Large, well-maintained bathrooms: There is more than one toilet/urinal. There are doors on the stalls and those doors have functional locks. Most likely the toilets haven’t been puked in and if they have, it has been cleaned up. In the men’s bathroom, there is digital urinal advertising.
People unintentionally dressed like hipsters: People have bad beards and mustaches, tight jeans that don’t make it down to their shoes, flannel shirts, fucked up hair…except they aren’t ironically going for this “look.” This is the way they’ve been dressing for the past 20 years. Fashion has just somehow arrived back at this point, making them—“stylish.”
There are as many people texting/looking at their phones as there are talking to each other: People are too busy checking in on Foursquare and tweeting about how drunk they are or about to get to actually interact with each other. Parents are texting to check in on their kids’ babysitter.
40+ year-olds are on the prowl and they don’t care how much younger you are than them: 40+ year-olds who are having a big night on the town will harass and hit on you. The fact that they could be your mom or dad doesn’t seem to bother them. They’re drunk and divorced and spitting the worst game you could imagine just because you happen to be in front of them.
The menu is the same as every other suburban bar you’ve ever been in: Boneless buffalo wings, spinach-artichoke dip, oversized nachos, waffle fries, cheeseburgers (one with cheddar cheese, bacon, and bbq sauce; one with pepperjack, jalapenos, and chipotle mayo; possibly a turkey or bison burger), a tough sirloin steak, and some sort of chocolate cake served with vanilla ice cream.
Top 40 music playing at the exact volume that forces you to raise your voice in order to hold a conversation: The top 40 playlist played at high volume is used as ambiance and to make you feel like you are not at a boring and more than half empty bar with no “vibe,” where you only know the people you came with, and where most of the other people there are considerably older than you and are drinking in a scary and not at all fun way.
The beers on tap are Bud Light/Budweiser, Coors Light, Miller Lite, Mich Golden Light, Leinie’s Honeyweiss, one local (wither Summit EPA or Surly Furious/Bender) and one import (Guiness): If you’re after a domestic, light beer flight, then you’re at the right place. If you’re feeling adventurous you could possibly even score yourself a bottle of imported beer, a Corona, Heineken, Newcastle, or Amstel Light, maybe even a Red Stripe.
They don’t serve canned beer: No PBR tall boys, we’re not in NE Minneapolis here.
Drinks are not served in plastic cups: Fights and the need for police assistance due to belligerence are not often a problem, so the bar can afford (both financially and liability-wise) to serve you your Jack and Coke in an actual glass.
– Dan Fleischhacker, having grown up in Roseville, has spent way too much of his “bar time” in suburban bars.