Dumps, Dives, & Holes: Dive Meets Class at The Midway

The Midway is a hipster dive, meaning that though it’s aesthetically intentional and void of death door alcoholics, it’s still dark and cheap. The crowd generally falls somewhere between indie kids and yuppies dressed up as hipsters, which fits perfectly with its Grand and Roebling location, a strip where after downing a three-dollar Highlife you can go next door and have a hundred-dollar dinner. It’s a great place to grab a drink before a meal when you don’t necessarily have the funds to spring for a $15 cocktail. 

While the outside isn’t much to look at—a stone facade with a large dark window and a door that’s always open—the inside is really quite nice. The front room is has dark wood floors and walls. Thick Christmas lights string around onto the exposed brick to break up the darkness. A line of vintage arcade games sit opposite the bar, with everything from standbys like Ms. Pac-Man and Buck Hunter to Galaga and whatever Bugs is.

The bar is backed with mirrors and retains class with its absence of annoying kitsch, only adorned by a line of one-dollar bills, three fake daffodils, and a small wooden dinosaur skull. There is almost always a seat open, even later at night, and the drinks are modestly priced; five bucks for a Highlife and Old Crow or Tecate and tequila, three-dollar Highlifes all the time, five dollars for Guiness, Brooklyn Lager and the like, and six dollars for Smutty Nose pints; pretty average dive prices, but especially good for a neighborhood with a high tolerance for smugness. 

The elevated back room is a nice mix of sketch and class. Chunky rainbow lights fade into small red strands that undulate above dark leather booths lining the wall. Candles burn in the corner of every surface. Graffiti picks up considerably in the back room, but most walls remain clean. A large pool table sits in the center of the room and always seems to spark the only conflict plaguing this otherwise mellow establishment. The only issue I’ve had despite a few game-related arguments is that there is terrible cell service in the place and basically none at all in the back room, which can pose some problems. 

Overall, it’s a great bar for the neighborhood. For the area, the prices are fantastic and it’s calm enough on a party block that it can be enjoyed even on the weekends. There are a lot of private little nooks to sit in making it a great date spot or a place to simply catch up with a friend. Go in the winter or the summer; its dark insularity makes it work for both. And, most importantly, they have great AC!

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