What makes SoCo neighborhood bars such a big deal is that there are a few huge high schools in the area -- which all but guarantees you'll run into a long-lost someone whenever you go out for a drink. Plus, if you were raised in south county, the odds strongly suggest that your folks are still living there, too -- which makes having a bar nearby all the more imperative, given the requisite trips to your childhood home for Christmas and other mandatory gatherings. Dulany's always has a good mix of people -- blue- and white-collar types peacefully coexisting with twentysomethings en route to family dinner night. The music and TV are never too loud, the Golden Tee never too crowded, the tab never too high. The staffers engage in swirls of conversation with several patrons at once -- vacations, work, the accusatory "Where you been?" spiel, all of it. In the same breath, one waitress correctly remembers that the little guy who's in with his mom and dad will have the spaghetti and the older gentleman sitting at the bar will have a bottle of Busch and a shot of tomato juice on the side. It doesn't take long to become a regular here. Even if you were born someplace exotic (like west county).
Readers' Choice: The Dam