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The Dive Bomber: The Corner Bar

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Robin Wheeler writes for the blog Poppy Mom. She also has a strange attraction to drinking establishments with jars of pickled -- or possibly fossilized -- eggs. She reports on these dives for Gut Check every Friday.

When did day drinking fall out of favor? I want to think that if everyone took an hour every day to stop working and have a hearty lunch and a relaxing drink with familiar faces, perhaps the world wouldn't be in its current state.

Unplug. Let the market be. Have a cold one. Go back to work refreshed with a clean perspective. How could that not make the world a better place?

At the Corner Bar in St. Charles, there's not a worker in sight at lunchtime on baseball's opening day. There's a handful of retirees having a smoke and a beer while watching Access Hollywood on the hi-def.

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Robin Wheeler
Even though no one else is eating, I take a seat at the bar and order the day's special -- a roast beef on rye with a bowl of vegetable soup for $4.50. Add a bottle of Stag, and it's still cheaper than the same lunch with a latte instead of a beer at a coffee house.

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Robin Wheeler
As I crumbled Saltines into my soup, one old man repeatedly asked the pregnant bartender, "What's higher? A billion or a zillion?" She wasn't interested in talking mathematics; I got the impression this conversation happened often.

Not that she wasn't friendly. When an old man with cotton stuffed into his ears entered, she called, "Hi, Bill," and poured him a Ten High without asking. He drank it standing at the bar, leaving as soon as he finished.

The Corner Bar has a bigger beer selection than any bar I've visited. I almost ordered a Sierra Nevada before remembering that's not the Dive Bomber way. I'm guessing the trendy Sailor Jerry rum and Sweet Carolina sweet-tea vodka don't get much play with the lunch crowd. They're probably there for the Lindenwood College kids who might visit on the weekends to see what a real dive is like.

If Bill's not there with his Ten High and they're not eating a half a pound of deli roast beef with mayo during daylight hours, they're not getting the true experience.
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