The COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on dive bars across America, forcing the untimely closure of more than a few historical institutions. It looked like Oklahoma City’s The Wilshire Dive Bar (also known as The Wilshire Club) was destined for the same fate, the original owners announcing during the initial wave of bar closings across the country and within Oklahoma that The Wilshire would remain closed permanently. Luckily, new ownership stepped up weeks later, acquiring the space and pledging to make a handful of updates but retain the divey charm of the 1958 original.
Those new updates included new air filtration (always helpful in a dive bar) and a new focus on whiskey and cigars, the ownership group also operating a nearby cigar lounge. The on-site humidor adds to the experience but the rest of the bones of the structure remain the same, the building’s signature rock wall exterior paired with pink neon spelling out the name of the Oklahoma City dive bar.
The building looks a bit like a garage that forgot its door, the interior featuring a winding bar counter that twists and turns through the unexpectedly long space. Also thanks to the renovations of new ownership, an expansive patio extends from the rear of the building, a large and open space that includes fire pits, cornhole boards and a wide array of seating. When the weather cooperates, live music has been known to occupy this new patio addition, adding to the Oklahoma City dive bar’s appeal.