Drinking With Bart Simpson At Turcs
[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.]
Taylor Hamby / OC Weekly
I could smell the ocean as I walked the few steps from my car to the mouth of the Hobbit hole that is Turcs. The overgrown foliage engulfing the outside is a familiar sight along this stretch of PCH--the bar has been here since 1953, after all.
Thoughts of a less-than-welcome last visit crossed my thoughts. I had pissed off a weekend night bartender about a year ago after commenting on her slow service. "Who the fuck even wants this girl here?" she yelled to the bar. "Raise your hand if you even like this bitch!"
The patrons on the patio responded with an enthusiastic, "Yes!" But the experience left a sour taste in my mouth, and I hadn't returned since--until now.
This time, how would the real regulars, the Sunset residents in the bar before sunset, take me?
There was an elderly gentleman on the stool nearest the door. "Hi!" I said, unsure if he was checking I.D.s or just looking out the door.
"Hi! How are you?" he responded in a very friendly manner.
Sam has haunted Turcs since its opening day (back when it was spelled with a K). Oh, how I wish I had heard the stories he could have told--if he had knocked back whiskey with John Wayne or Errol Flynn, since the local lore insists both screen gods were regulars--but his son soon came to pick him up.
I then pulled up to the bar, where longtime bartender Joy greeted me by pouring shots of Fireball. It was 4 p.m. The interior is even more charming than the outside, with two fish tanks behind the bar and other old nautical décor, such as the shelving holding the liquor made of badass anchor chain. There's a cozy fireplace to sit by in the front bar room, and pool tables and bathrooms in the back.
The man sitting next to me, wearing a red Wizard of Oz tee and blue puffy vest, quickly engaged me in conversation. "Name's Bart, like Simpson, as in the show," he said, putting out his hand. He has met The Simpsons creator Matt Groening ("However you say it," he says) twice, and he told the cartoonist he owes him residuals because he's the real-life version of Bart Simpson.