It's officially Christmas season. You either are already on vacation from work. You just tested positive for COVID and are starting the holidays early. Or you are actually working this week but because no one is there, your level of care is at previously undiscovered lows.

You might already be noticing a few extra people around the house. A lot of these people are called your extended family, or even just family, depending on your circumstances.

These, generally are very good people. They also are, ostensibly, strangers in your house. As good of intentions these people have, there is a chance they could become annoying.

Here are a few local watering holes around town that don't offer much more than a barstool, a refreshing drink, possibly a jukebox, and most importantly people that aren't your family.

These can be visited alone or with family members that you don't mind spending time with. A quick 2 hour escape with a cousin or sibling that you don't see everyday can be the equivalent of an entire weekend with some family members. This is the magic of the dive bar.

These are in no particular order but spending a few hours in one of these establishments over the holiday weekend could be exactly what the doctor ordered.

  1. Sips In The Park - This used to be called Vic and Jims in Loves Park. This was the dive bar from my youth and the new owners have kept the charm of the original bar while giving it a very nice face lift. Cash only. They don't serve food but do have a pizza oven behind the bar. The garlic pizza is well worth the 7 dollars.
  2. Bullpen Bar and Slots - A newer addition to town. Bullpen has been around for about a year. They also have a pizza oven but their pizza selection isn't great because all they have are DiGorno's. They do however let you bring in food from anywhere else. I recommend grabbing a sandwich from next door 640 Meats. Good people in this bar.
  3. Opsahl's Tavern - This southside Rockford bar can be a little rough around the edges but as long as you stop in during the daylight you'll be fine. They have a full kitchen, but I highly recommend the pizza. It's as good as any in town.
  4. Savoy Tavern - This bar on Broadway near 5 points is literally tucked away under another building. This is the best bar to forget about everything that's happening outside. I just found this the other day so I don't know much about it other than great happy hour specials and they have a full size shuffleboard table. I will be back there over the next two weeks.
  5. CJs Public House - I'll be the first to admit that CJs is a little too nice to be considered a dive bar, but all the aesthesis are there. CJs has a great kitchen especially on Tuesday's for lunch and Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights when Javy's tacos operates from their kitchen. Add a great shuffleboard table and friendly staff, and you have a wonderful hideaway from the stressors of Christmas.

There are 5 spots to check out over the holidays. There are other dive bars in town. Some are not worth going, I won't call them out here, that's just something you have to figure out on your own, but these 5 will give you a solid couple of hours to recharge your batteries.

Good luck over the next few weeks. We're all in this together.

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