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By Door
Favorite Dive Bars and Diners: Part 7 of 9: 9/9/2022
© 2022 James LaFond
Baltimore City
#1. The Shamrock Pub on Harford Road, where I was still getting $2 bottles of Miller Lite this summer. The owner, Terry, runs it himself. He does cook a Thanksgiving dinner for the regulars and has some easy to prep bar food on hand. Much of Let the World Fend For Itself: Big Ron’s Baltimore, was written here.
#2. The Harford House has bottled and canned beer and take out singles and six packs for old men. The inside is dungeon dark and low of ceiling.
The rest of the bars remaining in the parts of Harm City I visit are either hipster holes or negro sheds. The bars in Hamden are tolerable watering holes with human patrons not yet dead.
#3. The only place I can afford to eat, and will eat, in Baltimore City is the Broadway Diner at Kane Street and Eastern Avenue, where Brett and The Man in The Hat bought me dinner back in June.
Baltimore County
#4 Essex Diner, on Eastern Avenue, on the left right as you cross over Back River, has a small menu for a diner, a small staff that is all American and good food.
#5 Between Eastern Avenue and Martin’s Boulevard in Middle River, where the sidewalk goes through the concrete tunnel under the train bridge are two bars back in that neighborhood, a large road house bar with rentals on the second floor and pool tables, and a small single story bar, which I prefer. Mescaline Franklin and I drank there with my Creep State contact, Tom in July 2020, just before he was reassigned.
#6. The Raven Inn, on Loch Raven Boulevard, a block south of Joppa Road, where my father Ted LaFond used to drink in the late 1960s, has parking in the potholed alley out back, better food than any diner, and is where some of Let the World Fend for itself was written. I did do a podcast or two from this location a few years ago.
#7. The Orchard Cafe, also known as the Esoteric Cafe, next to the defunct Carslon Gracie BJJ and Judo Academy off of Joppa Road has Persian food served by Jason, a fellow writer and an investigator into strange events. It is bring your own bottle. When I’m in Baltimore, I sometimes stay late and drink left over BYB that customers left and help Jason sweep the floor.
Harford County, Maryland
#8. Box Hill Pizzeria is where Doc Dread and I have dinner on an odd Tuesday in Spring and one in Summer. He likes the rock fish strips and crab cakes. I usually have meat balls and salad. The owner is a fight and pro wrestling fan and its a family business with good food and really attentive staff.
Lancaster County, Pennsylvania
This area has a few nice bar-restaurants that I have been taken to, but nothing that I have accessed myself or can recall by name. When in this area I am usually in transit and everything is confusion for me. Of the two best places, one closed and the other cut back its hours with The Vid.
I prefer to spend my time on Mister Grey’s back deck and Nero the Pict and Cutie Homesteader’s back patio, when visiting.
New Jersey, does have a strip club that I go to once a year, but I could never afford to do it with my money and the only thing they have to eat are the chocolate candies that the mute giant who hands you towels in the bathroom sells to the two black strippers, right next to the condoms and breath mints, over the stainless steel sink where you piss into ice. The place is next to a freight yard near Rahway. Again, While in G-String, New Jersey, I prefer to stay with Mister Saffrano and his Wife, Mary Biscotti, who run the best bar and grill I have been to.
Pittsburgh Pennsylvania
#9. Within walking distance of the train station, at The Point, overlooking the confluence of the Allegheny and Monangahela Rivers to make the Ohio, is some hotel, an ugly high rise box, with a nice micro-brew bar with bar food on the ground floor with outside seating. The staff here is always very nice and on occasion a fat man will play guitar and sing for tips.
#10. Jack Man’s is a backstreet bar below Lincoln Avenue in Bellavue, built on the side of a hill overlooking the Ohio River. The bar maids range from great to the worst the pale face has to offer, but the cooks, a skinny black guy and a big Latina are very good. The prices are the best I have encountered beyond Baltimore City and they have the coolest, creep, basement dungeon bathroom I have used.
#11. Lincoln Avenue Brewery, is run by a husband [brewer] and wife [manager] team and has excellent food and craft beer. The staff tends to really pretty because you are in Pittsburgh, but mostly consists of people who had never done this. During the Shamdemic they stayed open filling jugs of beer. The hipsters look at Rick and I like we are alien invaders and the bar tender treats us like garbage, but it is still fun in your old age to frighten the rich and beautiful by merely being polite.
