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Beer Belle: 1939

Beer Belle: 1939

June 1939. "Dudes at bar. Birney, Montana." Medium format acetate negative by Arthur Rothstein for the Farm Security Administration. View full size.


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Pick me, American!

That Orange Crush cooler is just waiting for Frank or Mike or Danielle to drop in and start peeling off bills from a roll of fifties.

“Scrap” wood bar

Interesting how all the scraps used to create the bar are clear and knot-free.

Is that a slot machine?

That appears to be some type of revenue generator on the bar. The bar itself reminds me of my late father's type of construction. In his words it was " not much for looks but hell for strong."

Speaking of dudes.

Here is my aunt with a friend at a "Dude Ranch" somewhere out west. It was kind of a thing to go out and get all cowboyed up and hang out at the ranch back in the day.

Grabbing the gusto

Not quite an upscale gin mill, but the lady appears to be relishing her thirst quencher and doesn't care that there is not even one bar stool on which to sit. Looks like the bar is hand-built, there is no shade over the naked light bulb and it is only 4 p.m. (according to the clock on the shelf) since June in Montana can be pretty hot and we only go around once in life. Why wait until 5 p.m. to start drinking and who needs "ambiance"? The bartender has a contagious, magnetic smile and is happy to have customers.

Not going to make the obvious joke

about what appears to be a woman slugging back that beer, but of course "dude" meant something different in those days.

[Dudes are the guests at a dude ranch. - Dave]

Is "dude" gender specific?

I guess not, but I still prefer using "dudette" when referring to a woman.

[Dudes are the guests at a dude ranch. - Dave]


And right there, put in temptation's way next to the beer, is what appears to be a nickel slot machine--maybe a Daval?--with a small stash of cash ready to buy the next turn on the dials or the next beer, whichever seems the better idea.

Top Shelf

There's no denying that all the liquor proffered was — indeed — top shelf.

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