Dark, sombre bars are hard to come by. The damp wood of a bar is replaced with sterile surfaces, hard on the head and elbows of a man in need of becoming one with stool, bar and booze. Solo self pity drinking is not being achieved as it should, hindered by peppy bar tenders, increasingly modern interiors, plasma screens, polished floors and attractive patrons.
But there is hope for those unhopeful wallowers to find a legitimate dive bar that has not been seduced by a market of trendy patrons.
Below is a short list of dive bars on Oxford St that have not been completely transformed, but still suffer from weekend crowds, so pick your night.
Gaslight Inn (278 Crown St, Darlinghurst NSW 2010)
Tucked away off Oxford St is this two story establishment. The lower of the two stories is preferable, as the bar is an island in the middle of the dank room with plenty of seating at the bar. If dark corners are more your style choose from the booth in the back or a side table. The bar service is fast with minimal conversation, once the first drink is ordered a grunt or nod would suffice. The wide bar has room for elbows and the television plays something mundane. If its stranger company you want then conversation can be forced or ignored by a motley collection of Oxford street eccentrics.
Part of the Exchange Hotel on Oxford St, this small bar appears to be modern and not appropriate for our needs, but closer inspection reveals a modern bar dragged to dive status. Square and low seats occupy the centre of the space, framed by higher stools with few facing out toward the street. Perfect for people watching and muttering. In the back are pokies and a smoking area for those not wanting to abandon their drink. Happy hour is good if you remember what time it is and the staff are non judgmental people of the night that have been in your shoes countless times before.
Brighton Bar (77 Oxford St, Darlinghurst NSW 2010)
Stay street level to appreciate this wedged watering hole, offering sanctuary and a jukebox. Get emotional to terrible tracks and hunker down at the few stools available and let the warmness of liquor twist the mind and churn the gut. Level out among a décor unchanged, comforting stained carpet and old paint. A pretty wench may throw you a smile and lift your spirits if your lucky, if your not, the night is yours to stumble through alone.