Just another beautiful sunny day in Newport Beach. My friend and I decided to hit up the new barbecue joint called DIVBAR on Coast Highway where the old Josh Slocum's (holla Dennis Rodman!) used to be. A great location, right on the water, it was perfectly quiet at 11:30 a.m. for lunch.
I had seen this place as I drive down PCH most everyday - aah the life of a Newport Beach local. It was mysterious and dark like the entrance to Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory, except this was like a Paula Deen factory, with all the succulent barbecue you could eat. I awaited a day when the "We're Open" sign would finally appear.
My buddy Ryan and I came here specifically to watch the Italy vs. Germany Eurocup game. I called ahead of time to make sure they were showing it, and they gladly said they would turn the game on for us.
I parked a block away, as I carry only plastic and valet was $3. The restaurant interior looks like Planet Hollywood, except instead of movie memorabilia there are tokens, it seems, from dive bars across the country. Old racks of pool balls, vintage signs and drums line the walls.
The seating is sectioned off into tiny areas, which is nice for privacy and parties. There are tons of flat-screen TVs everywhere, which makes this the ideal sports bar, except....there is no sound.
I asked one of the kind servers if he could turn up the sound for the game. He was really nice and tried and tried, but said that the TVs were all hooked up to one speaker. Hmm....what if there are two games on at once - like today with the tennis match and soccer match?
He went back to ask management who basically told me that today they are just playing music. Awesome! It's so nice to hear Goyte's "Somebody That I Used to Know" for the 54 millionth time instead of hearing the Eurocup game, which only happens once every four years.
It was such a tease because the bar is lined with sports flags from different baseball and football teams. I guess real "futbol" hasn't really caught on here yet.
I had a Guinness on draft and Ryan ordered a Stella Artois. The beer selection is ho-hum, especially since it is lead off with Pasbt Blue Ribbon -- very hipster of you DIVBAR, except there are no hipsters in Newport Beach; try Santa Ana. Three of the selections they were out of. New restaurant kinks to work out; I totally understand.
Once I opened the menu I forgot about the disappointing beer selection. There were burgers, hot dogs, broasted chicken (fried, roasted chicken), ribs, burnt ends, and tons of variations of fries and macaroni and cheese.
I ordered the fried chicken dinner with mashed potatoes and gravy, cornbread and sweet corn. Ryan got the burnt ends with coleslaw, cornbread and french fries. Everything tasted awesome. The fries were tender on the inside, crispy on the out and the corn was a blend of flavors my tongue doesn't even have words for.
Of course hearing Adele's melancholy "Someone Like You" play as Italy scored its second goal kind of killed the mood, but the reasonable menu prices had me cheering from my own bleacher seats. Most items are under $10 and nothing over $17, and my chicken dinner had me full until breakfast the next morning for just $12.
All the sauces are ready to squirt at your table and are all homemade fresh at the restaurant. I highly recommend the vinegar and mustard. It was delicious on chicken, ribs and fries (and a little squirt in the corn).
Jessica, our server, was beyond attentive, always making sure we were pleased with everything. She even wanted to know how our silent soccer game was going. I'd hire her to run my Fortune 500 company (if I had one).
I definitely recommend this place for its great barbecue and atmosphere - but not necessarily to watch sports. Even though Carly Jepshen's "Call Me Maybe" would sound awesome during a World Series game.