If a corner bar could be encapsulated in a vintage sign...
Maumee, Ohio, sits just southwest of Toledo, a classic Midwestern town that has invested in its Uptown district, a walking area breathing new life into a handful of historic buildings in the area. Dale’s Bar & Grill occupies one such building, the red brick structure pre-dating Dale’s already impressive 1920 opening date. Uptown’s river setting makes for an attractive destination, Dale’s among a handful of drinking options in the area (fellow Toledo dive bar Village Idiot among them).
The Dale’s Bar & Grill that exists today makes use of its extensive past without feeling dusty, a handful of renovations creating a more modern neighborhood pub vibe inside. The link to the past is certainly apparent in the style of the neon sign above the door, giving off a diner-like feel in its red neon atop a green background. The small green awning below it is inscribed with a logo depicting the sign, both playing up the Toledo dive bar’s 1920 founding.
Inside the stone mosaic that frames the front door, the space is skinny, a short bar running along the wall before giving way to the kitchen. A handful of green booths extend toward the rear of the space where the bathrooms can be found in addition to a bit of overflow seating that takes advantage of a little alcove in the rear of Dale’s. The result is a comforting combination of a classic diner, old dive bar and modern pub.
Some of the age can be seen in the decorations that dot the walls throughout Dale’s Bar & Grill, many of them framed photos depicting the bar, a sports team or a combination of the two through the years. Dale’s is an Ohio State bar, which may seem natural for a bar located in Ohio but Toledo is a battleground city, much of it filled with Michigan fans, splitting dive bar allegiances throughout the city. Concentrated bursts of sports memorabilia can be found throughout Dale’s, Saturday afternoons transforming the space into a classic sports bar environment.
Just inside the front door, a montage of photos of regulars can be found, adding some personal flavor to the interior décor. The short wall dotted with photos is actually the exterior wall of the Toledo dive bar’s office, the small space visible for those sitting at the bar. In addition to pictures of regulars, Dale’s Bar & Grill maintains an Instagram account devoted to dogs that frequent the outdoor patio during the summer months.
The long patio was constructed along Dale’s longer exterior wall, creating ample space for taking advantage of the Ohio weather when such a thing is possible. The city of Maumee created what is called a DORA district in Uptown, allowing for the purchase and consumption of drinks outside during specified hours. The ribbon cutting for the inauguration of the district took place at Dale’s Bar & Grill, making no mistake one of the area’s key participants.
The 1920 opening date makes Dale’s Bar & Grill in Maumee seem like it could be a dusty, downtrodden dive bar on a corner of an area that has moved on without it. On the contrary, Dale’s mixes vintage elements and diner style with a few consistent interior elements to build a very Toledo-friendly, neighborhood pub environment.