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Why I Maintain Writing About Dive Bars

For the previous 4 years, I’ve covered Silicon Valley out of The Occasions’s bureau in San Francisco. However in between articles in regards to the energy and affect of the world’s greatest tech corporations, I’ve additionally written a number of tales about gritty locations that added to the material of my adopted dwelling, Oakland, Calif.

It started with a ballpark. Once I moved to Oakland, I knew town’s sports activities stadium, the Oakland Coliseum, was maligned as dingy and decrepit. Then I began going to Oakland A’s video games, and located that it was additionally laid-back, inviting and freewheeling in a method that newer or extra historic parks weren’t.

So I penned a love letter to America’s ugliest ballpark, calling it “baseball’s final dive bar.” A’s followers liked the moniker and even wrote it on a sign at a playoff recreation hours after the article was printed. Three followers, Bryan Johansen, Paul Bailey and Carl Moren, began a line of merchandise with the phrase, together with shirts, mouse pads and Christmas tree ornaments, with all earnings going to charity. They’ve donated practically $23,000 to native organizations, and several other gamers have donned the gear.

Then, at first of the pandemic, I started following my native bar, the Hatch, and its workers. After three months, we printed a report on their struggle to keep the bar alive — and themselves protected. After six months, we aired an episode of “The Every day” that took an even deeper look. The Hatch, buoyed by reader donations, survived and even expanded, including a flower store subsequent door known as Pothead.

I additionally wrote an article final 12 months about my journey on a yellow school bus {that a} native pastor was driving by an Oregon city destroyed by a wildfire. To present a way of what was misplaced, I made positive to explain the smoldering husk of the city’s lone bar, Barkley’s Tavern. It was, “like most taverns, a spot the place individuals discovered loads of fellowship and friendship,” the pastor informed me.

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