To call a city unexpectedly vibrant is sort of a backhanded compliment, but anyone who has visited Oklahoma City can probably empathize with that description. Those unfamiliar with the city may not be sure of what to expect, only to find a dynamic, unique city full of compelling experiences (and equally compelling dive bars).
One of the city’s cultural exports is The Lunchbox, a drink concocted by Edna Scott of namesake Edna’s
, a combination of Coors Light, orange juice and amaretto that tastes better than it may first appear. Since keeping track of sales in 2005, Edna’s has sold over 2 million Lunchboxes, all of it in the confines of a dollar bill-laden dive bar.
Saved from pandemic-related closure in 2020, The Wilshire Dive Bar
(sometimes called The Wilshire Club) packs a winding bar into a narrow building that looks a bit like a garage without its door. Pink neon may not seem to mesh well with a jagged rock wall, but the combo fits the Oklahoma City dive bar at the heart of the city.
And then there’s Cookie’s
, the black and white sign out front laced with music notes and a cocktail glass, an homage to the calling card here, karaoke. There are dive bars with occasional karaoke nights and then there’s Cookie’s where karaoke runs every night from 8:30 PM to 2 AM, making it the only dive bar of its kind in the city.
There are more gems to be uncovered throughout Oklahoma City, of course, a number of dive bars hiding in plain sight in a city filled with interesting attractions. Each takes inspiration from the city’s unique stature as big city meshed with the rustic appeal of the West.