It’s dark in here. Your eyes need a moment to adjust from the outside glare.
The room is almost perfectly square, windowless. Hanging on the walls are a mishmash of Bay Area pro sports schedules and vintage beer signs, including the Budweiser Clydesdales in miniature, encased in glass, pulling the famous beer wagon. You want it, but know your wife won’t let you bring it into the house. Your moment of temporary disappointment ends when your eye catches the nautical-themed bar, a half-circle with a large boat steering wheel attached to the wall, surrounded by bottles of Sloe Gin, Apple Pucker, Jack Daniels and even a couple of good bottles of scotch. You will not order any drink that is more complicated than Rum and Coke, or you will get a glare that speaks a thousand cross words.
This square room is full of people of all shapes and sizes and characters. An old woman peels herself off the well-worn bar stool to head out for a smoke; a group of 20-somethings are about to do shots of Jagermeister and Red Bull, a classic hangover-inducing elixir called most appropriately, a Jager Bomb. Two leather-faced senior citizens play dominoes at the end of the bar, deep in concentration, a pair of upside down shot glasses nearby reminding them the next round is free.
This is a dive bar par excellence. This is The Captain’s Chest, in Concord, California. In the middle of this sprawling, monocultural exurb of chain stores and strip malls is this oasis of mom-and-pop alcoholic distraction and conversation. Everyone in this place has a story; everyone has a past. The walls practically do talk to you, stained by dust and decades of cigarette smoke, reeking of wonder. The loudspeakers wail nightly in this place, too; the bar features karaoke, and a group of regulars stream in to belt out, slightly off-key, everything from standards to 80’s rock anthems.
Dennis Cruz wants to show you places like this, across the nation.
The Attitude Adjustment Hour will take you on a road show, stopping at a few of the 48,000+ drinking establishments in the United States; bars, taverns, beer halls, live-music venues, breweries, distilleries, Dennis is your television and online sleuth, on a quest to find the coldest beer, the best live music, the all-time kick-ass jukeboxes in the most unusual honky-tonks, road houses and dance halls in the country.
If they make a unique or bizarre drink, he’ll try it. If there’s a dance step to be learned, he’ll give it a go. If there’s a bar bet to be had, he’ll take it.
Dennis Cruz is a former major market radio personality, ex- KMEL and KNBR in San Francisco, ex-Teamster and now a truck driver. His large frame suggests he could pick you up and quite easily throw you more than a few feet, but to speak to him for 10 seconds is to speak to one big teddy bear, an immediately engaging, warm personality. This is a guy you really want to sidle up to a bar and have a drink with.
The Attitude Adjustment Hour will allow you to do just that.
I’m going to help him find a larger audience, and I’m excited about it. Dennis is an undiscovered gem, waiting to be found.
Crafting some words for him this morning; words for prospective TV folks. Imagine this show on The Travel Channel. Perfect.
A few people have stepped up and asked me to be their sherpa, up the steep and jagged mountain where sitting at the summit, The Good Idea is waiting to be harvested. It’s going to be a lot of fun.