Best Dive - 2004
A dive, by definition, is what it is. That's not much to go on, but Louie's fits the description. From the outside, the place is singularly uninviting: a gray blotch among other nondescript buildings. Parking--good luck. Pull up alongside a curb in the iffy neighborhood or block the sidewalk across the street. Louie's permits no outside light into the place, and the lamps barely illuminate anything beyond the table. No big deal: not much to look at but hodgepodge decorations stuck haphazardly on the walls. Pitchers of iced tea sit open on the bar, absorbing all kinds of incidental flavor. The place, however, draws a solid crowd. They churn out great pizza--arguably the best (if not for Fireside Pies) in the city. Even better, the bartenders shake up an outstanding martini, surprising for a dive. The crowd ranges from neighborhood folks to upscale people dressing down for the evening. Besides, no one said a dive had to be a miserable, salmonella-inducing experience. Louie's is just a good place to hang out for a while before contemplating that dangerous walk back to the car.