The Corner Pocket Is Stanton at Its Finest
[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 nightlife column Dive, Dive, My Darling. Read this week as our bold editor-in-chief, Gustavo Arellano stumbles into the dive bar scene to find crazy stories, meet random weirdos and guzzle good booze.]
Is it possible to do a story about a business in Stanton without making it all about . . . you know, Stanton? The answer, of course, is no. No other city colors everything and everyone within its limits like OC's most-ridiculed town. Run a fancy business such as Park Ave.? People inevitably mention the miracle of it existing in the Colton of Orange County. Own a sorta nice place? Critics will mention the city's frizzled masses, its excess of Breaking Bad scenarios playing out daily on Beach Boulevard, the sadness that is the City Council closing the parks a couple of years back because of a lack of funds to maintain them. And if a crazy crime occurs? Well, it is Stanton. . . .
Even this review of the Corner Pocket is all Stanton. The lowslung dive is a glorious time capsule of the 1980s, down to the shitty country music, cottage-cheese ceiling and cutouts of naked Playboy models in the men's room that find all the Bunnys shaved down to a wispy landing strip per the preference of yuppies. It's in an industrial area just down the street from Orco Block's headquarters and a block away from the awesomely named Standustrial Street. Right next door is the ever-growing Bethel Romanian Pentecostal Church, who'd no doubt try to save some souls at the Corner Pocket if they knew the fun going on inside. For here is rollicking beauty, the type of place where hipsters stay away in terror because this is working-class Orange County at its gnarliest. In other words? Stanton.
Dave the Mountain and I swung by early on a Saturday, and Neil Young and AC/DC were on full blast. On one side of the bar, patrons quietly nursed their drinks; the rest centered their talk on the two pool tables. True to its name, the Corner Pocket is a billiards bar, with numerous fliers advertising weekly tournaments and a sign letting patrons know games are free with a one-drink minimum.
Dave and I tried to talk, but the atmosphere was too surreal for mere chatter. Nothing but gawking for us: women wearing bandannas and Zig-Zag T-shirts with no sense of irony. White men in their 50s who never left the working class, all gnarled skin and squinty eyes borne from a lifetime of honest work. A gal in her 50s dressed in a frilled, faded blouse circa 1992. A token younger girlfriend, who writhed all over her grizzled guy in her Lululemon finest and even slow-danced with him to "Always and Forever."