Monday, July 21, 2008

Enjoy It Now Because After College It's Called Alcoholism

I really need to stop drinking at bars.

Well, not really, but my wallet right now is definitely feeling a ton lighter than it did two weeks ago. Somehow, it panned out that I was able to hit up not one, not two, not three, not four, not you get the point but nine bars this week (one night consisted of going to four bars as it was my best friend Surferdude's 21st birthday). One of the bars, as you've already read, was the magical Veranda Bar. Here's some shortened critiques of places Los Angeles offers to the drinker:

1. Dimples (3413 W. Olive Ave., Burbank, CA 91504)--Wednesday Night

Fuck Dimples. Fuck Dimples because it can go to hell. Wednesday night was the second time I went to Dimples, and it was the second time they screwed me over. Let's time travel back to about a month ago. Buckner, Boy Band, Chickenshit, Jelf (I'm hoping you've noticed by now that these are all nicknames), E.N.D., Cogan, Ravette, and I went for some good ole karaoke. This bar is a staple in the near-Hollywood district. The minute you walk in you are bombarded by kitschy flair and lights everywhere. The walls are adorned by TV screens showcasing either karaoke lyrics or the actual performers on stage. The place is just kind of a spectacle in high quality trashy bling. We went on a jampacked Saturday night littered with groups of girls celebrating birthdays. Rumor was that you had to tip the "Songmaster" in order to sing on stage. We tipped him $40 bucks. Two hours later, as we all got pretty wasted, we still had not sung. He kept promising us we would get to sing, and we kept waiting and drinking and waiting and drinking. When we finally concluded that we would not be singing that night, I said fuck this, stole the bouncer's cigarettes, and stormed out. Everyone followed suit. This past Wednesday they served my friend Pearl a gin-and-tonic minus the gin. There were only 15 people in the whole damn bar, and we still did not get to sing. Fuck Dimples.

2. Firefly (11720 Ventura Blvd., Studio City, CA 91604) / The Spot (17200 Ventura Blvd.) - Thursday Night

I feel like Firefly came straight out of Swingers (1996). You know that scene where Mikey and his friend are looking for the bar, and Mikey says something along the lines of you know it's cool if there's no sign at the front? Yeah, that's Firefly. This hidden gem is probably the best of Studio City. While there's no sign out front, the ivy-covered front is a clear giveaway. What a classy reception area there was! Crimson red walls and velvet red couches adorn the library-themed reception area, which is directly situated across from the inside bar. It only gets better as you are greeted by the outside patio consisting of cabanas and candles on the left, a fireplace in the middle, another bar to the far right, and an A-shaped rooftop that expands to the outside sky and outside greenery. Drinks were about middle-priced with a dirty martini costing 10 bucks and a Maker's Mark Whiskey on the Rocks somewhere around the figure of 11-12 dollars.

Pro: Smoking outside welcome and the food looked delicious
Con: Erratic music. We came in hearing the seductive sounds of Portishead and then were treated to Green Day, Outkast, and Johnny Cash. It was like someone put their iPod on shuffle.

After some delicious drinks, Gladly, Wonderful, Balboa, and I decided that we needed a quick fix, so we hit up local high school hot spot / hookah bar The Spot. Although I'm of college age, I still do enjoy this smoke-tinged, strip malling, Persian-packed palace in Encino. Sure, it literally is in a strip mall, right next to a GNC and Kumon, but it's all under the Valley's skyline, and they offer amazing hookah and Black Tea. Definitely a great nightcap.

3a. Don and Cyn's Hideaway (12122 Kagel Canyon Rd., Sylmar, CA) - Friday Night, 8 p.m.

You know those bars in old western films or those trashy local cowboy bars in modern films? The Hideaway is exactly what you'd imagine, but more realistic: the bartender was this very friendly middle-aged, cigarette-reeking matron; a jukebox occupied the right corner; the back room sported the pool table and darts board; the outside patio held treasures meant to be sold only at garage sales. Surferdude had always wanted to go to this place because it's really close to his house. At first I was hesitant because he had brought a switchblade "for protection in case shit went down," but I later found the place to be quite charming. The schooner special (a huge goblet of beer) helped a bit, too. Apparently, the place gets poppin' on Friday and Saturday nights when live blues and western bands play. For a cowboy-frickin', finger-lickin' good time, and for an experience out of your safety bubble, I highly recommend this place.

