Or cringe and check my wallet.
There’s the 901 Bar & Grill – “The Nine-O” – with its $10 Jack ‘n’ Coke pitchers, sticky floors and horrifying bathrooms a short stumble across the street from USC’s Fraternity Row. On the other side of campus stands 29th Street Cafe, which enjoyed a raucous patio and loyal clientele until it was temporarily shut down by the goons from ABC (the ID checkers, not the network). And who can remember pregame Mind Erasers at Traditions, in the basement of the student union. (What’s in a Mind Eraser, anyway?)
Back home in Pasadena sits Freddie’s 35er Bar – the “Dirty Diver” – the stench of spilled Budweiser and cigarette smoke wafting from the patio. Down Colorado Boulevard behind tall potted plants hides Lucky Baldwin’s, which serves a perfect Guinness to go with a game of darts upstairs.
In Manhattan Beach, we have Hennessey’s, one branch of a local chain that has a majestic view of the Pier and the Pacific from the patio near the fireplace. It was oh, so convenient to the Coffee Bean next door, where I read the newspaper following a morning run on The Strand. I lost my North Face jacket at Ercoles, a local hole-in-the-wall that, like a passed-out drunk bum, hasn’t moved from its location on Manhattan Boulevard since 1927. (Cash only, bro).
I first danced with the wife at Mister Days in Clarendon, a sports bar pretending be a club when the disco ball drops at 10 p.m. Said the bouncer: “You’re gonna have to take off that hat.” Real Irish with fake American accents run O’Sullivan’s, which offers a four-shot whiskey sampler on a stained wooden tray. Down Wilson Boulevard in Courthouse is Four Courts, sandwiched uncomfortably like a middle child between a bagel shop and a Chinese takeout joint.
Kenny Chesney, the beach poet, says it best:
I wonder where we go from here
Life ain’t over but it’s always near
I think about all the good times that we had
It makes me happy and it makes me sad
That’s what I see when I see this bar.