#12. Across the Ohio River Bridge where the two homeless grifters with cardboard signs beg, one makes a right into McKeys Rocks and drives past the roadside Perogie Stand to the left 1.5 miles and ends up in a terrible depressed shithole Bantu area, with a nice biker bar with bottle beer and ham sandwiches and pool tables. It does not open until 4 or 5 PM and was being remodeled by a pack of rough looking men my age, when I walked in this August.
Train Bars
#13. The Amtrak cafe car, a small diner with coffee, beer, drinks and microwave food at the front end of the lower level has no food on Rick’s List. I did once get buffalo strips and soak them in mayo. The beers are $6-8 and the drinks $8-10. Coffee is a deal at $2.50. When I drink I usually choose Jack & diet Coke, because with the overpriced Jack you get a free diet coke that you can drink instead of coffee for the caffeine later.
#14. The Ticket Bar, at Chicago Union Station is on the upper level of the largest Amtrak hub. A good looking black-haired girl with a great personality serves beer and drinks, with pints of national brand beer at Portland prices, actually cheaper than normal Chicago, Seattle, Denver, Bay Area or Seattle prices. The large 25 ounce cans and some other take out items can be taken on the Amtrak train [save your receipt] which is a huge plus. You may also bring food from the eateries on this level of the train station and eat it while you drink. This was the best find I made by train.
#15. Hotel bars are generally great on service and high on price. The very best hotel bar, with great service and good prices, was at the Ramada Inn in Saint Louis, Missouri.
#16. The Family Grille [or griddle] on U.S. Route 40 in the Cofax area of Denver, is the best diner I have been to, nation wide, hands down, ugly waitresses and all
#17. The Oakley Diner is closed here in town, where there is no bar. Over in Park City, Dante went out of business a few years ago. The Mirror Lake Diner in Kamas is still open, featuring my favorite waitress, Shay, a beautiful Polynesian girl.
#18. Jodi’s Diner in Evenston, Wyoming, just on the edge of town stayed open through all of the Covid BS and has long served my favorite breakfasts brought by a great crew of older waitresses who make sure your coffee is full. Probably the worst thing hipster Coffee Houses did is condition young waitresses in regular diners not to refill coffee.
#19. My second favorite bar in the west is across the street from the Cauc-Asian Inn in Lovell, Wyoming, where Yeti Waters only failed to bag a prime night of companionship, because I declined to mate with her blonde wing girl, who was a certifiable psychobitch. This was in 2018 and can be read about on the Death of a Writer wordpress site. We drank Black Velvet whiskey and some cheep bottled beer. The people were nice. When Bob and I stopped there for a shot of whiskey with Adam Smith of the Myth 20 podcast the next day, the middle aged ladies looked at Adam and licked their lips!
#20. My favorite bar in the west is in Cooke City, Montana and I know not its name or if it is still there. I visited it with Shayne and Bob in September 2016 as it snowed and used it for the setting of Uprising, with Bob and Shayne as themselves and me as a thirsty Negro named Punk City Coon.
I do not think there are any bars in rural Missouri, just gas stations with poker machines. In the grocery store I found cases of beer for as low as $9.30 a 30 pack, For Keystone and Milwaukie’s Best, case beer that costs $21 in Baltimore and $30 in fully human habitation zones.
Okay, the places further west are few and far between and are places for me to use internet in war torn Portland, shack up with SaySay the Korean hooker who sees me for free [and I really don’t see me beating a Korean pimp in a fight at my age] and must remain on my private deep dive list.
Thank you, and take care.
By Alley
author's notebook
the year the world took the z-pill
on combat
son of a lesser god
songs of aryas
fiction anthology one
let the world fend for itself
book of nightmares
dark, distant futures
Robert     Apr 22, 2023

I love the Jackman and Lincoln Ave. Brewery.

I'm from the Northside of Pittsburgh but I dated a woman from Bellvue for about a year. The Jackman has some of the tastiest burgers I've ever had. It would have been cool to run into you there.
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