This has been a phenomenal ski season. So good in fact that that when I encountered less than stellar conditions last Saturday I decided to call it quits early and crawl into Squaw Valley’s newest bar, the Slot. The aptly named Slot is located past the little fenced in patio to the looker’s right of Bistro 22. This hole in the wall location was once a tiny breakfast deli but has remained empty for most of its life in the Village at Squaw Valley. No one seemed to know what type of business would work in such a small space. Someone finally got it right. The Slot has all the ingredients of a successful dive bar including intimate atmosphere, a local following and solid drink specials.
The Slot is so small that the bar takes up almost the entire joint. A huge flat panel TV located behind the bar displays the latest ski and snowboard movies. Retired skis hang on walls to the left and right of the bar, nodding to classic ski bum culture. A jukebox tucked in the corner buttons up the scene with quality selections from the past including Jane’s Addiction, Big Head Todd and the Monsters, and Eric B and Rakim.
A few bar stools sit at a counter facing the ticket portals at Squaw. Out front is a small patio for those who actually want to see and be seen, but the Slot is not really that type of place.
The Slot is the perfect spot for local barflies to saddle up and shoot the shit. It’s a place where you can post up for some quality day drinking without feeling guilty about it. For a local dive bar to be successful it needs locals and the Slot sticks the landing on this one. The Slot may be intimidating to the tourist who peeks inside, but that’s just fine with the locals who hang there. In a Village full of bars and restaurants catering to high-end tourists, the Slot embraces its slogan: “Squaw Valley’s premier dive bar.” Lacking any formal sign out front save a chalkboard, the Slot is a speakeasy that rewards those who sniff it out. Hopefully the local clientele combined with an assumed low overhead will allow the Slot to succeed in the typically brutal shoulder seasons.
Let’s not forget the last critical ingredient of a quality dive bar…drink specials. The Slot features $2 PBR’s (Pabst Blue Ribbon to the layperson) all day, everyday. The Slot kicks off the week with Mickey’s Monday Madness where Mickey’s Widemouths are $2. If you solve the puzzle under the Big Mouth bottle cap in less than five seconds you receive a free shot of Jager in the cap. The Slot also has the local PBJ special where drinkers receive a PBR and a shot of Jim, Jack or Jager for $6. What more could a local ask for? Well you could ask for a cute, friendly and efficient bartender. Oh yeah, the Slot has that too and her name is Missy. She informed me the Slot is open 3pm to close (around midnight) midweek and Friday and Saturday from 1pm till 1 or 2 am depending on business.
The Slot is a long overdue and very welcome addition to Squaw Valley. While only locals used to know about the Chamois and Loft Bar, now everyone goes there to après in the sun. Sometimes it’s better to go somewhere that’s not on display. The Slot is a little more discrete and off the beaten path. It’s a place without the pretention of your typical tourist destination. It’s a place where you can relax, have a drink, chat it up or just chill out. Locals looking for a new bar to call their own should check out the Slot.