DiNic's Tavern

A South Philly joint with character -- and characters.

By Peter Woodall
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 10 | Posted Apr. 17, 2009

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At DiNic's, you'll find $1.50 glasses of Budweiser and somebody to tell you what might've been.

DiNic’s Tavern is part neighborhood tap room, part skid row dive, as if McGlinchey’s had been transplanted to South Philly and lost its art students along the way. It’s too busy to qualify as an old man bar, too rowdy and too racially mixed, with blacks and whites in nearly equal proportions.

The bar sits on the corner of Snyder Avenue and South Mole Street, and although it has plenty of regulars, its connection to the neighborhood is tenuous. There aren’t any notices posted for Catholic Church lotteries, or Beef and Beers, or trips to a Phillies game like you’d see in Fishtown or Two Street taverns. There are $1.50 glasses of Budweiser though, which is cheap enough to pay for with loose change, and some folks do.

The interior is neither old nor new nor especially dirty, just worn out. Cigarette smoke has turned the drop ceiling the color of Gulden’s mustard, and panels are missing in places, exposing the rafters and electrical wires.

“Smoke at your own risk,” says the hand-lettered sign above the jukebox, and nearly everyone does—Parliament Lights, GPC’s and USA Golds. Good health is already in short supply among this crowd anyway. Between the canes and the walkers and the overall level of physical infirmity, the place can look more like a doctor’s office than a bar. Patti the bartender has to remind guys to take their prescriptions. They swallow their pills with a beer chaser.

Sissy the morning bartender dispenses a tougher kind of love, especially when she’s hung over, as she was after a bender on Good Friday. To strangers she was merely surly; regulars she abused as if they were family. The recipient of her ire that Saturday morning was a grizzled black man wearing a U.S. Postal Service jacket who had pushed his empty drink toward her with a grunt.

“What the fuck are you saying?” she said.

The guy mumbled again and pushed his drink forward another inch.

“Whaddaya think, I read fucking sign language?”

The guy suddenly emerged from his stupor.

“You’re the barmaid, you should know what I want,” he said.

“I ain’t a barmaid. Barmaids make them…concoctions. All’s I do is pour drinks,” she said as she put down his glass.

He sucked it down and got up to leave.

“Guess it’s time to go,” he said.

“You’re goddamn right it’s time.”

“You always know when to kick me out, Sissy,” he said, as he walked toward the door.

Embellishing the truth is no crime in a bar, but it’s tough to make things up out of whole cloth among people you grew up with. Maybe that was why John was in DiNic’s—he said he didn’t go there often—and maybe that was why he was talking to me.

"Forty-nine fights and I never lost any teeth,” he said, pulling back his upper lip and pushing forward the top row of his choppers for inspection.

They did appear to be intact. In a bar like DiNic’s, a full set for a guy like John, who was probably in his mid-40s, was an accomplishment in its own right.

“Street or pro?” I asked.

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COMMENTS

Comments 1 - 10 of 10
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1. Anonymous said... on Apr 27, 2009 at 04:43PM

“I LOVE THIS BAR. BEST BAR IN SOUTH PHILLY”

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2. MARIE said... on Apr 27, 2009 at 04:53PM

“WHERE ELSE CAN YOU GET A TOP SHELF DRINK AND A BEER FOR UNDER $5.00, AND LISTEN TO GOOD MUSIC ON THE BEST JUKE BOX??? YOU GO DI NIC'S!!!!

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3. RICK said... on Apr 27, 2009 at 05:13PM

“THIS IS MY DAILY STOP FOR MY AFTER WORK DRINK. I WOULDN'T GO ANYWHERE ELSE. WHERE ELSE CAN YOU GET A GOOD LAUGH OR TWO. KEEP UP THE GOOD PRICES......NEVER A DULL MOMENT...”

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4. RICK said... on Apr 27, 2009 at 05:13PM

“THIS IS MY DAILY STOP FOR MY AFTER WORK DRINK. I WOULDN'T GO ANYWHERE ELSE. WHERE ELSE CAN YOU GET A GOOD LAUGH OR TWO. KEEP UP THE GOOD PRICES......NEVER A DULL MOMENT...”

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5. PATTY said... on Apr 27, 2009 at 05:20PM

“yes, i am the bartender and thats right i wouldn't work anywhere else. these customers are like my family. that's right, sometimes they need to be told what to do, but if we don't do it who will??? they need someone to make them have a laugh or too. we take care of our customers.”

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6. black jack said... on Apr 27, 2009 at 07:24PM

“i love this bar. this is my home away from home. they call me black jack because i drink jack daniels. and for the price you can't beat having more than one shot with your beer. i would't frequent any other bar. and to top it off you have karaoke on thursdays. thats a lot of fun”

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7. NEJeff said... on May 10, 2009 at 03:27PM

“Sounds like a thoroughly depressing place populated by standard issue South Philly barflys. Good thing the drinks are cheap. You'll neeed a lot of them to listen to "John" (aka Mike Tyson Lite) for an extended period of time.”

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8. NEJeff said... on May 10, 2009 at 03:27PM

“Sounds like a thoroughly depressing place populated by standard issue South Philly barflys. Good thing the drinks are cheap. You'll neeed a lot of them to listen to "John" (aka Mike Tyson Lite) for an extended period of time.”

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9. johnnyIrish said... on Aug 12, 2009 at 07:32AM

“This place is my 2nd.home”

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10. CHAD COLBY said... on Apr 13, 2013 at 08:15PM

“ONE WORD: VOMITORIUM”

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