The Dive Bomber: Aunt Rosalie and the Nuge at Black Derby Saloon


  • Robin Wheeler
In my months of writing the Dive Bomber, I've only had one instance (I know of) in which I've actively pissed off someone: an octogenarian bar owner who made some angry calls after my otherwise-glowing review of her tavern.

No, I'm not stupid enough to link to the piece in question. My editor had to deal with that "force of nature" once. I'd like to keep this job.

Since that incident, I've been wary of encountering this woman every time I visit a bar in South City. It might have happened last night at Black Derby Saloon. The woman tending bar had to be -- well, she was old. I'll leave it at that after my last scarring incident.

Don't doubt for one second that the saloon full of guys with steel-tipped darts would perforate you to death if you made any attempt to mess with this lady.

My brief time at Black Derby felt kinda like time spent at Great-Aunt Rosalie's house: powder blue walls, religious icons on the shelves, WWII in HD on the television, everyone silently watching 70-year-old gore in full color, Ted Nugent's "Wang Dang Sweet Poontang" blaring in the background.

Check that: It's exactly like a trip to Great-Aunt Rosalie's house, just with fewer yapping Yorkies.

I expected Black Derby to be a hipster dive, what with the car parked in front of me with the Flying Spaghetti Monster bumper sticker and the Nirvana song that was blasting when I entered the bar. It was about as hipster as Aunt Rosalie's house.

That's not a bad thing at all. I'll take cigarette smoke that can be smelled from outside, the social awkwardness of wondering if the kind old lady knows what the Nuge is wailing about and watching Hitler stories on the TV over hipness any day.

As I was leaving, two young men passed me on their way into the saloon. I hung around for a few minutes and watched as they walked in, turned around and walked out. Either they couldn't handle it, or they were looking for their great-aunt in the wrong bar.

Robin Wheeler writes the blog Poppy Mom and is a regular contributor to Gut Check. She also has a strange attraction to drinking establishments with jars of pickled -- or possibly fossilized -- eggs. She reports on these dives every Thursday.


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