In 1865, a mathematician named Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (His pen name was Lewis Carroll.) wrote a book about a little girl who has an amazing adventure in a faraway land. Alice’s adventures begin when she spies a white rabbit run by as she is drowsily listening to her sister. The rabbit is in a petticoat and muttering about how late he is as he stares at his watch. She follows him into his rabbit hole, and that is where her adventures in Wonderland begin. Ever since that book, the white rabbit has been a symbol of diving into something mysterious with a fantastic payoff. Adrienne’s White Rabbit Lounge was that for our band of merrymakers. This is the first dive bar we patronized that we were not overly familiar with. We had been told of it by Big Ragu and The Crew, but we did not know much. Now we do, and we did have a fantastic adventure.
You are not going to stumble randomly on Adrienne’s White Rabbit Lounge (889 South Main Street Centerville, OH 45458, 937-435-3150); someone is going to have to lead you there. It is located in a strip mall pushed away from the street. When we went in, there was a handful of people at the bar. The first thing we noticed is that the place was small. Performers would call the venue “intimate”, and they would not be wrong. The size of the space contributes to people being able to see and experience everything happening. There are some nooks and crannies, but they don’t offer much in ways of privacy. It was well lit, and the music that was playing was at the right level. You could have a conversation and still enjoy the jukebox. Televisions cover just enough of the walls to be seen from any point in the room. The ceiling tiles are decorated with advertisements and other patron artwork. There are still some spaces available for only $25 each.
The drinks here are well-priced. And by well-priced I mean inexpensive. That is not even taking into account the daily specials they offer, from shots based on the vodka flavor of the month to seasonal beer specials. There is also a Queen of Hearts game that happens on Thursday nights, where lucky gamers can win a nice sized jackpot. They have house-created cocktail specials, an excellent selection of domestic beers (some part of their daily specials), and something I have not yet found at other bars we have explored. They have a special cabinet filled with tequilas and other special liquors. A rotating list of unique bottles is one more unique things the White Rabbit offers. They even have events that feature these gems, like the tequila they event they are planning for June 3. The cocktails were tried were both tasty in their way; one was a refreshingly summery sour cocktail, and the other was a seasonal recipe. We asked Tori, our bartender that night, what we should try and she pointed us to the Merry Cherry. It was a Jägermeister cocktail where the spices of the liqueur came through just enough to give some zest to the cherry and raspberry in the drink.
If you are looking for a place to eat, there are many options nearby that will have a reliable menu. Like any real house of mystery, the food is a grab bag depending on the day and if there is an event. There are always some snacks in one of the nooks. Typical bar food that the regulars help to keep stocked, like pretzels, chips, and cheese balls. For special events, like Derby parties or events with customers (the bar, usually closed Sundays, can handle special events), you will find a more robust fare. Burgers, brats, pulled pork, and other staples of great get-togethers will be available.
Above anything else, the thing we were most impressed with was how friendly everyone was. The bartenders treated us as if we had been loyal bar patrons for months, being very friendly to us and answering every question we had. We had multiple conversations with other bar patrons, from what we did as a business to the current state of Reds baseball. There was even a round of drinks purchased for the whole bar, which at the time was pretty damn full. It was not a bumping Friday night, but there were people there. It was a neighborhood bar in the best sense. A place where it felt like you could go at any time and either meet friends you already knew or make some brand new ones over some music and a round of darts.
We left at the end of our time there glad that we found another lovely place to go for a drink in Dayton. Adrienne’s White Rabbit, which has been around in a variety of forms for almost forty years, is what most people are looking for when they are seeking a casual watering hole. There may not be any rabbits, hatters, living playing cards, or red queens, but you will have to enjoy a friendly experience when you go.
Adrienne’s White Rabbit Lounge is located at 889 South Main Street, Centerville, OH 45458. They are open Monday through Saturday from 1 PM to 2:30 AM, closed on Sundays. You can find them on the web at adrienneswhiterabbit.com, or visit their Facebook page for information on upcoming events. Their phone number is 937-435-3150.