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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“My mother, god rest her soul, talked me out of going into the ring,” he said. “I was like a young Mike Tyson. One, two, three and I knocked them out.”

John was about three inches shorter than Tyson, and a whole lot whiter, but maybe he’d been good at hitting people once. He was bull-necked, and though he’d gone to fat there was still muscle beneath the tallow. He wore gold rings on both pinkies, one with little diamonds, the other with a cross embossed on the front, and a gold chain around his neck.

“I coulda been somebody,” he said. There was no irony in his voice. I waited a beat for him to say he “coulda been a contender,” like Marlon Brando’s character Terry Malloy in On the Waterfront, but he didn’t, and his delusions of grandeur went far deeper than that.

“I could fight like Tyson, sing like Sinatra, and I’m an artist. I see something once and I can draw it,” John said, warming to his own words.

Elvis Presley came on the jukebox singing “Love Me Tender,” and John turned to a woman named Naomi and began to sing along.

“Love me tender, love me true…”

John didn’t sound like Elvis, nor did he sound like Sinatra singing Elvis. He couldn’t sing at all, really, but that didn’t stop him, at least not right away.

“All my dreams fulfilled. And my darling, I love you and…I’m singing into this beer bottle.”

With that, something closer to the truth started to spill out of him.

“Now I’m sitting here in this bar. I used to be a success. I used to have a business. Then I went away for three years to Graterford prison. My brother, he’s made millions. He’s got trash trucks.”

“Women did this to me. Women destroyed my life. Three women and they took everything. But I’m going to put it all back together.”

His story finished, John started talking to someone else.

“I got gold on my fingers,” he said.

“You got lint,” someone yelled.

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Peter Woodall sacrifices his liver, and potentially his nose as he ventures into Philly's drinking establishments. A bartender and West Philly native, he has worked as a newspaper reporter for the Sacramento Bee and Biloxi Sun Herald. Got a tip on a colorful taproom? Email him at petewoodall@gmail.com.

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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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