Hot Shots in La Habra Has a Helluva Reputation for Debauchery and Crude Lads

Taylor Hamby / OC Weekly
[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 weekly 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.]

With tales of drug dealing, tire-slashing and my friend going home with a woman twice his age, how could I not visit Hot Shots in La Habra? I rolled up on a Tuesday night to its welcoming committee: a group of men smoking on the patio. A couple of them piped up and apologized for how slow it was inside. They should've apologized for how nice it was instead: Everything was big and clean, and a second room toward the back featured five pool tables and two electronic dart boards. Most all the furniture looked relatively new, the lights were on bright, and the massive flat-screens behind the bar alternated between sports and Comedy Central's Brickleberry. No music, just the crude humor of the cartoon and the inviting smell of warm food filled the two rooms.

Perhaps my friends were exaggerating when they said this is the type of place where someone is likely to pull out a gun?

I sat among four other patrons, all middle-aged males. The young guy working solo behind the bar greeted me with a smile. A Blue Moon for me, as usual. The beers on draft were decent, but the liquor on the wall was of a higher order than most neighborhood bars, with Blue Label on the bottom shelf. Feeling a bit hungry, I grabbed a menu casually before setting it down.

"Do you want something to eat?" the bartender asked. "My chef's almost off."

"No, not if he's leaving," I said.

"No, it's not a problem at all!"
he insisted.

I told him I'd like to try one of the one-buck tacos, but only if it wasn't too much trouble. He went back to the kitchen and returned. "I told my chef we have two new customers who want to try his tacos," he assured. "They only take a few minutes to whip up."

The taco arrived quickly and was warm, and you know what? It was the tastiest taco I've had for $1 this side of the 91. Soft corn tortilla, carne asada, and a generous helping of onions, cilantro and salsa--simple and delicious.

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