Snarky Bar Review: Dagwood’s Tavern

Server’s top three: Two-Hearted Ale, Two-Hearted Ale, Two-Hearted Ale
Wear: Flannel
Younger than: The Green Door
Not as hip as: Mac’s Bar
Overall verdict: Yes.

Dagwood’s Tavern and Grill is in an old firehouse (?) at the corner of Kalamazoo Street and US 127. It looks like a dirty neighborhood bar from a 1980s sitcom, but inside there are a surprising number of Buddy Holly glasses and skinny jeans. It’s where the smirking class go to convince themselves they’re working-class. Plus a few alcoholic insurance salesmen in late middle age. It’s that kind of a place.

Go on a Tuesday, when their folk-acoustic open mic starts at 10. That’s the real show.  Host Jen Sygit ably manages to always include just enough guys who sound like Neil Young trying to sound like Rage if Zack de la Rocha couldn’t carry a tune with a forklift (Actually, forklifts are kind of hard to operate. Hmm.) to make things interesting. About once a month the stage banter includes the word “snapper”, and no, he doesn’t mean the fish. It’s that kind of a place.

But apart from that 20%, the music is actually quite good, especially when Miss Sygit* takes the mic, as she does with about half the performers. (Pretty good gig, open-mic hosting is.)

Don’t expect good beer or service. On the night I was there, they rather miraculously had Keewenaw’s Widow Maker Black Ale in addition to ever-present Bell’s Two-Hearted Ale. I know this not because I actually drank Widow Maker, mind you; merely because I ordered it–thrice–and had Two-Hearted brought to the table instead, all three times. It’s that kind of a place.

Food is burgers and fried. Not “and fries”; “and fried”. Fried just-about-anything, which makes sense because the kitchen consists of about one square inch of rangetop and eighty-seven fry baskets. I’m sixty percent certain those cupcakes were deep-fried. Oh, and the burgers come wrapped in waxed paper, no plate, no basket, no silverware.

It’s that kind of a place.

* In the interest of full disclosure, I am favorably disposed toward Jen because she’s gorgeous. Also, this Tuesday was her birthday, so the kitchen made these obscene** gluten-free***, sour-cream-iced spicecake cupcakes, and I sat at a table with one of Jen’s friends so I got to eat two of the dozen. It’s that kind of a place.
** In the good way, of course.
*** I question the gluten-free credentials of any food that enters an establishment with so much breading-laden fry oil in the air, much less one cooked on the premises.  But that’s what I was told, anyway.