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Monday, November 4, 2013


A 93-page PDF to any donor who PayPal me at least $12! Seven-six bar photos, a drinking essay and seven drunk poems! Images of the best crappy bars from across the country...

I want to try something new here. I need your help to identify the best cheap bars across the country, so I've started a list that will be augmented as I remember more, and as your comments come in:

Allentown, PA: Freddie's--Super friendly place with a killer homemade chili or you can try the cheap sticks of cheese with some sort of meat.

Bethlehem, PA: Your Welcome Inn.

Camden, NJ: Off Broadway Lounge--Good place to chill. Just make sure you don't walk South, East or West after you're done.

Carbondale, IL: PK's. Local bands and pool tables. Joan Baez left some scribble in the ladies' room.

Cherry Hill. NJ: Red Eagle Tavern--Not great, but the only real bar left in town.

Chester, PA: Gold Room.

Cheyenne: Eagle's Nest.

Cleveland: Ontario Street Cafe.

El Cerrito, CA: Blue Moon Saloon.

El Paso: The Tap--$3 beer and $4 burrito.

Las Vegas: Dino's Bar or Frank's Tiki Lounge, as recommended by "Mad Jack."

Missoula--Charlie B's or Double Front--I hadn't started this blog when I was in Missoula for 4 months in 2008. How I wish I could return for a closer look.

New Harmony, IN: Yellow Tavern--Not cheap, exactly, but there aren't that many choices. Pig brain sandwich is worth a try.

Norristown, PA: Johnnie's--Don't leave your money on the bar, don't ask too many questions and don't take photos, and you should be able to walk out in one piece, with no visible bruises, gashes or bloody holes. Pickled sausage tastes like ammonia but at only $1, just eat it, OK?

North Charleston, SC: Lion's Den--$2 for a can of Bud. It's a dump, really, but check out the budda statues behind the bar. Indian owner is a world traveler and very interesting to talk to.

Oakland: Merchants Saloon--Gets you off hipster-infested Broadway, though many of the drinkers here are also hipsterish, but that's the new Oakland, a kind of Brooklyn to San Francisco's Manhattan.

Overland Park, KS: Red Balloon--Often a festive place, with people singing and dancing.

Philadelphia, Center City--Dirty Frank's. It's a block from the art school, so can be a bit pretentious, but still grungy. Bartender Sheila is a an angel who runs a great charity, Sunshine Arts. To save money, get a pitcher of Yuengling, which you can even keep on the bar if you sit in the corners. This place does get too loud in the evening.

Philadelphia, Frankford--Quinn's II Irish Pub--$2 for a pint of Rolling Rock. I heard Beastie Boys and Frank Zappa my one time there. Very friendly.

Philadelphia, Greys Ferry: Tasker Tavern--There is no sign and the building itself looks like shit, but just barge right in.

Philadelphia, Kensington: Jack's--$2 for a pint of Yuengling, $1.50 for a can of Schaefer, $1 for a hotdog and $3 for a cheesesteak. A very mixed bar and everyone friendly.

Philadelphia, Point Breeze: Scotty's--A bucket of Rolling Rock ponies is only about $6. There's a weird Obama shrine in the corner. Only black people drink here, but if you're not black, you won't feel out of place, since everyone is super friendly.

Philadelphia, South: Friendly Lounge--Cheap and friendly. Real schmucks drink here. Don's a great bartender.

San Francisco--21 Club--Right in the heart of the Tenderloin.

Steelton, PA: Jones Corner Bar or Blue Front Lounge--Jones is cheaper and has super cheap nightly food special, but Blue Front has blues on weekends.

Westmont, NJ: Tom Fischer's Tavern.


[Previews are not actual size. Photos in PDF are huge!]


* Thanks for a $25 donation from Toronto. Postcards from the End of America and Barflies PDFs have been sent!

* Thanks for a $12 donation from Brentwood Bay, British Columbia. Barflies PDF has been sent!

* Thanks for a $12 donation from Hillsborough Northern Ireland. Barflies PDF has been sent!


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About Me

Born in Vietnam in 1963, I came to the US in 1975, and have also lived in Italy, England and Germany. I'm the author of a non-fiction book, Postcards from the End of America (2017), two books of stories, Fake House (2000) and Blood and Soap (2004), six of poems, All Around What Empties Out (2003), American Tatts (2005), Borderless Bodies (2006), Jam Alerts (2007), Some Kind of Cheese Orgy (2009) and A Mere Rica (2017), and a novel, Love Like Hate (2010). I've been anthologized in Best American Poetry 2000, 2004, 2007, Great American Prose Poems from Poe to the Present, Postmodern American Poetry: a Norton Anthology (vol. 2) and Flash Fiction International: Very Short Stories From Around the World, etc. I'm also editor of Night, Again: Contemporary Fiction from Vietnam (1996) and The Deluge: New Vietnamese Poetry (2013). My writing has been translated into Italian, Spanish, French, Dutch, German, Portuguese, Japanese, Korean, Arabic, Icelandic and Finnish, and I've been invited to read in London, Cambridge, Brighton, Paris, Berlin, Leipzig, Halle, Reykjavik, Toronto, Singapore and all over the US. I've also published widely in Vietnamese.