Best Dive - 2002
Geni-Lee's Saloon/Package Store
Über-regulars set this joint apart from your usual hole-in-the-wall. (That and the fact that the place doesn't have a phone.) The faithful patrons of Geni-Lee's perch upon their barstools like moss on gravestones. They aren't even aware that the drink prices -- $1.50 for a bottle of Budweiser or a rail drink -- hearken to a time of leisure suits and disco music. In a building with all the exterior charm of a meat locker, this rectangular cave is self-contained, offering a short-order grill that serves $2.25 burgers. The pool table, which is centered on the barroom floor, and dart board clinging to the wall offer a little distraction, but the real delight is circled 'round the bar. A Vietnam-era veteran with shoulder-length hair and balding pate regales his neighbors with pointers about evading jury duty. ("Tell 'em you got a weak bladder.") Perched beside them, an old woman whose flushed face has turned in on itself from decades of sucking cigarettes puffs yet another.