collecting this data.  What was he thinking, ordering a Fat Tire?  I think the ambiance affected his brain.
Floor irregularities Nope, floor was outright artistic
Dark Not only dark but a weighty, low ceiling
Bathroom deficiencies The bathroom was so nice it was sort of a shame to pee in there.
Forbidden Fru Fru Drinks I suspect plenty of Fru Fru available, it looks fully stocked.  I didn’t ask because I didn’t want to accidentally drink a fancy drink.  So this one’s on me.
Regulars Patrons were kind of subdued.  Didn’t notice anyone who acted like a regular.
Pool/darts Pool tables with copper colored felt
Quiet Plenty.  Odd assortment of music, from modern pop to Frank Sinatra, none of it too loud.
Questionable décor Giant multi-gallon sized empty liquor bottles lined the header above the bar and continued to the flanking walls. Think the kind of giant bottles found in duty-free shops.  While unusual looking items, not sure if it counts as “questionable”.  The other art on the walls was kind of classy – old style advertizing posters and classic art prints.






Bar:  Leo’s

Address:  1119 Candelaria Rd NW

Leo’s, Leo’s, Leo’s.   To be truthful we’ve been here a bunch of times already.  Everyone in town agrees this is a dive, so it better score at least a 7 or there’s something wrong with my system.   Although they are hurt by Dave’s arbitrary Pabst mania. That’s right, NO PBR.  The first time we visited Leo’s a friendly patron told us never fear, there were other places to get PBR.  But here at least drinks were $2 during happy hour.  All their well drinks, including their well tequila, which, by the way, is Patrón.  Effing Patrón.  We thought for sure he was pulling our leg.  Then he said ‘hell, you can have a Long Island for $2’.  Which was what he was drinking.

We haven’t tested the $2 Long Island, but we’ve since then ordered plenty of the $2 Patrón.  Dave questioned if it was really Patrón, because how would we know, not being tequila connoisseurs?   I can assure you it’s not got that drinking paint thinner experience that cheap tequilas seem to all have.  And they certainly go through enough Patrón if the “decorated with empty Patrón bottles” is any clue. Some industrious person even made a string of lights out of the things.

We sometimes find it a bit too loud in here for true dive atmosphere.  I was a little in fear of my dive scoring system when it looked like the  bathroom score would make it or break it.   Dave said there was no hot water in the men’s room, which technically counts as a deficiency, but turns out I didn’t need it.  When I sat down in my stall the seat ring slid half way off and almost dumped me on the floor.  I was pretty delighted by this until my bare arse came in contact with cold porcelain.  That’s normally something I try to avoid. Also, as I was leaving I took a gander at the sink I hadn’t used.  It had a large, ragged hole in it, like someone had got to it with a ball peen hammer.

BTW there’s a whole second half to Leos that we’ve never seen open.  I peered in there, looking for a pool table (nope).  There’s another bar in there, and the booths have curtains on them, like you’d see in old-style mobster movies or something.  And a couple of candy dispensers, the kind that sit on a post and kids put coins in.  What is this strange room?  Is it used during peak times?  We may never know.

So is it a dive?  Leo’s scores 7 out of 10 (good news for my scoring system).  It’s a Dive!

The Chart:

Cheap drinks $2 drinks, including well shots during happy hour
PBR Uh oh… no PBR
Floor irregularities Plenty (but the dance floor is NICE)
Dark Dark enough.  In fact I’m not sure it has windows
Bathroom deficiencies A couple of doozies
Forbidden Fru Fru Drinks Normally I ask but since their entire stock was easily visible and I could see nothing like chocolate liqueur or birthday cake flavored vodka I’d say we’re clear on this one.
Regulars Patrons were regular AND friendly.
Pool/darts Nope
Quiet It’s a little too loud
Questionable décor I doubt anyplace else has a string of lights made from Patrón bottles over the bar.