Hy Roy Lounge: The Place That Shan't Be Named
[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.]
When a bar has a reputation from other bartenders at seedy bars in the area as "The place that shall not be named," you know we're going. Such is the introduction I got for Hy Roy Lounge in Huntington Beach, from a nearby dive that's delightfully scummy, but shall remain nameless itself. Even our good friend Ace the Cab Driver, the unofficial Sage of Huntington Beach who gives guided tours of the wild city from his black Town Car like a bearded Jungle Cruise captain, has stories about Hy Roy. Like the time in the late 1980s when a drunk driver rammed his truck clear through the walls of the bar as though he were the Kool-Aid Man. Ohhh, yeah!
Hy Roy's location is quiet and unassuming, yet visible from the street. The tall, gray, brick building is devoid of windows, with the word cocktails painted on the side in large, fading letters; it can be easy to drive right by and never notice. And the locals who live within stumbling distance like it that way. It's your standard neighborhood bar with no frills and more wood than a Kate Upton video-viewing party.
But peel back some layers, go beneath all the free beer-company mirrors and metal signs, and you'll find the remnants of attempts to spruce up the joint. Giant black-and-white tiles checker the ceiling; half of the wall is covered with crimson-and-gold wallpaper, while the other half has wood paneling. The different styles form a trifecta of unassuming-beer-bar kitsch.
The crowd ranges from the young and hip, such as the gal wearing animal-print leggings and a black leather jacket, to the middle-aged man with a white beard and backward cap. For entertainment, three pool tables, three dart machines and Big Buck Hunter (unfortunately broken on our visit) are provided, but the best entertainment is listening to the regulars shoot the shit and the hilarious off-the-cuff remarks of the Melissa McCarthy-like bartender, Heidi. The comparison first struck me when she began talking about being a bridesmaid (perfect, right?). "Bridesmaid, blah, blah, fuck," she said in jest, pouring a cocktail.
"You don't want to be a bridesmaid?" asked a customer in a scarf next to me.
"Fuck NO," the bartender responded. "I keep getting text messages and emails . . . how excited everyone is, and ooh, the bachelorette party."