Ralph’s Chadwick Square Diner – #73 on the Tour

The Bar: Ralph’s Chadwick Square Diner

The Address 95 Prescott Street

The Day and the TIme Tuesday at five

The price Eight Bucks

Did they ask me if I wanted a lime No, he just put it in

What was the type of gin Well

What was the gin and tonic like It was fine. Pretty strong, but not over the top.

The Story So Victor Infante from the Telegram and Gazette contacted me about a website ranking Ralph’s one of the best Dive Bars in the country and asked me to see if I agreed, and asked what I define a dive bar and what are the dive bars of Worcester. Here is my reply to him, which will count as my write up for Ralph’s. I know it deserves more, but I am happy with this letter and I think it will suffice.

Dear Victor

I got word you wanted me to respond to Impulcity.com ranking Ralph’s Chadwick Square Diner as one of the 32 diviest bars in the country. I looked at what they wrote, but realized the best way to figure out if Ralph’s is a Dive Bar is to go there. I am at Ralph’s now, having a gin and tonic. It is mostly quiet here at the moment, but its great to be here. I love this place. I am happy that they have a good gin and tonic (which for me is a definite plus) but on the question of whether Ralph’s is a dive bar, I have to say no. But that’s how I define what a dive bar is.

What is a dive bar, that is a personal question. To those who like the frozen daiquiris at TGIFriday, then O’Connors or Nick’s or anywhere you might see a leather jacket or a full sleeve of tattoos would be a dive bar. Also, I don’t like the idea of a dive bar being a slightly run down joint with cheap beer that the college kids go to to give themselves some sense of cred. Dive bars are not for tourists. Dive bars are for people who consider the bar not only their favorite joint, but their office. This is where they believe they should be.

To me, a dive bar is seen from the outside. Tell a regular at a dive bar that its a dive and they will get so upset that they will probably harm you. A dive bar is a run down joint where people drink. Where they see themselves as drinkers and this is the place they punch the clock for that calling. There is nothing wrong with a city the size of Worcester to have a few dive bars. Its a down and dirty place for people who want a little anesthetic to get through the day and do it with others who feel the same. We have those places, I don’t mean to offend the regulars of them, but to me they are the Pleasant Cafe, Guertin’s Cafe and the Hotel Vernon during the week or during the day, on the weekends it has turned hipster. But the hipsters will soon tire of the Vernon and it will go back to its run down and dirty glory. Where people drink and sit and stare at the TV.

The article from Impulcity.com said that the patrons of Ralph’s are rough around the edges. Since when? Maybe back in the day, but now, where I am standing and typing this, that’s not the case. This is a local joint with good burgers and crazy things on the wall where you can hear good bands. Its a local music bar. It has neon on the outside, its cool to be here. I can imagine some people saying its a dive, because things are old and the bathrooms are an adventure it has its own personality, but that does not make it scary. That does not make it disreputable. I love that a national article is praising Ralph’s its a wonderful place, but it ain’t no dive bar. I know dive bars. I had a gin and tonic at Pleasant Cafe (which i don’t recommend you do) and that’s a dive bar. But people who need that kind of place will find it.

Ralph’s is a local music bar with great panache. You want to go to a dive bar. Skip work and get a dollar Gansett from a dirty glass at the Vernon some random Wednesday at two in the afternoon. Or go to Main South and walk into Moynihan’s and get a beer and a pickled egg. You will see the difference. Those two are worth trying out, and maybe an after work beer at Guertin’s. Those should be experienced.

I hope that answers your questions, Victor. Thanks for asking and for supporting my useless tour of every bar in Worcester.

Dante of Worcester


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