Calling a bar a "dive" isn't usually considered a much of a compliment, and it's even weirder when the owner of said bar actually decides to name his establishment that. But it all seems to be part of the hip, post-ironic vibe that owner Junior Solis seems to be trying to create with The Dive (209 N. First Ave.), taking some of the "white trash" elements so prevalent in many area establishments and exaggerating and enhancing them to create a badly-needed nightclub in downtown Sandpoint.
Despite the barn-like interior, mechanical bull and crunchy peanut shells layering the floor, don't expect to see Wrangler-clad cowboys line dancing. DJ B Breaks is behind the wheels of steel on weekends he spins trendier club music than possibly anywhere else in North Idaho, with a banging mix of Dubstep, Hip-House and Breakbreats. Plans for various special events including MMA cage fights are in the works.
Solis, who also owns the adjoining Oishii Sushi, is touting the place as a family-friendly establishment with an affordable menu during daylight hours, but the kiddies get kicked out onto the street at 9 p.m., when the grown-up party begins.
I Googled the Dive to see what I could see and although the establishment itself has no noticeable web presence of it's own, I did find a Bonner County Bee article about the May 15 opening of the nightclub. As one would expect, not every Sandpoint resident is beside themselves with joy about the presence of the potentially rowdy, bright orange new neighbor downtown.
"A Real Local" wrote "As with anything rushed, it looks nothing less than HORRENDOUS.
The color is arrogant and offensive, and I like color." "CDA Sushi" (hmm...) wrote "If you want terrible service and food poisoning eat at the Dive!" And "Knows Better" went all the way dirty with this accusation: " That's all great, but I don't patronize money-laundering operations... "
Well, alrighty then. Sounds like a bunch of jealous sticks-in-the-mud to me. It should be said there were actually more comments in support of the place, many expressing the very true point about the longtime lack of any place for the under-40 set to have fun and party with people their own age amid the endless plethora of wine bars and sleepy cocktail lounges in Sandpoint.
A local blogger named Jenni has already posted quite a few photos of her and her friends partying it up at the Dive, as well as some stories about her wild nights out there (she totally loves the place) on her blog Oh Jenni! Sandpoint resident, Matt Mills McKnight has also captured some shots of the action at the Dive on his blog, Curly Haired Division. But wait, there's more! Scarlette Quille has a review and video of the place on her blog, the Corporate Whoracle.
One thing is for sure, from looking at the massive crowds packing the Dive in some of the web photos I've seen, Sandpoint was indeed desperate for a vital new nightspot. From what I've gathered, I expect it to be a notable success, that is as long as it's owner and patrons can keep the cranky naysayers at bay.
(Photo by DJ B. Breaks)