The bar: Del’s Tavern
The breakdown: When the former Del Denby’s recently renovated its interiors, imported an antique bar and overhauled its storefront, one would be reasonable to assume the cherished Hertel Avenue tavern is looking to shed its historic dive bar designation. But the term “dive” can be a term of endearment—and Del’s is still plenty endearing.
Friendly locals on its barstools. Allman Brothers out its speakers. A relaxed, come-as-you-are vibe teamed with beer and cocktail prices going the way of the woolly mammoth. Del’s may be a little cleaner than its previous iteration, but it’s no less the embodiment of the ever-disappearing utilitarian tavern.
The beer: Big Ditch Hayburner
The breakdown: Did the locale’s former version have a vast array of grapefruit-tinged IPAs for those who wanted to discuss mouth-feel or composition complexity? No — and they still don’t. But they do offer Big Ditch’s locally brewed signature model.
Manageable by competing IPA standards (at 7.0 percent ABV), the beer’s enjoyable bitterness dances with its quenching citrus hints to offer a refreshing pint while you’re planted amid the neighborhood-based revelry of the new hip-sounding Del’s.
“I see you rolled your way into the semis”: No, there’s not a full bowling alley tucked inside the clandestine confines of Del’s. But with its vintage Triple Strike shuffle bowl-hosting arcade game cornered in a side alcove, patrons can order pints, then proceed to challenge friends per game — and on how many quotes from “The Big Lebowski” each can rattle off before the next round.
Instagram op: Not many bars offer the privacy of a replicated British phone booth for those eager to sneak calls between chilled shots of Crown Royal Regal Apple. Fewer offer the same with its name’s first letter featured inside via a wall-size mural made completely of bottle caps. Find it, snap a photo and slap it on the Interwebs.
When to go: Open seven days a week during usual bar hours. Stop by for a few after-work drafts; friendly conversation inside a classic neighborhood tavern setting; or to simply sip a double bourbon, stare out Del’s back door and prepare for its expansive seasonal patio to reopen.
Info: Del's, 1553 Hertel Ave., 837-5360.