An anonymous Dive Bar Tourist fan with the inside scoop told us about The Forest Club in Ukiah, California. Dimly-lit with brick walls and a stainless-steel bar, this little hole-in-the-wall is a Ukiah staple.
The bar sits in the historic downtown area and is part of what used to be a slaughterhouse. Our insider says that because of the history of the place, they “work with old features to meet new laws.” It’s sandwiched between what appears to be a vacant retail space and a spot that has been an art gallery and a massage parlor. The Forest Club’s neon sign, however, has remained a beacon for more than twenty years.
Our insider says that anyone who’s been to The Forest Club, whether their last visit was five or twenty years ago, still considers it to be their bar. When a place inspires that kind of loyalty, we know it has to be something special.
Situated near the courthouse, it’s frequented by local journalists, blue-collar workers, and “fancy pants weekend loyals.” The staff loves everybody there, new and old, and it shows! The Forest Club is like a second home to regulars and visitors alike. Patrons can play pool, watch sports, chill (and smoke) by the fire pit on the patio, or listen to some tunes on the jukebox. Sometimes you can even catch live music! They make room for the bands in a corner of the bar, no stage, for an intimate rehearsal-in-the-garage feel.
You’ll find mixed reviews on the service, which, honestly, The Dive Bar Tourist loves to see. It means you won’t find any fake, customer-service smiles. If you want a nice experience, you’ve gotta be nice in return. It’s a simple idea, but some entitled, high-class bar-goers seem to struggle with that golden rule.
The Forest Club has a hilarious, rotating “Top Five Reasons to Drink Here” list, which demonstrates just how fun this place is. We’ve picked a few of our favorites:
- Our Irish Car Bombs don’t explode.
- One of our regulars thinks he’s Abraham Lincoln.
- One of our bartenners is a 5 time spelling be runer-up
- Jonathan was named Ukiah’s Handsomest Bartender by his grandmother.
Most bars these days seem to feel obligated to have food, but The Forest Club sticks to the essentials. Find the usual bottled and draft beers: PBR, Coors Light, Guinness, Corona, Blue Moon, etc. Most of the hard liquor is instantly recognizable, too: Beefeater, Captain Morgan, Crown, etc.
According to our research, complaints about the place consist mainly of “crowded,” “long waits,” and “dirty bathroom.” So, here’s your (warning) sign: It’s a dive bar!
The exterior of The Forest Club is lackluster at best, with strange, green paneled siding and not much to let you know it’s a bar except for the neon sign sporting a cocktail above the door. There’s graffiti on some of the vacant buildings nearby, and the area might be a little bit questionable.
But walking inside is like opening the door of a plain, old wardrobe and finding Narnia. Warmth, friendly folk, good drinks, and a night to remember are sure to find you at The Forest Club.
Located in: Ukiah, California
Be sure to try: one of the happy hour specials! (7 days a week, 4-6pm)