It’s March Madness -- for Lincoln Dive Bars.
To determine the best of the Capital City and environ dive drinkeries, we’ve divided 16 bars into four regions -- just like the NCAA does with college basketball. Over the next month, you’ll be whittling that bracket down narrowing the field first to eight, then four, then two before picking a champion.
So what is a dive bar? Well, to start with, it’s easier to define what it isn’t.
Got a wall of TVs showing NCAA Tournament games? That’s a sports bar, not a dive bar.
Got a flat screen where the old black-and-white that showed the Cassius Clay-Sonny Liston bout used to sit? It’s a dive bar.
Got a restaurant with a large menu with a “lounge” tucked away on the side? That won’t work.
And if there are bands most nights, especially touring groups from around the country, that’s probably not a dive bar.
If there’s jukebox cranking out the hits of the '70s and '80s, dive bar.
There are, indeed some entries on the list that are also restaurants, for example, the Tam O’Shanter, which is a Lincoln legend. And there are bars that have bands and open-mic nights -- with locals playing for their friends who are chugging down pitchers of beer -- which fits our dive bar definition.
So here’s how this will work.
Each Friday, the Dive Bar Bracket will appear in Ground Zero and online at JournalStar.com. You pick each “game” between the bars and cast your vote by noon on Monday.
We’ll tally the winners, fill out the bracket and repeat the picking/voting process until we’re down to a champion, which will be right around the time basketball crowns its next college champion.
Along the way, we’ll do some features on some of the winners to determine why they’re among Lincoln’s best dive bars.
Show your loyalty because everyone has a favorite watering hole. To steal a famous lyric, it's that place where everybody knows your name.