March 15, 2012
As a newcomer to the Greenwood hood, I’ve started exploring my surroundings and though I’ve only just scratched the surface, I think I’ve already found my favorite fall back bar – Sweet Lou’s.
It’s that brand of dive bar that you can find a lot of places – neon beer signs in the window, pool table, jukebox, heavy food, and beer on tap. Every neighborhood needs a spot like this. A place where you can meet up with friends to watch the game, where groups are welcome even if they don’t arrive all at once, and where regulars banter back and forth with the bartender like friends.
Sweet Lou’s is that place for Greenwood and since it is off the main Greenwood Ave “strip,” it’s often overlooked and thus not as packed as better known watering holes, like Naked City. While not as busy, it’s not a deserted or library-esque place either.
When I stopped in last night, I arrived alone and sat myself in a booth to watch the MLS game between LA and Toronto on an enormous screen while I waited for my friends. Within two minutes I’d already been offered a drink not once, but twice by both of the women on staff. They were casual, but warm and welcoming. Once everyone showed up, we looked over the very decent tap list on the chalkboard and ordered a pitcher of Diamond Knot IPA, which I’d never tried before, but really liked.
While a lot of what I love about Sweet Lou’s is its perfect fit into my mold of “ideal dive bar,” there are a few things that make it stand out as special. One of them is the distinct barbeque aroma from the meats that they smoke in-house. This smell will demand that you order ribs or one of their pulled meat sandwiches even if you aren’t hungry. Fortunately, we brought our appetites since the portions, as you’d expect, were huge.
When our enormous pulled pork sandwich on a sturdy french roll with potato salad and a mountain of nachos covered with even more pulled pork arrived, I wasn’t sure we’d finish it. About 20 minutes later, though, our waitress came by and with some surprise found two empty places without so much as a chip or forkful of potato salad on them. “Whoah,” she said. “We killed it,” I declared and she laughed.
Following the food fest we ordered a pitcher of ESB for our second round and headed for the pool tables. We spent about four hours just hanging out. Throughout the staff was attentive, friendly, and conversational, but not overly inserting themselves into our good time. It was the perfect way to blow off steam on a Wednesday night.
Sweet Lou’s also has live blue grass music weekly and this Saturday they are having some Irish bands perform live for St. Paddy’s Day (no cover!). That will definitely bring in some more people from the neighborhood (one of which will definitely be me).