There has been a theme in the last few dive bars we have explored. They are small and intimate venues, where is it hard not to meet know people because you were in pretty close proximity to them. Bar space was limited, and there was not much light in the room, which tends to bring people closer together. Space is expensive; unless you have a good deal, what you pay for the building, as well as its maintenance, can be costly. This could be a reason that dive bars tend to end up in places that are hard to find or out of the way. Many of the ones that are on our list are out of the way places that people almost have to draw us maps for to ensure that we find it. Had people not told us about Time Out Cavern or Adrienne’s White Rabbit Lounge, I am not sure we would have stumbled on them by just wandering down the street. In some ways, this week’s adventure to Dr. Doodle’s Lounge follows that script. In more ways, it breaks it.
Dr. Doodle’s Lounge (1510 Miamisburg Centerville Rd, Dayton, OH 45459) DOES have a sign on 725 that lets you know it is there. However, you won’t see it from the street. You need to go around the back of the Original Pancake House to find this delight. When you do head back there, the first thing you will notice is their nicely enclosed patio. It is spacious and covered, so as long as the weather is warm, you can sit out there with your favorite beverage. When you enter and pass a small shelf of books and a jukebox on the left, there is a good chance someone is going to say hello to you. And it may not be the bartender. Like most of the other bars we have gone to, we immediately felt welcome here. More than one person we spoke with mentioned the feel was very much like the beloved Cubby Hole, complete with several of the bartenders that made that venue great. It was also said a few times that “the stranger you are, the more you fit in.”
The openness was not just for the customers and staff. The whole atmosphere was open, thanks in large part to the walls of windows on two sides of the building. The ceilings were high, and there was natural light (possibly Natural Light too, we did not check) pouring through space. The bar was tucked into the corner, so there was plenty of room for activities like darts, pool, trivia, the occasional Sunday karaoke night, and any other events one can imagine. Even on nights in the past, we were there, and it was busy, it did not feel like a cramped space. There is room for everyone to come in for a drink!
And come in for a drink you should! They have three taps for beer, but a much wider selection of cans and bottles for you to enjoy. There was a cocktail list, but it has been lost to history. The spirits they keep behind the bar offer an imbibing option for everyone and the bartenders there know how to use them. Specials, as well as food, depends on the night that drops in. Each man or woman handling bar duty that night will have their own special, from $3 shots of Fireball to $10 buckets of beer. The food menu is just as dependent on staff taste. One night could be pulled pork sandwiches; another they could be grilling brats on the patio. This is one of the beauties of small, independent businesses. There is always something different going on, and the staff has some leeway to cater to the customers. In fact, some of the customers will bring in side dishes depending on the night and the bartender. Who needs a regular menu?
It would be easy to become a regular here. The whole atmosphere is a big warm embrace. There is going to be a motorcycle run in August to Indian Lake, starting with some hamburgers and brats on the patio and finishing with the ride. Last year over 200 people participated in the event, and this year will probably be bigger. Every night will offer a different experience, which means if you go often enough, you will find the right time for you. It does not matter who you are or what you do; there’s a bar stool and a cold drink waiting for you. Just a cursory look at the parking lot ran the gamut of styles, from hard working pick-up trucks to shining and stylish high-end cars. Stop by Dr. Doodles Lounge over a few different nights as the summer starts to heat up. Enjoy the patio, the food, and the friendly atmosphere. Pretty soon you too will be welcoming people as they walk up to the bar for a drink.
Dr. Doodles lounge is located at 1510 Miamisburg Centerville Rd, Dayton, OH 45459. Their number is (937) 434-8748, and they are open every day from 12:00 PM to 2:30 AM. You can find their upcoming events and other information on their Facebook page.