3207 Leavenworth Street
|April 2011. The first “Spring Stumble”|
|Looks like a dive|
The Bar: I took a seat toward the end of the bar on a barstool so lopsided that I might have had an easier time riding a bull when I was drunk. Yet, it didn’t bother me in the least. In fact, when I’m in a bar like Bud’s, I think that I’d be disappointed if the stool wasn’t a bit wobbly.
|Who needs a trim?|
The Crowd: I got there around 10:00 am on a Friday and there were already at least 10 (or so) people in the bar, all dudes. I tried striking up a conversation with a few people to my left and was, literally, given the cold shoulder. One guy that sat down to my right helped play along guessing the prices on The Price is Right with me. Ultimately, we ended up placing bets on “The Rat Race Game”, not one that I’ve ever seen in the Price is Right before. Oh, and Drew Carey sucks as the host.
|The cold shoulder!|
Service: I never did get his name, but I’m pretty sure it was Tom Olson working behind the bar the morning I was there. If there’s a reason to hang out here for a bit, other than dirt cheap prices, it’s Tom’s welcoming personality. Now, we didn’t really talk about all that much, he was busy talking with a few people that I assume are in there on a daily basis.
And even though the regulars don’t really make you feel all that welcome, Tom gave off a vibe that it was more than cool with him if I just hung out there all day. Not once did my glass get close to empty, so thanks Tom, that was first class service you were handing out, even to the new guy.
Prices: I was paying $1.25 for 10 ounce draw. Some of the other prices that I saw for domestic beer was $1.60 pints, $3.25 mini-pitchers and $5.50 for “large” pitchers. I didn’t get the prices of anything else. Normally, by this point I would have struck up a conversation with someone to pry a little bit about the overall prices of drinks. Clearly that wasn’t going to happen on this day, so from best I can tell, be ready for your drinking money to last you a lot longer than usual when you’re here.
Food: Some of the best fra gras I have ever had! That’s a lie for two reasons…one I don’t know what “fra gras” is, I just saw it on the news. And two…they don’t have food here. But someone must have quite the sweet tooth because I counted more than 12 different kinds of chocolate bars right next to the collection of hot cashews and “fancy” nuts (giggle).
Entertainment: Well, if betting on Price is Right with a stranger isn’t stimulating enough for you…there’s a jukebox, pool table, gumball machine and a pay phone that has a three minute limit on it. Plan your booty calls accordingly, gents.
|There’s a door back here too|
Restrooms: I can only comment on what I saw…and they weren’t all that bad. Seriously. Now, decades of bad aim around the floor of the urinal has begun to show a bit, but for the record, I have been in WAY worse men’s rooms that this one at bars that are much newer. Met can’t aim, wood gets stained. Not much else to say on this one.
Bartender Chat: Talk about hearing one of the most unexpected conversations I ever expected to eavesdrop on while I was in Bud Olson’s, Tom was giving a pretty detailed description of the, and I quote, “Vegan mushroom gravy” he had just made, or was making for someone. Show of hands…who would have guessed they talk about vegan food in Bud Olson’s…I’ll wait.
|Honestly, I’ve seen WAY worse|
How Far Did My $20 Go?: Well, I only had time for four beers, so I was out a whopping $5.25. I may have stayed longer to see if I could strike up a conversation with someone, but had to move on down the road to eat some pretty bad BBQ in Council Bluffs. Next time I’m here, I just might tie a pork chop around my neck to see if I at least can strike up a conversation with a stray dog that might happen by.
|Even that dude abandoned me|
Final Impressions: The techie nerds will get this reference “WYSIWYG”. Basically, what you see, is what you get. Bud Olson’s has been around a long time serving regulars that want to come in, hang out, and talk among themselves. Nothing to fault there. That’s the beauty of the difference between bars…no two are ever the same. In fairness to anyone affiliated with Bud’s, anytime anyone directly associated with the bar has written anything to me it has always been genuine and sincere…which is why I’ll continue to stop in here once in a while. Well, when I’m not staying “the hell out West”.
If you enjoy real, old-school dive bars, by all means stop by here and hang out for an afternoon. If you just want to go somewhere to say you’ve been in a dive bar before you hightail it back to a place like The Parliament Pub, good luck with that.
I’m going to refrain from giving Bud’s an actual score number, I’ll leave that up to you…the readers of HitThatDive…to do that for me in the comments section below. As I said at the beginning of this, and now at the end, Hit This Dive. But do it just every so cautiously around the regulars.