Whiskey Wonderland: Dive In: Tree Bar

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From the March 13, 2014 edition

"It's important to differentiate between a dive and a dump," Tree Bar Owner Ryan Haye said. "A good dive is a place where you can go in, and not worry about anything at all, including putting your elbows on the bar.”

Tree Bar is a no-frills joint that holds music and conversation above all else, ensuring the patrons, not the "concept," are the star of the show.

"You'd be hard-pressed to find a person who lives within 270 that doesn't have a story about this place," Haye said. "It's always been all about the camaraderie and conversations. There doesn't need to be a lot of facilitating to make that happen here."

Don’t let the joint fool you, though. Tree Bar collectively abhors pretension, but Haye keeps some impressively rare bottles on hand, including a Sazerac 18-Year Rye.

“People expect to come here and have a great conversation and hear some amazing music,” Haye said. “What they don’t expect is to see the insane whiskey selection. I had people coming from Lancaster just for the Sazerac.”

Haye focuses on Tree Bar’s whiskey selection not only to please customers, but also because he is personally a fan. Whiskey brings warm memories for Haye, both in and outside the bar.

"After my father passed, I was cleaning out his home, and I found a bottle of Jameson, which was his favorite. I sat there and drank it and reminisced about some great times I had with him," Haye said. "That's what it's all about. Making those memories and having those conversations. The whiskey just adds to it."

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