Bartenders have an unspoken oath: Don't talk poorly of bars where you don't work. It's unbecoming. Luckily, I've always thought that was a dumb rule. Corporate bars are garbage. Spending a half million dollars to create a "dive" bar is a joke. There are maybe 10 bars I like in Charleston. And I frequent less than that. One of those bars that I do frequent is The Recovery Room.
Other Charleston Grit blogger Hunter Gardner recently wrote a review of the Rec Room. And while mostly positive, it did have some negative things to say about the bar. Rec room owner Chris (Boston) and I had a beer last night at Local 616 and talked about it.
Our biggest disagreement with the article was calling The Recovery Room a "dive bar". All bars that aren't corporate behemoths aren't dive bars. Chris, Dwayne (Local 616), and Ken (The Upper Deck) have all taken issue with their bars being called "dive bars". Yes, they are local watering holes and neighborhood bars. Yes, all owners love the income that Thrillist, Eater.com, Charleston Grit, and Yelp reviews and articles bring them when tourists look for "dive bars" on Google. No, they don't like being lumped in with bars that are actually dive bars.
The other problem I had with the article is that he seemed to equate his Tinder dates with Rec Room. For one, Tinder is horrible. Tinder smells of despair and loneliness. If you think someone is attractive or interesting, you go up and talk them like a human. You don't swipe.
The Recovery Room is full of my ex-girlfriends and ex-crushes. Most of them I still like and they still like me. There are two that hang out there that I dread seeing and always hope that they have moved to Summerville or Hell or something and I never have to see them again. That's not the Recovery Room's fault though. That's my fault for ever being friends with blonde Satan and her demon minion (I clearly have issues).
Thankfully Charleston still has bars like The Upper Deck Tavern, Local 616, Moe's Crosstown, and The Recovery Room. These bars provide character and a sense of community. Without them the peninsula turns into one homogeneous refuge of khaki pants-wearing, boring ass people.
And the early 2000's rap songs played at each? The sing along songs are our scripture.