Perhaps my favorite moment in Arthur C. Clarke's 2001: A Space Odyssey occurs in the book's final moments, when Dave Bowman, the novel's doomed astronaut, is transported through space, arriving in what appears to be a posh hotel suite. The room is well-decorated and comfortable, built in the style of rooms seen through intercepted television transmissions by an unknown alien presence.
Although it is filled with all the trappings of a high-class hotel suite, it's still unmistakably alien, having been pieced together from information that the alien could not possibly have understood on any more than a superficial level.
This is a bit of a lofty comparison, I know, but it's what I was reminded of when I visited Remedy Bar & Lounge.
Remedy is billed as an "upscale dive bar" located in the community of Westchase, which is far removed from the type of environment where you'd expect to find a dive bar.
Sure enough, Remedy has most of the things that you'd expect to find in a dive, especially one geared toward a younger, hipper crowd — pool table, darts, cheap booze, cans of PBR, karaoke, cornhole and beer-pong tables — but just as Dave Bowman knew he wasn't in a room of human construct, a dive-bar frequenter will easily see through the well-intentioned façade.
I don't mean to read too far into an innocent description from Remedy's website, I just think it's a fascinating way to look at the place. A dive bar done Westchase-style, with the cheap booze and lowbrow appeal — take a look at the restroom doors — but without the smoke and grime.
Let's forget about all that for a minute and take a look at what we're working with here.
The bar is just big enough to a hold a crowd and just small enough to work when the place is slow. A bar in the center is flanked on the right by a pool-table area, followed by a small room with a stage and dance floor, where DJs and bands perform weekly. On the left is a seating area, with a large, artificial tree right in the middle, an unusual but cool effect. Next to this area is a flat-screen TV hooked up with a Nintendo Wii, where patrons can try their hand at Wii bowling and other games.
Remedy's big draw is its specials — one for each night of the week. These are not bad, with affordable drinks available at all times. That's a nice surprise for a Westchase bar, as I was expecting my wallet to hurt more than it did. For example, we arrived on ladies' night (Thursday) to find $1 wells, $2 drafts and $3 house wines. Not bad! I also thought the Sunday special was a nice touch, with $20 "bottles of bubbly" offered as a sort of Mimosa bottle service.
The selection is either limited or unexpectedly varied, depending on your persuasion.
Beer drinkers will be disappointed to find only four beers on draft, with Shock Top the most exotic entry. There are a few major craft bottles, such as Sam Adams and Sierra Nevada, though.
If you like the harder stuff, you're in luck, because Remedy has a pretty solid selection, booze-wise. I was most impressed by the whiskeys, which ranged from premium entries by Jameson and Bushmills (18-year and 1608, respectively) and fantastic single-malt Scotches (Ardbeg, Glenrothes) to uncommon and hard-to-find selections, such as the excellent Michter's US1 Straight Rye.
Ultimately, you may find that Remedy isn't much of a dive at all.
The owners have included elements that many people enjoy from such bars, but the lack of true seediness puts this particular dive in clearly alien terrain. That's not a bad thing, however, as Remedy has plenty of elements that make it trip-worthy.