Brian's Beer and Billiards Offers Solace Far From the Maddening Coeds
[Editor's Note: We all know local music and dive bars go hand-in-hand. So in the interest of merging the two together on Heard Mentality, we bring you our newest nightlife column Dive, Dive, My Darling. Read as our bold web editor, Taylor "Hellcat" Hamby, stumbles into the dive bar scene every week to find crazy stories, meet random weirdos and guzzle good booze.]
The second time I went to Brian's Beer and Billiards in Fullerton, I sat down at the bar and flagged down the barkeep with those wide, attentive, "Hey, I'm thirsty" eyes. Even though the young man had presumably served a hundred customers since he last saw me, he knew what beer I wanted, what size glass I wanted it in and, hell, even my drinking partner's order from last time: a schooner of Fullerton's finest, Bootlegger's Palomino.
"Hey! You have a good memory," I said, surprised. Tyler (as I later learned) smiled and shrugged it off. He may have not acted as though it were that big of a deal, but it's a gesture that goes miles with returning customers. The next thing is the bar's extensive beer selection, of course. Sure, it's a beer joint, but you'll barely miss the booze thanks to the beers on tap, bottled and canned. There are the dive-bar staples--the most popular domestics and their light counterparts--as well as brews from local boys such as Bootlegger's.
"We're not like Hero's or anything," the bartender qualifies before telling me how many beers the bar carries (16 on tap and about 30 bottled).
"Good," I said. Not to slight the fellow Fullerton bar--whose beer selection is amazing--but you can't just sit down and enjoy your beer on your own terms on a Friday night due to the large crowds blocking every walkway, not to mention feral packs of squawking coeds. Go into Brian's on a Friday, you'll find coeds, but you'll also find salty old bar flies and everyone in between.
Two things stand out about this quiet neighborhood fave: the service and the atmosphere. They have an attentive cocktail waitress on busy Friday nights--a rarity for many dives. She respects the sanctity of beer by asking you if you're done with the butt of your beer before clearing the glass.