The August 2010 issue of Playboy magazine described a dive bar as: “A church for down-and-outers and those who romanticize them, a rare place where high and low rub elbows—bums and poets, thieves and slumming celebrities. It’s a place that wears its history proudly.”
We at northforker.com agree with that sentiment. Here are a few “dive” bars on the North Fork that welcomed us on a recent crawl as they always do with open arms and cheap drinks. For that, we thank you.
Those who frequent Finnegan’s Wake agree there aren’t many bars quite like this left on Long Island. “There are restaurants with bars, but not places like this where you can just sit down and have a cheap drink,” loyal customer Jimmy Robideau of Jamesport said. No matter what day of the week, or almost any time of day, Finnegan’s welcomes all with drink specials, including $8 pitchers on Sundays, $1 draft beers on Wednesdays and its perpetual offer of $2.50 cans of Papst Blue Ribbon.
There are also two TVs, dartboards, pool tables and a jukebox for all you rockers out there. While you shouldn’t expect a gourmet meal, customers say the bartenders know exactly how to treat their hungry guests. “If you’re hammered and you want a pizza, you got it,” Mr. Robideau said. Granted it’s a frozen pizza, but it satisfies the munchies, he added.
Finnegan’s Wake is open Sunday through Thursday from 12 p.m. to 2 a.m., and Friday and Saturday from 12 p.m. to 4 a.m.
Owned by the same family as Finnegan’s, The Broken Down Valise offers a similar low-key vibe. Known for its cheap drinks and friendly staff, the bar epitomizes a local hangout with its decorations of assorted knick-knacks that are reminiscent of Southold Town and its people. One standout item is a reflective jacket that hangs from the ceiling—an homage to a town employee and loyal customer who once wore it, but has since passed away, bartender Joe Hartmann said.
“We are where the locals go,” Mr. Hartmann said. “It is almost like ‘Cheers’ in here.” Good for both causal daytime drinking or as the last stop on your late-night excursion, no matter where you’re from, the Valise will give you a sense of small town hospitality.
The Valise is open daily from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. (although it has been known to go later).
Sophie’s is legendary in Southold. You’d be hard pressed to find a North Fork native who does not have good memories of when Sophie herself owned the bar, including new owner Charlie Manwaring. “Growing up, you went there with your dad or grandpa to get pizza for your family and if Sophie wanted to make the pizza, she would. If she didn’t, she didn’t. That was Sophie. She was kind of stubborn that way,” he said.
For those who worry that Sophie’s will lose is storied charm, don’t. Both Mr. Manwaring and business partner Tommy Grattan have no plans on turning it into a commercialized cash cow. “We don’t want to change the theory of the place because it’s been here forever and local people like it,” Mr. Manwaring said. “We don’t want to mess it up. We’re just trying to bring it back to its original state. We’re not doing anything different. We’re just kind of repairing it to bring it back up to snuff.”
In additional to the company of friendly locals, Sophie’s sets the standard high with good food and, of course, drinks. It is open from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily.