Who better to spend a Thursday with than a garlic bread and marinara burger?
Slyder’s Tavern is everything perfect about a local, treasured, neighborhood-focused spot to grab a beer and a burger. Part of the Belmont neighborhood in Dayton since 1948, the decades of family-focused ownership and service are readily apparent immediately upon arrival. And while Slyder’s Tavern may not be a dive bar necessarily (there is a kid’s menu after all), the Dayton institution does hit that perfect balance of unassuming and authentic, in this case expressed through burgers and wings.
It is of course always a great sign when a local beer and burger spot is packed on a Thursday and such was the case during our last visit to Slyder’s Tavern. Even better is the actual sign over the front door of Slyder’s Tavern, a fading and weathered wooden contraption painted with the name of the bar and two of life’s greatest pleasures: “Beer & Liquor.” A short patio sits outside of the Dayton dive bar’s front door, though seating is at a premium and the space feels more like a place to take a break rather than grab a meal.
Opaque glass blocks make up the front wall of Slyder’s Tavern, space carved out for a pair of windows that both include some class beer sign neon. Inside, a tight space manages to accommodate a long bar on one side and a large array of short tables and chairs mostly populated by adults and (gasp) families grabbing a burger and a drink. The entire space is ringed in wood paneling, complementing the wooden bar that sits atop some suspiciously familiar opaque glass blocks (we’re sensing a theme here).
The bar itself feels a bit like a display case, a series of arched sections holding things as critical as the bar’s liquor selection and draft beer taps. One such section is devoted to an impressive baseball bobblehead collection sitting among other odds and ends that include fuzzy dice. A series of football helmets are perched above the bar, as is a classic lizard-style Budweiser neon sign that shouldn’t be missed. The beer selection here is extensive with over a dozen draft selections supported by a rotating array of can and bottle options.
Though many dive bars find a lofty perch or two to house old trophies and framed photos, Slyder’s Tavern is a bit unique in that a ledge running about halfway up the bar’s exterior wall provides space for trophies, helmets and more. Like an extremely long mantle, this perch provides backdrop to framed photos, signed footballs, bar mirrors and even a boxing glove behind glass, all of it under a long string of illuminated beer signs.
Though Slyder’s Tavern is closed on Sunday, the kitchen stays open late during the rest of the week, closing up shop at 11 PM (the bar itself closes at 2 AM). Burgers and wings are usually the source of rave reviews directed at Slyder’s Tavern, though the menu is fairly extensive in comparison to other bars. Daily specials spice up the options, including the immensely popular Guiseppe Burger, an Italian hamburger concoction that includes a toasted, garlic bun topped with burger, marinara, roasted red pepper and provolone. So revered is the hamburger that this reviewer bumped into more than one person who made it a special point to come on Thursdays to grab the Slyder’s Tavern delicacy.