Stick it to the man at a perfect Charlotte dive bar.
Inherent is any good dive bar is some sense of rebellion, some aspect of sticking something to someone. Sometimes, that’s rebellion against time in the form of original floors, stained ceiling tiles and the like. And sometimes that rebellion is against a real estate developer planning a massive apartment complex interested in a small plot of land belonging to one of a city’s finest drinking establishments.
The pictures of the Thirsty Beaver Saloon tell the story. After refusing to sell out, real estate developers simply built a sprawling apartment building around the bar, creating a dive bar drinking oasis amid generic-looking apartments typical of a fast-growing city like Charlotte. And I suppose it was possible for the owners of the bar to seize upon the moment and change something, anything about the presentation of the pub, but satisfyingly, that did not happen.
Though the building looks like a plant that didn’t get enough sunlight, surrounded by tall, leafy neighbors, the stature of what’s inside surpasses what surrounds it. A very on-the-nose painted mural of, you guessed it, a thirsty beaver waving a beer mug beckons drinkers inside to a tiny, cinder block-lined room, a short bar and enough wall-adorning material to cover multiple saloons.
The main room features a few small tables, but bar seating is, as always, the prime location, with full view of the patrons and paraphernalia. A collection of, presumably, used bras hangs over the door, so if you are for some reason in need, you’re covered. And should a chart of sexual positions come in handy, you’ll find one in the bathroom to jog your memory.
A back area, and it’s remarkable a building this size even has a back area, houses two pool tables, a few neon signs, a well-seasoned couch and an always-appreciated Ms. Pac-Man game impossible to access on a crowded Saturday night. A few outdoor seats and a wooden drinking rail make for some crowded Charlotte camaraderie on the saloon’s front porch.
As might be expected given its rebellious real estate footprint, a quick perusal of the bar’s Facebook page and various online articles paint The Thirsty Beaver Saloon as a point of targeted passion for those determined to keep it alive. People love an underdog defying the odds and through an aggressive real estate developer and a pandemic, this Charlotte dive bar has done just that.
The Thirsty Beaver is a dive bar in every glorious sense of the term, with a tiny footprint, a rebellious past and curiously cozy cinder blocks worth a visit for anyone passing through Charlotte.