The long pour: Central Arkansas bar guide 

Ah, whiskey! Ah, beer! Ah, wine! Sweet nectar of dreams! Untangler of shy tongues and loosener of bodices! Is there any human interaction you can't make more interesting, exciting, engaging or reckless? And no, we're not just talking about the times things go right, so save your scolding, ye teetotalers. We're old enough to know when to say when. Everything in moderation. Friends don't let friends (or friends-of-friends) do anything stupid while tanked up.

While there are those out there who are well within their rights to hate Demon Rum, it should kinda go without saying that we here at the Arkansas Times tend to be fans. For one thing: we're reporters, a profession well known for our propensity for hollow-leggedness. For another: a sizeable chunk of the best moments of our lives are directly attributable to our Ol' Pal Al in one way or another, from pregnancies to parties to marriage proposals to heart-to-heart talks that we could have never had without the help of Liquid Courage. For a lot of you reading this, it's likely that way as well. As for the rest of you: more beer for us!

This week, we raise a glass to raising a glass with our annual Arkansas Times Bar Guide. Whether you like your drinks in the dark-and-cool or the sweaty-and-loud, there's someplace here to fill your schooner, stein, shot glass, snifter, goblet, tumbler, pitcher and/or schooner.

And because this paper doesn't easily cram into your back pocket, we've made all the info below on happy hours and specials available in our FREE bar app, Cocktail Compass, newly redesigned and available for Android. Find it at arktimes.com/cocktailcompass or by searching for "Cocktail Compass" in the app store.

DIVES WE LOVE

MIDTOWN Why do we go to Midtown? Why do we wait in line to get in, to fight through the bottlenecked throngs to get a drink; to stand in line to pee; to wade through the dancers who lost rhythm around the time they found the urge to dance; to dodge a pool stick, always jabbing the crowd no matter how tightly it envelops the pool tables; to order a hamburger; to eat the hamburger in exactly four bites, to follow the tide of crowd to and from the bar until the sun is threatening to come up? Because we don't want to go home. Because it's the rare ritual that at least on an annual basis those of us who drink and can still make it past the evening news take part in regardless of age, race or class. Also, those burgers really are good. 1316 Main St. 372-9990. midtownar.com. Full bar. 3 p.m.-5 a.m. daily. Happy hour: 3-8 p.m. daily.

PIZZA D'ACTION Some bars, for whatever reason, become a kind of community center, equal parts meeting house, debate room, dance hall, hook-up spot, hangout and heathen church. The beloved, crusty dive known as Pizza D's has surely reached that status. The firing of a much-respected bartender and two other long-time hands late last year made for some friction between management and customers, including an apparently-still-ongoing boycott that gives us an Excedrin 3 headache every time we hear about it. The bartender is back now, though, and Pizza D is mostly what it always has been: a neighborhood pub with a loyal clientele, cheap drinks, an outdoor patio, pool, ping pong, darts, a full menu (including a new slate of appetizing-sounding plate lunch items weekdays) and tons of quirky, nicotine-stained personality. It's a bar, folks. Don't take it all so seriously. 2919 W. Markham St. 666-5403. pizzadaction.net. Full bar. 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Mon.-Fri., 11 a.m.-1 a.m. Sat., 11 a.m.-midnight Sun. Happy hour: 4-8 p.m. Mon.-Fri.

WHITE WATER TAVERN The Times has probably devoted as many column inches to rhapsodizing about the White Water Tavern as it has to lambasting Mike Huckabee. OK, that's an exaggeration, but regardless, we love this place and we've never been bashful about it. As has been pointed out many times before, it is not going to win any beauty contests or awards for best selection of obscure single-malt scotches, but it's got more character, a richer history and better decor than just about anywhere else in Central Arkansas. Cheap pitchers and great live music don't hurt either. Full bar. 2500 W. 7th St. 375-8400. whitewatertavern.com. 2 p.m.-2 a.m. Mon.-Fri., 5 p.m.-1 a.m. Sat. Happy hour: 4-7 p.m. Mon-Sat.

W.T. BUBBA'S COUNTRY TAVERN The great thing about W.T. Bubba's Country Tavern's decor is that anything goes. So when you walk in and see screwdrivers and drills lying on the truck beds that line the bar's north wall, well, they just look like they ought to be there. Just like the small V.I.P. lounge, which happens to be a little travel trailer plopped off to one side of the bar and fitted with seats and a small table and a view of the stage, just right for some private PBR time, or maybe PBR and a shot. As it turns out, the drill and screwdriver were in use, by workmen installing floodlights for the stage, and not a prop, and it also turns out that you can enjoy your evening lolling on one of the truck beds and not have to go to the bar, because they'll fill the truck's big aluminum tool box with ice and beer. We took a seat in a booth that looked like it had just been thrown together with plywood (and surely was), and ordered up some fried pickles and fried bologna and a burger and fries and a barbecue sandwich. (You don't really need to know what a Pabst tastes like, do you? It's stylish these days, but it's still Pabst.) So about the food: W.T. Bubba's (the owner says the W.T. is for "Wilford Theodore," contradicting the manager's translation, "White Trash") is a bar and music hall and the food is not the main concern right now. That's too bad, because the ambiance here is pretty swell. In back of the VIP trailer is the "back yard," with comfy furniture; the whole shebang can be rented for $100. The chain link fence that defines a dining area around the bar is pretty nifty. The dance floor is new and shiny. There's country karaoke on Wednesdays and beer ball in the back, plus another game of dubious legality that you can win money playing. There's a patio with cafe tables and bar stools that gives you a view of Riverfront Park and Riverfest Amphitheatre. You've got the opportunity to buy a Bubba's T-shirt. And the manager swears by the homemade moon pies. If they can put a little more love put into the food, and get AT&T to install a phone, Bubba's could live a long life. 500 President Clinton Ave. (in the Museum Center basement). 244-2528 (but it doesn't work). On Facebook. Full bar. 11 a.m.-midnight Sun.-Tue., 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Wed.-Fri., 11 a.m.-1 a.m. Sat. Happy hour: 4-7 p.m. Mon.-Fri.

