Best Bar Foot Rail: Knotty Pine

801 S. Conkling St., (410) 534-9701

We were knocking about Brewers Hill one evening when we chanced on this ultra-low-key dive bar that’s really not all that dive-y—it’s clean, brightly lit, and has a courteous, attentive tender on the other side of the bar. But what seals its status as a dive is the bar’s foot rail. Rather than serving as a rest for dangling feet, as virtually every other foot rail we’ve encountered has, this one is metal, concave and slanted. In the bar’s early years (Knotty Pine has been around since 1936), the rail served as a combination urinal/spittoon for male patrons. Women, we’re told, were prohibited from the bar’s front room in that time, so they were spared the sight of men pissing and spitting from their bar stools. The Knotty Pine bar and its trough are all the more special because they were the only things to survive a 2008 fire that almost destroyed the entire establishment.

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