A Salute to Slinky’s

144 West Chimes Street

Almost Twenty years ago Dive Bar Girl visited for the first time…

In the fall of 1994 while walking up Chimes Street towards the old Bayou, I heard Slinky’s before I even laid eyes on it.  The bartender was blaring Closer by Nine Inch Nails so loud it sent a tingle down my spine.  The door to the squat white building was left open, but I could only make out the shadow of the bar inside. Still there was an inviting glow about it. 

I had heard rumors that it was a watering hole for graduate students and minor members of the LSU faculty, which made it seem classy to my 18-year-old brain and it quickly became my dive of choice.  Early in the evening, I would sit in one of the wrap around booths and drink an electric blue concoction called “The Slink” out of a hurricane glass while making Saturday night plans with friends. Slinky’s was calmer than The Library.  No sweaty man-boys were trying to prove their worth on the foosball table, and Milwaukee’s Best served in large paper cups didn’t litter the tables.  All of Chimes Street was alive. It had a gritty, but electric vibe.  Bands played in The Bayou while a cast of characters who closely resembled the dipsomaniacal creatures in Steinbeck’s Tortilla Flat smoked out front and kept the Elvis shrine company. Patrons proudly wrote poetry on bathroom walls before stumbling home to their dorms and apartments. 

Over the years, that ugly thing called progress reared its corporate head. (I knew it was the beginning of the end when I saw a sign for a Gap.) The Bayou burned and was replaced by a marginal pizza place. Gelato and coffee shops sprouted up.  Keeping with tradition, The Library continued to change names and owners over the years.  The Chimes and The Varsity still preside at the top of the hill, but for the most part developers have almost succeeded with their attempt to create a civilized whitewashed version of  “The Street.”

Thankfully, Slinky’s has remained untouched by this attempt at sterilization.  Pamela Sandoz has owned and bartended at Slinky’s since 1999.  There is a pool table now, an excellent beer selection and a jukebox that could rival Red Star’s.  When I visited, Pamela attempted to recreate “The Slink” for me while she and my husband recounted stories about a mutual friend, blue body paint, and a Halloween party at Kirby Smith dorm. 

Slinky’s might be the last of it’s kind near campus—a friendly dive with great people.  This is why I must give it the Sparkling Dive Bar Girl Gold Seal of Quality.  Stop by for a Bloody Mary before a home game or drop in during the Abita Fall Fest Pub Crawl on September 6th.  I can almost guarantee you will make a new friend and pass a good time.