Every area has that one bar. The one that opens at 7, or 8, or 9:AM, and has a line of four old men outside waiting for the door to open. Men who are more lines than skin, disheveled hair, clothing unchanged for a month, wasting away, subsisting on cigarettes and cheap alcohol. They'd even turn Bukowski's stomach.
The Locker Room was our neighborhood dump.
The end-of-the-roaders hung out there. Often mental problems on full display. Patrons would sleep in the doorway waiting for it to open in the morning. As the neighborhood improved over the last 10 years, the sidewalk in front of The Locker Room was always slick with spit, discolored from urine and feces, piled with garbage, and smelled terrible.
Right next door is an amazing local ice cream shop where kids and couples would hang out and enjoy handmade ice cream... after passing the gauntlet of The Locker Room.
About a year ago, a fire started in their kitchen at night, and damaged the building. It has been boarded up ever since. There were rumors of it re-opening, but never any activity in the space, or work being done.
Some of the clientele moved down the street to the Taradise bar, where owner Tara was trying to create that fun kind of modern dive/biker bar vibe... but kept drawing in the Locker Room dregs instead. I knew Tara, and when she died recently, Taradise closed, never having become the place she wanted to make it into because of these regulars.
The wastrels moved on after Tara died. COVID has kept things closed, now, so I assume most of these people are living under a bridge or dead by now.
Yesterday, The Locker Room burned again. This time the same arsonist that took out several vibrant businesses in the area on the 4th of July, hit the Locker Room and finally did it in. There's nothing left. Ceiling collapsed in. Interior completely demolished and sitting in two feet of water.
The Locker Room is finally dead.
And I hope it stays that way.