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Bar Wars: Episode IV

By Andrew Salvati
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, October 2, 2003

The close-to-campus Speedway bars


1800 E. Speedway Blvd.

Rating: 3.6 of 5
Dirtbag's is: "a part of growing up." "Maloney's with lights." Or another greek bar that fills to capacity on Saturday nights.

But that's not to say Dirtbag's caters exclusively to that group. It's a bar for everyone.

Dirtbag's has been a UA institution since 1983. No one should be able to graduate without getting incoherently drunk at Dirtbag's at least once.

If you're going, watch out for the line though. You've seen it before while driving along East Speedway Avenue at 10 p.m. ÷ that precarious line of Express and Banana-clad college kids often extending to the street. So get there early if you're anti-waiting-in-line, like me.

Parking can also be a bitch, since there are only a handful of spots in the Dirtbag's lot, which will most likely be taken by the time you get there. There are a few other spots littered around campus nearby, but fear not; I don't think anyone has ever come home from the bars saying, "We couldn't find a place to park at Dirtbag's so we didn't go in." They're there; just be creative.

Once inside, however, Dirtbag's has all the fittings of a classic sports bar. Unlike other sports bars, however, the walls are punctuated with UA sports memorabilia dating back as far as the turn of the century.

Dirtbag's offers several televisions, a Golden Tee machine, a jukebox, and · yes, Ms. Pac-Man. The jukebox is a particular marvel though; I'm positive that Dirtbag's is the only bar in Tucson I have been to where someone played Nirvana's "Lounge Act." You won't get that type of selection in a lot of other bars.

The bar at Dirtbag's is a huge wooden piece that dominates the center of the room. Barstools and some small tables are huddled toward the back wall, but at prime time, you're

better off swinging a left and heading to one of the back rooms.

The back room at Dirtbag's features a large table good for a group and a smaller bar for beer and well drinks. Outside the glass double doors, however, is a covered patio sprawling with tables ÷ usually the best spot to meet up with your friends or slip away with that guy or girl you've been hitting on all night.

As far as drinks go, I'm particular to scotch, but Dirtbag's has a wonderful selection of beer for cheap. Also worth trying is a Stoli Around the World, an exclusive Dirtbag's drink guaranteed to have you spinning later on.

See you at Dirtbag's on graduation.

What I love about Dirtbag's: Sports

What I don't so much love about Dirtbag's: I'm 22 ... please don't fold, spindle, or mutilate my ID.


2033 E. Speedway Blvd.

Rating: 4 of 5
This proudly Navy-centric bar is a relative newcomer to the Tucson scene. Trident is nestled in an office complex just east of campus, and is a great place to come for food and drinks.

Trident doesn't usually cater to a particular crowd (that is other than college kids and sailors), but it can become oppressively crowded on certain nights which ebb and flow throughout the week ÷ sometimes Saturdays, Thursdays, or Tuesdays.

So if you're going to Trident, you'll definitely want to get there earlier than the crowd. That way, you can

capitalize on the drink specials, which usually go into effect in that first hour or so before the masses gush in.

As for the pool table, you're probably going to have to wait for it regardless of what time you get there.

The interior of Trident is set up to accommodate just about any grouping of people you could possibly throw at them. There are small private booths lining the dark wood walls, and in the corner, a sweeping semi-circular booth for larger groups. On the floor are scattered sets of wooden tables, but don't even think about putting more than three together; otherwise your server might not be able to get to you.

And we all love Trident's servers; they're some of the friendliest staff out there.

Characterizing Trident's unique interior is tons of Navy memorabilia; maps, photographs of the owners, a helm or two, and a computerized jukebox that has just about anything you could possibly want to listen to.

As for the drinks, Trident has some remarkable deals, so go with whatever is on special that particular night.

A caveat: The grill closes at 10, and smoking is prohibited before then, so have a clear mind about what you intend to do before you get there.

What I love about Trident: Friendly and efficient staff

What I don't so much love about Trident: I can't smoke a cigar.

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