Enter sports to save you. They're popular, they're inoffensive (for the most part), and they're often the one overlap between people who have otherwise wildly different interests. It's unlikely the guy who looks like a sentient incarnation of Walmart's Duck Dynasty aisle is interested in hearing about the pretentious indie video game I've been playing, but if he saw even a bit of the football game last night we suddenly have the basis for a polite 10-minute conversation instead of long stares into our drinks while I wonder if he's ever killed a man and he wonders if the sight of blood would make me faint.
Sports are a great option for small talk because they're easy to bring up naturally (just point at whatever game's on the bar's TV and go), people actually like talking about sports instead of the weather or their job, and once you start you can go forever. You can trade statistics and debate opinions all night, or if you'd rather not carry a conversation you just have to nod and say "uh huh" at the right intervals. You can always count on a sports fan to ramble through a void.
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"We're definitely losing this case. Also, go Bears."