ALSO

SPECTATORS GRILL AND PUB A no-frills sports bar in Levy, with shuffleboard, pool and darts if you're the kind who likes your beer with a side of diversion. 1012 W. 34th St., NLR. 791-0990. spectatorsgrillandpub.com Full bar. 11 a.m.-midnight Mon.-Wed., 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Thu.-Fri., 11 a.m-1 a.m. Sat. Happy hour: 4-6:30 p.m. Mon.-Fri. plus all day Sat.

Speaking of...

  • Lulav: phoneless but in business

    August 21, 2014
    Now 'modern,' its menu appeals to any pocketbook. /more/
  • Late Night Dispatches from Midtown, Electric Cowboy and Elevations

    August 19, 2014
    For this week’s cover story, three of us from the Times took a post-2 a.m. tour of Midtown, Electric Cowboy and Elevations to get some pictures and shout questions at strangers over the music. Fortunately, it’s easier to cold-start a conversation with someone when they’ve had 3 or 4 (or 9 or 10) drinks inside them. Unfortunately, although the willingness-to-talk curve goes up relative to the amount of alcohol consumed, the coherence-of-conversation curve moves in the opposite direction. Here are a few outtakes from a mostly sober night of inviting drunks to rant about city politics. /more/
  • Seven reasons why closing late-night clubs early is a bad idea for Little Rock

    August 12, 2014
    An ordinance being considered by the City Board would close the city's 5 a.m. clubs at 2 a.m. Here's why that's bad policy for Little Rock. /more/
  • Matt White's 'Portraits in a bar'

    August 6, 2014
    Candid shots from White Water Tavern. /more/
  • Little Rock's nannies target clubbing

    July 31, 2014
    Some shift workers don't knock off work until 11 p.m. A night of fun that ends at 11 p.m. for someone who had a 5 p.m. quitting time would end at 5 a.m. for the shift worker who gets off at 11 p.m. Entertainment in those hours, after Waffle House and EZ Mart, is limited. And it will soon be more limited if some city directors have their way. /more/
  • New Juanita's owners promise bigger, better concerts

    July 29, 2014
    Juanita’s, the venerable Tex-Mex restaurant and live music venue, has new owners. Four years after they purchased the restaurant and club, Joe Cates and Jim O’Brien have sold it to Erin Hurley, Trey Jordan, Reed Lewallen, Bill Puckett and James Snyder. The new group takes ownership of the space at 614 President Clinton Ave. Aug. 1. Upgrading the type of concerts the club hosts is one of the new group’s top priorities, according to Lewallen. /more/
  • Little Rock Board moves to limit late-night club hours

    July 28, 2014
    Sources report movement toward a 2 a.m. closing ordinance for Little Rock private clubs, perhaps with a 3 a.m. closing two nights a week. /more/
  • A Q&A with Jason Wiest, the new host of KABF's 'Big Gay Radio Show'

    July 15, 2014
    Jason Wiest was announced on June 23rd as the new host of KABF’s “Big Gay Radio Show,” which is the state’s only LBGT-specific programming. Weist is a man of many hats: his nine to five hustle is as Governor Beebe’s speechwriter, but on Friday nights you can find him at Sway, the downtown gay club he owns and operates (perhaps you recall his cameo in the recent feature on the House of Avalon). /more/
  • Bar Louie goes broad

    June 19, 2014
    But largely succeeds. /more/
  • Ginsu Wives to release new EP in pill bottle form

    June 11, 2014
    Locals Ginsu Wives, who we noted in this week's paper will almost definitely give you nightmares, are playing a record release show on Saturday June 14 at White Water Tavern, and here's one more reason you should go: The EP, titled "Panic," will come in the form of a prescription bottle containing a pill-shaped USB flash drive that includes the EP in three formats, music videos for each track and other stuff. Check out the infomercial above. The album will be available online July 1 at Thick Syrup Records. /more/
  • More »

Related Locations

Comments (4)

Showing 1-4 of 4

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-4 of 4

Add a comment

People who saved…

Readers also liked…

Most Shared

Latest in Cover Stories

Event Calendar

« »

August

S M T W T F S
  1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
31  

Most Viewed

  • Visionary Arkansans 2014

    They make an impact in science, arts, social justice.
  • Homicide Diary: Sgt. Willie Davis

    'We're not talking, we're shooting'
  • Randy Alexander wants to tell you a story about a young man who thought he was a dog

    Also, Mark Pryor owns up to voting for something that rhymes with Rowbomacare, Mark Darr is a deadbeat, Harrison struggles with African geography and Arkansas health care gets a boost.
  • Aging well

    The Observer's father developed a dairy allergy toward the end of his high school years, the product of a bona fide milkoholism Yours Truly duly inherited. Our affection for the 2 percent runs as deep as the wellspring of chocolate syrup we've preserved in The Observatory's refrigerator door for so many-odd years. You might then sympathize with our frustration (and our nausea) when, one recent night, we pulled out the gallon jug and encountered a mostly liquid solution. Hard to believe that stomach-turning goop is the stuff delicious cheese is made from.
  • Remembering Howard Baker

    Howard Baker died in late June. The former Tennessee senator was one of the last moderate conservatives in the Republican Party.

Most Recent Comments

 

© 2014 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation