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Bars & Clubs

Best Reclaimed Dive Bar 

Ha-Ra Club

The Tenderloin was set to lose another irreplaceable when the Ha-Ra Club — a low-ceilinged dive of the slummiest reputation, long fallen into neglect, but nevertheless beloved for strong pours, idiosyncratic bartenders, and a long history — was taken over by the crew who run Ace's and Dobbs Ferry. Then something magical happened: They improved it. The joint's been classed up — there are actually beers on tap now, plus solid classic cocktails at neighborhood-regular-friendly prices — but original divey elements like the exposed brick walls and red velvet accents on the bar are still in place. Tradition appears to matter for Ha-Ra's new operators, who proudly display portraits of the wrestler and boxer founders (as well as the .32 handgun discovered during renovation, now framed and unloaded behind the bar). Let this be a model to follow for the rest of the city: It is possible to move things along while retaining soul, character, and a little bit of grit.

(Sorry, no information is currently available for other years in this same award category.)

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