Raising The Bar for Happy Hours

Place: The Bar
172 Giralda Ave., Coral Gables

Times: daily, 4-8 p.m.

Deals: $2.75 Domestic Bottles, $1 Off Draughts, $2 Off Pitchers, 2 For 1 Well cocktails. Two for one, 11 p.m. to 1 a.m.

Scene: Even white collar Coral Gables needs a legitimate dive bar and this no-frills place with the no-frills name delivers. It's where professionals go to let loose, get in fights or have "special meetings" in the bathroom with the opposite sex.

But The Bar--not to be confused with the watering hole in downtown whose name is an actual bar--is more just a place to drink with abandon. It has been open, though under different ownership and with different names, since 1946. You can feel an aura of history about the place. A stained glass homage to one of its former names, the Hofbrau, even remains perched over a door. The dark interior encourages reflection of drunken debauchery in year's past.

The Bar has a healthy selection of brews, both on tap and in bottles (go with Dale's Pale Ale for draft) and underrated bar food including Fish Fingers fried in beer batter. A relatively small interior is supplemented with bar tables out front and a larger seating area and the only alley hangout in all of the Gables. They also have DJs and live music throughout the week, but be prepared to yell your drink orders because the smallish interior can get noisy quick. Check the website for bands and schedules.

Conclusion: The Gables is packed with restaurants and bars that cater to the happy hour crowd, but there is a gaping hole when it comes to places where you can loosen your tie instead of straightening it. That's where The Bar comes in. But you know the Gables, even its dive bars are a little uppity.

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