Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Gene's Beer Garden

Tucked away in South Park, Gene's Beer Garden might be missed if you weren't looking for it. While it was easy to spot along 461 Wilson Avenue, it's not along a well-traveled path. That might explain why the crowd is a bit older, a bit more local and bit more down-to-earth - no offense, college kids.

I had heard that Gene's was the place for a cheap beer and a good hotdog. I found my way there for just that. South Park is a bit different with their parking, so make sure when you park along the street that you're not on a colored line. This bar is small, so it's not like you're fighting with a ton of other people for a spot. There are actually two doors to the bar, one to the left and one to the right. We walked in the right to discover a small counter, a couple booths, a center table and a stage. A band was playing, quite loudly, in front of a lit-up wooden West Virginia cutout. The walls were decorated with WVU memorabilia. I felt at ease right away.

It's a total local bar, and I think that's why I love it. You can come in in jeans and a hoodie and feel at home here. The lady behind the counter was sweet and helpful. I ordered a beer and a hot dog and made my way to the one empty booth. After a few minutes, she walked over with our hotdogs in hand. Complete with chili, mustard and onions, the hotdog was fine. The chili was toppling over the bun, and it had a little bit of a kick to it. It was a solid hotdog overall, especially for the price. It was even better with the ice cold beer.

There's a larger, more relaxed room to the left, which is where the other door leads to. It was much quieter here, so I could talk with my friend. There was a comfy wraparound couch and a pinball machine. Sitting here, you can watch the army of people outside having a cigarette, enjoy some local music, some good hospitality and a fine hotdog. I felt like I belonged here - and I think they felt that way, too. I think my total came to around $3, with tip $6, so it can't be beat.

Grade: A
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