Friday, November 17, 2006
Basking in the warm, inviting glow of Lounge Lizardom
"Serving since 1948" is a slogan only a handful of bars in town can use. Luckily for the Lounge Lizards, Slyder's, in Belmont, can.
Entering the bar — named after first owner Ralph Slyder — is like stepping into a time warp. Although it doesn't take you back to its 1948 origins, it does take you back to the 1970s ... in a good way. Back to the comfortable, inviting, smoky (although not for very much longer, courtesy of Issue 5) local bar of days gone by. To that relaxed well-worn gathering spot, perfect for throwing back a drink or two, sharing a burger, enjoying a tasty appetizer or some combination thereof.
The walls of the wood-paneled watering hole are covered in the normal bar flair with football collectibles and gear sprinkled throughout. The bar, which runs almost the entire length of the space, continues the sports theme with football helmets and other memorabilia hanging on the wall behind it. Also hanging out behind the bar was owner/bartender Joe Granito, the bar's fifth owner since its 1948 beginning, ready to help us wet our whistle by mixing up a tasty gin and tonic and a Manhattan, both nearly perfect with an absolutely perfect price tag ($3.50 and $4 respectively).
Hungry for a tasty treat to pair with our cocktails, we selected the jumbo appetizer sampler ($5.79). Not only was our sampler supersized as advertised, it was easily large enough for two or three Lounge Lizards to share — more if other items are ordered. The plate of chicken fingers, potato skins, poppers and onion rings were served up with speed, arriving hot, fresh and fried to crisp perfection.
Slyder's buttery burgers (generally falling in the $4.50-$6 price range depending on the order) and meaty hot wings (10 for $5.89) share top billing with the beverages, attracting regulars who like being able to eat and drink well. On any given evening, it's not unusual for a large table of hungry snackers to order 70 to 100 wings or more in one sitting.
After dropping a few dollars in the jukebox ($5 buys you 25 songs), where an eclectic list of performers lie waiting, ready to belt out a tune, you can make your way back to the pool table (there's just one, so you may have to get in line) located in the cozy back corner of the bar.
While it may not be 1948 — or 1978, for that matter — the staff at Slyder's will make you feel right at home no matter what generation you claim. With super service, fantastic food, delightful drinks — all at perfect prices — it will leave you wanting to do the time warp again and again. And to that the Lounge Lizards say, "Cheers!"
WHERE: 836 Watervliet Ave.
HOURS: 11 a.m.-2:30 a.m. Monday-Saturday.
KITCHEN HOURS: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday
11 a.m.-11 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday
MORE INFO: (937) 258-1222.
DRESS CODE: Casual as can be.
RANDOM BAR FACT: The 'Crying Room' sign over the pool room dates back to when Bellmont Bowling Alley was across the street and bowlers would venture across the street to cry and commiserate over their scores.