"It was a working man's bar," Meklas explains. When he died in 2004, Meklas' mother jumped in and ran the place until her own death in 2010. Then it fell to the daughters.

"We had offers, but it's my family's; it's our business," Meklas says, pausing to pull from her beer. "I like it. That's why I fought to keep it."

The Wayside has added some 21st-century bells and whistles. Flat-screen TVs are now mounted on the walls. The tap handles for Magic Hat and 312 now join Budweiser and Bud Light — to the grumbles of some regulars. The bar recently won a community redevelopment grant from the city that will pay for new paint, awnings, and windows in January. Otherwise, Meklas is pretty committed to keeping the status quo hammered in place. For now, that includes the dollar beers.

VFW Post 3559 is a longtime outpost of affordable drinking on South Beach, but — alas — it doesn't offer $1 draft beer. The Bud that bartender Debbie Brooks is offering goes for $2.25.
Jacob Katel
VFW Post 3559 is a longtime outpost of affordable drinking on South Beach, but — alas — it doesn't offer $1 draft beer. The Bud that bartender Debbie Brooks is offering goes for $2.25.
Like any good American dive, however, the VFW offers darts and photos of random people on the wall.
Jacob Katel
Like any good American dive, however, the VFW offers darts and photos of random people on the wall.

Finally, after weeks of watching barkeeps laugh off my Washingtons, here I've crossed the finish line. But honestly, I'm pretty beat from the mileage I've logged on the quest.

They say the more time you spend in dive bars, the more you start looking like someone who spends time in dive bars. Field Lesson Number Three: This is true. Cigarettes — you start smoking them, if only to have something to do. The skin on your face seems to hang off your skull more than usual. A sticky feeling settles between your fingers, impervious to all scrubbing. And you realize, after knocking off enough beers in enough bars, that this whole drinking lifestyle is slowly circling the drain.

I'm the youngest guy here — by around 20 years. That's how it's been at every dive I've crawled into. People just don't drink like they did. The cold one after work isn't routine; it's the exception.

Blame it on the tectonic shifts of The Way We Live Now. Bar culture is beelining away from cheap drinks to big-budget cocktails and craft brews. Younger generations prefer Molly and club beats. A cold funeral wind seems to blow off the dives still standing. These places, and the people inside — once they go, they're gone. Which is a real downer, because South Florida's dive-bar scene is about as unique a culture as the region's ever birthed.

I'm visited with a terrifying vision of the future: Eventually, marauding armies of steroid-bulky, real-estate-hungry Miami bros will sack places like the Lamp Light, the Deuce, Grady's. Russian Mafiosos will pave over the land for small foreign-car dealerships. The $12 Appletini will become an acceptable order. Any remaining of us working folk will be forced to drink Ice House alone at home, shut away like slave labor in Metropolis.

I imagine myself, 60 years hence, dandling towheaded great-grandkids on my knee, spinning tales of The Draft, musty dives, and a home away from home... and then the children turn and say: "But we want dollar drafts, Grandpappy. We want them too." And I'll weep.

But this wasn't the time to blow funeral taps for cheap drinking. It was the time to have another beer — while we can. As I order another, Meklas hints that the clock may be running out even on the Wayside's dollar-beer special.

"[The distributors] went up on the kegs, just in the last couple of weeks." But that holy dollar draft, she says, "we're trying to keep it."

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75 comments
Lynxx3
Lynxx3

Great story Kyle. 

danny_geee
danny_geee

Lol wow this was such an interesting read . I don't even like reading stories in the paper n shit but this was exceptional

barnyard2217
barnyard2217

You can't get a glass of panther piss for a $1 in S.Florida.

Aldo Malbec
Aldo Malbec

Gone to Puerto Rico. All day everyday!

Zalykha Maria
Zalykha Maria

Jorgie Chamorro I can't show my face there ever since I was accused of wearing a wig

Marco Zug
Marco Zug

Tall PBR at @lostwekeend miami beach

Jorgie Chamorro
Jorgie Chamorro

Zalykha Maria omg remember this bitch from Veterans!! lol

Andrew West
Andrew West

you can get 1dollar beers on old cheney highway in Orlando fl

Eddy Carballo
Eddy Carballo

A little bit of Philly in Miami Springs...$2 (14 oz) Drafts...AND the best Philly Cheesesteak in town.

Gonzalo del Barrio
Gonzalo del Barrio

Catch of the Day in Dolphin Mall has dollar domestics every day from 3pm-7pm

Luis Ricardo Lopez
Luis Ricardo Lopez

Is La Covacha still doing $1 beers on Fridays during happy hour?

Marco Ruiz
Marco Ruiz

When you find it be sure you let me know !

Stephanie Calzadilla
Stephanie Calzadilla

$1 beer and everything else on the menu at 100 Montaditos every Wednesday! All locations

Nick Bernal
Nick Bernal

Any American Legion post has $1.50 draft (yuengling, amber bock, bud/bud light, and miller) all day every day!

Turk Avnayim
Turk Avnayim

FTM Records ϟ Studios has Dollar Yuengling on Draft

Miguel Armenteros
Miguel Armenteros

Graziano's Market in the Gables, $1 draft beers 5-9pm Sunday - Thursday.

andycarr
andycarr

$1.25 drafts in the morning at Artie's, near Lamppost at 2218 North Federal Hwy. In Hollywood.

MuseTD
MuseTD

Good article. Colorfully written.

misterflorida2000
misterflorida2000

Yep, times are changing. When I was younger, people would do slum bar crawls and have private parties and drink case after case of this cheap watered down beer, get bloated and often gotten sick and many times they would throw up. Now people spend more money drinking stronger better beer and they are conservative and careful on what they drink, and they actually appreciate the beer that they do consume. 

Lynne Dear
Lynne Dear

$2 at the Turtle Crawl restaurant on Hollywood Beach.

Alison Alcantara
Alison Alcantara

Great read. I really felt like I was back in South Florida. My favorite was "No, bro. You should probably go home."

Meredith Eastman Argüelles
Meredith Eastman Argüelles

The drink$ in Miami are way too high! It should be considered price gouging to charge 6,7,8$ for a beer in this city!

Juan Arce
Juan Arce

Sportsgrill on birdroad and 117 avenue Robert Gow Courtney WeaverStance Mitchell

Shady King
Shady King

$1.00 beeer in Liberty city...all day !!!

Jenna Goode
Jenna Goode

Pegs pocket but it's only while you're playing pool. Doesn't hole in the wall have $1 beers?

barnyard2217
barnyard2217

Fuc Orlando, you get a knife in the heart by them illegals.

barnyard2217
barnyard2217

Bullshit, the road kill tastes like fuc'n wallpaper with cum sauce you dic heads call cheese whiz.

 
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