05:00 AM, Jun 14, 2013
Address: 791 Meigs St.
Hours: 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. Monday through Friday; 12:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. Saturday; 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. Sunday.
For more: (585) 730-8310 or facebook.com/DickysRochester
The deadbolt on Dicky’s bar and restaurant on Meigs Street at Caroline Street is the size of a fat Crayola marker.
The place is rumored to have been a moonshine-serving speakeasy during Prohibition, and is thought to be the oldest bar in Rochester.
Bartender Kimberly Brozic said Dicky’s suits those who aren’t committed to any particular image. “Any kind of person can come in here … and they’re all awesome,” she says.
As Brozic joins a line of male patrons singing “Caribbean Queen” by Billy Ocean, the back dining room hosts a pool tournament.
A man with a Van Dyke beard works the table. He sinks three striped balls, polishing his cue with a cube of blue chalk before plunking down a fourth. Eleven other guys and two women silently surround him. A fifth ball goes down. Time out. Two other men convene at the table, pointing, drawing angles on the felt with their fingers.
Dicky’s has hosted moments like these since 1880.
After taking over the bar in 2010, Scott Napier, Dicky’s 39-year-old co-owner, spent five hours in the library poring over material to learn about his bar’s origins.
“As far as I know it’s definitely the oldest bar in the downtown area,” he says. For many years it was simply known as Saloon. At various other points in history it was Barney’s Bar, Fien’s Restaurant, The Black Pearl and three different spellings of “Dicky’s.”
Outside of historic record, truth and legend mingle.
“Some of the old guys come in and swear that they were doing moonshine (during Prohibition),” says Napier.
Opinions differ when it comes to the white and maroon tile trough running the length of the bar, with pipe fittings and running water. Women weren’t allowed in the bar for decades, so it’s said that men not only spat tobacco into the trough, but used it as a urinal. Others say the bar serviced a number of local pig farmers (it is located in Swillburg, after all) who kicked mud and manure into the running water.
“I’m gonna go ahead and say it’s all true,” says Napier.