Everyone Needs a Dive Bar When They’re Young

A couple weeks ago I promised you a post on Ziggy’s. You might not have any idea what Ziggy’s is but you may have had a similar place in your life when you were young. There are two sides of Ziggy’s. On the one hand it was the only venue in Winston-Salem that brought in big name bands (not huge, but very recognizable bands) that wasn’t at the Coliseum. The Coliseum got huge bands periodically but for the most part you had to travel to Charlotte or Raleigh to get your music fix. You could get in if you were under 18 as well. On the other hand, it was a dirty, dirty dive bar. This was not a nice venue with security and rules. This was a place (indoor) where you could always smell weed, the beer was cheap, the fights were frequent and old fogey local folk often complained about it.

When I was fourteen my best friend and I won tickets to a show at Ziggy’s. I want to say it was to some band like Jimmy Eat World but when I asked my friend she was convinced it was Sixpence None the Richer. Clearly we don’t have a clue. This event had the potential to be the best thing that had ever happened to us. We’d won the tickets on the radio which is the ultimate of cool during that time period, but we still needed permission to go. Our parents tentatively said yes. They wanted the advice of my older sister who had been to Ziggy’s. The great sister betrayal of 1999 (?- maybe it was 2000) occurred when my sister denied us. She shut down our hopes and dreams and free tickets when she said we were too young to go.  I didn’t make my first trip to Ziggy’s until my junior year.

Can you believe we weren't allowed to go to a bar?!

Can you believe we weren’t allowed to go to a bar?!

Ziggy’s was the place where we felt older, where ever truly epic night began.  I saw many Jump Little Children shows there and the best show was Sleater Kinney in 2009. When my friends had shows there it was like we’d really reached the pinnacle of high school life. Luckily the pinnacle of high school life is not the actual pinnacle of life.

An example of me at my dancing peak

An example of me at my dancing peak

A few years ago Wake Forest University bought Ziggy’s and Brew Ha Ha’s next door (don’t even get me started!) and the whole road is used for the school’s purposes. Ziggy’s eventually opened up a new location in downtown Winston-Salem that I am told is slick and not in any way sketchy. The Ziggy’s by the sea in Wilmington is similar. Still being there made me feel very nostalgic. I should have smoked cigarettes, flirted with boys and danced my heart out just for old time’s sake.


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