3b. Jake's Billiards and Bar (38 W. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, CA) - Friday Night, 10:30 p.m.

A sweet hole-in-the-wall billiards hall and bar where couples and singles gather to drink, shoot around, and watch sports on the three flat panel TVs. With a bar in the far left corner, fifteen (relatively inexpensive) pool tables make up the rest of the bar. Surferdude and I met up with Kiddo and ordered a round of delicious Boilermakers (a shot of whiskey and a beer chaser, for the inexperienced) and went to play some pool, where Kiddo and I were dominated by Surferdude and his buddy Joe, who came later. The thing that makes this place stand out is the 40 oz. mugs of beer they serve. Trust me, for 7 bucks, these things fuck you up good. And with a DJ mixing classic rock with hip-hop that night and no pool hustlers in sight, a good time was had by all.
3c. Fred's Mexican Cafe / Wokcano Restaurant and Bar (119 E. Colorado / 33 S. Fair Oaks, Pasadena) - Friday Night, 11:45-12:50 p.m.

Surferdude and I were getting sloppy by this time. Somehow the topic of a Flaming Shot had become the focal point of the conversation, so the four of us went on a mission to find a place that served a flaming shot. Alcohol? Fire? Drink? Drunk? What more could you ask for in America? In my inebriated mental state, I somehow figured that a Mexican bar would be the most likely candidate to serve such a drink, so we made our way to Fred's Mexican Cafe (formerly Moose McGillycuddy's). To our dismay, the bar did not serve any flaming shots for safety regulations (whatever the fuck that means). However, the bartender somehow coaxed Surferdude and myself to drink something called the Duck Fart. It's just your typical mix of 1/2 oz. Jack Daniels, 1/2 oz. amaretto almond liqueur, and 1/2 oz. Bailey's Irish Cream. While the shot certainly picked us up (even though it tasted like ass, hence the Duck Fart), the bar was dead. We left to continue our quest for the Flaming Shot.

Wokcano did not pan out. It was jam packed with weird-looking Goth locals, the bar was tiny and expensive, and no Flaming Shot was served for "safety regulations" (whatever the fuck that means). We left after 5 minutes. Not much to say about this place.

4. The 901 Bar and Grill (a.k.a. The 9-0) (2902 S. Figueroa St., Los Angeles, CA)-Saturday Night

I don't know if I was drunk and made this up or I've actually heard it being said, but there's an old saying that says, "If you remember you're night at the 9-0, you didn't have a good time." My friends and I try to live by this motto every time we go, no matter how much we really don't want to go. Because here's the thing about the 9-0: no matter how shitty the place is (it's one room with a bar and some tables, no matter how dirty it is (people sweat beads, people spill drinks, sex goes on in the bathroom every now and then), no matter how bad the crowd is (you're bound to run into an ex-girlfriend or boyfriend at the 9-0, or someone you just hate, because everyone goes to the 9-0), you will always end up at the 9-0. It's that bar that years later USC graduates will think back and look fondly upon with so many memories. Sure, the drinks are overpriced and not that good. Sure, one Jack and Coke will be the gateway to you kissing porcelain. Sure, there's really not much to do there. But in the end, the 9-0 is there for you to get ridiculously drunk, hook-up, and ultimately make bad decisions that will inevitably lead to great stories. The bar is packed with gorgeous girls and fraternity boys looking to forget that it's a Thursday night and they have an exam the next morning. It's a place where college kids get to be college kids. I'm not a fan of it now, but I'll miss it when it's gone.

Just remember, kids: enjoy it now, because after college, it's called alcoholism.


ellen virginia said...

kadrian, sounds like you´re having a great summer and doing the exploring of la that i cant (i miss the sun!). and yes, i am more than honored to be on your cool blogs list. i´m actually going to be in london in the fall, so´ll i´ll have to live through you vicariously to get my la fix. hope all is well, ellen

Anonymous said...

you have until thursday night.

best of luck.