A hole-in-the-wall style dive near Downtown Dayton, South Park Tavern attracts people with the promise of microbrews, good company, and lively music. Though it’s close to both University of Dayton and the Oregon District, I can’t quite say it caters to the crowd frequenting either place. South Park makes pizza for all ages, and a multitude of people pack the inside after work, forcing groups of all ages to the patio to mingle. It’s an excellent place to bring groups of friends for a relaxed night out, and definitely a dive bar undiscovered by many of the city’s residents looking for somewhere lively.
South Park Tavern’s primary menu item is pizza, and it offers a multitude of custom, house gourmet pizzas in addition to whatever you might be thinking for a simpler offering.
- Santa Fe Pizza: A Southwestern combo with roasted corn salsa, black beans, grilled chicken and veggies. The whole thing has a great taste of salsa but still delicious.
- Greek Gyro Pizza: Pretty simple; meat, tomatoes, onions and feta. The thin crust makes it great; its crunchy and still flavorful. Not a lot of places do a gyro pizza this well.
- Onion Battered Green Beans: Lightly breaded green beans in a “bistro sauce” that adds a little bit of spice. The green beans are just lightly breaded and a little bit crispy. Perfect.
The pizza takes a little longer than average to come, and that can probably be chocked up to either a large rush or a slow baking process, but either way it’s one of my only complaints. Checks seem to come a little slowly too, so it leads me to believe there might just be some overworked staff or something. Either way, when the pizza finally does come, it’s outstanding. The crust isn’t too burnt to be good, the toppings are cooked perfectly and not burnt, and a the pizza doesn’t have a hint of over- or under-cooking. It’s a skill indeed to get the pizza out of the oven at exactly the right time.
Microbrews are excellent too; this place serves a lot of beer but most of it you’ve never heard of, as microbrews from around the country (and a few from overseas) are trucked in to bring a truly unique flavor. Some are more traditional pale ales or dark beers, but I tried a very interesting brew, which was more of a pear cider. It almost tasted more like moscato but either way it was definitely a new, different experience I’ve never found anywhere else in Dayton.
All in all, South Park Tavern is an ideal dive to hit for a low-key night on the town. Whether you want to enjoy the pizza, the microbrews or the local music, it’s definitely worth checking out.
- Gourmet pizzas all have unusual components, but I’m surprised at how well-thought out they are. Give them a try.
- There are plenty of microbrews also worth a sampling.
- Check for deals when you show up for dinner. Sometimes half-price offerings are available.