After a five year stint as a food and music writer at Houston Press, Brian McManus spent one year as that paper’s nightlife columnist. It almost killed him. Because, despite advice from sane people who loved him deeply, he insisted on venturing into the city’s most notoriously dangerous neighborhoods, and drinking in their most lawless hellholes. He arrived in Philadelphia six years ago with the same insatiable curiosity and undying penchant for drinking establishments that worried those close to him; the dive. Now, McManus has written Philadelphia’s Best Dive Bars: Drinking and Diving in the City of Brotherly Love, a definitive guide to the city’s best dive bars.
In it are stories of blue collar morning shift drinkers, proselytizing junkies, weepy drunks, cheery drunks, angry drunks and bathroom walls that have been spitefully smeared with feces. But what makes a bar a dive? On this night, McManus will explain through wild tales of his dive bar travels across Philadelphia’s storied neighborhoods. He might even have his act together enough to put on a slideshow.
Brian McManus is the music and food editor at Philadelphia Weekly. He’s written for Houston Press, San Francisco Weekly, Chicago Reader, Cleveland Scene, and Spin magazine. He is currently on the Board of Governors at P&P, but this book will no doubt change that.
April 6. 6:30-9pm. Pen & Pencil Club, 1522 Latimer St.. 215.731.9909. penandpencil.org
In the (according to friends, family and colleagues who’ve received advanced copies) excellent, informative and drop-dead hysterical Philadelphia’s Best Dive Bars: Drinking and Diving in the City of Brotherly Love, I ventured into every corner of our city and cozied up to more than 100 of the finest dives in search of a definitive answer to the question: What makes a dive bar a dive?