The Glo Room Shines Thanks to Saucy Bartender Kay

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Taylor Hamby
Kay behind the bar at the Glo Room
[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 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.]

"If this drink makes me throw up or gives me a hangover, I'm never coming back," a young woman said to our bartender.

"Shut up and take it," the bartender snapped back.

That's Kay, the blond spitfire who runs busy nights at the infamous Glo Room in Anaheim by herself--with precision and a low tolerance for bullshit. She's petite, even in her high-wedge shoes, with a Carol Brady haircut that's bleached on top and has patches of black underneath. She told me she does her own hair--apparently in her past life, she owned a beauty salon.

But that was 30 years ago, and she's been here at the Glo Room ever since. "I been here so long, I serve the grandpa, the son and now the grandson," she said. "The grandsons hit on me, and I tell them, 'Your grandpa hit on me. Your dad hit on me. I don't fuck them. What make you think I fuck you?'"

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C'est Si Bon Has Been Slinging Drinks Since the Eisenhower Years

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Taylor Hamby
The Midnight Gin Mary
[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 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.]

"There's some great shit about this shithole," the brunette young lady yelled out the door to the man in the bright-green tee and giant black cowboy hat as he walked to the parking lot. "And I'm one of 'em!"

Welcome to C'est Si Bon, the Westminster watering hole that has slung stiff drinks at blue-collar prices since the 1950s, as the city transformed from farmland to tract homes to Little Saigon. The liquor selection is ample and stored on shelves above the bar, and though there are no beers on tap, the offerings lightly flirt with the craft-brew world. Fresh coffee is always kept brewing, perfect for when they open at 6 a.m. or to keep you going until last call at 2 in the morn'. Manning the bar for the past 11 years has been Susan, a blonde well-known and loved by the die-hard regulars. She's polite, attentive and knows when you're ready for another drink, often before you realize it.

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Chatting With Christ and Coherent Christopher at the Bee Hive

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Taylor Hamby
[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 color of the evening was blue--not blue in the sentimental way or the musical blues, but because the Bee Hive is the hue blue. From the identifying awning outside that's the color of a Dodger's cap to the baby-blue walls to the sapphire-toned bartops, this Huntington Beach dive is coated in blue's various shades. I don't know why--maybe Tobias Fünke is a co-owner?

The most colorful character of the evening was wearing the color, too--a navy-blue, long-sleeved T-shirt--while playing Golden Tee in the front corner of the room. As I passed him on my way outside for a smoke, he blurted out, "Do you even eat pussy, bro?!" apparently yelling at an online opponent from Minnesota whose username was, fittingly, Meow.
When I came back inside, our blue-shirted blurter had moved to the other side of the bar from where I sat. A man drinking a chilled schooner of an amber-colored beer sat a few seats down to my right.

"My name is Christopher, but I go by Christ," Blue Shirt Man said, raving.


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Tustin Inn Is a Soggy Slice of the American Dream

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Taylor Hamby
[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.]

More dives around Orange County need to have swinging saloon doors at the entrance. And more taxidermy. Luckily, the Tustin Inn--which doesn't seem to have been freshened up since the Ford administration--has both. This gem, along with neighboring Godfather's, looks out of place on the side of a sterile strip mall in Tustin. One could imagine Hunter S. Thompson stumbling in and proclaiming he'd found the American Dream--then getting his ass kicked by Hells Angels.

Taxidermied wild boar heads are perched behind the bar, with silly hats and headbands hanging off the tusks and ears; across the room, a buffalo's head stares them down. A painting of John Wayne (the same image Wally George had on The Hot Seat, actually) sits in the corner by the entrance; various state flags line the top of the walls. A cigarette machine stands in the middle of the room and the light-up advertisement on top proclaims, "Winston. America's Best." There are stacks of this infernal rag on top of the machine.
I went one weekday afternoon, and the crowd appeared to be the mostly after-work bunch, as indicated by the loosened ties and men in business attire. The bartender served me my draft beer with a smile, then went back to dishing with the man to my right. "You know how much that tattoo cost?" she asked him before answering a whispered, "$800."

"That's how much tattoos cost?" said buzzed-cut businessman. "People pay that much for hookers!" Priorities.


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Day-Drinking at Jeanie's Dirty Martini

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Taylor Hamby
[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.]

Despite the fact this bar is called Jeanie's Dirty Martini, all 20 or so of us there were drinking one of the eight beers on draft. Everyone, that is, except Steve. Steve had an olive-green baseball cap and a jacket on indoors. In front of him sat a half-empty highball glass with what resembled a vodka tonic. He was the kind of guy who makes day-drinking interesting, even though the mixture of this gloomy rainy day and the dark, black light-lit bar in Cypress made it hard to remember we were drinking at 2 p.m. on a Sunday.

Lady bartender Shannon pulled out a big, blue rubber dishwashing glove and put it on. "That's what she uses to examine me with," said skinny, white-haired Steve.
"That's right," Shannon bounced back. "Bend over, motherfucker."
This was about the fifth crass remark Steve had dropped in the 10 minutes I'd been at the bar. "I'm surprised she doesn't kick you out," another patron said to Steve.
"She tells me to leave, but I just stay," he joked.


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Finding Friendly Bostonians at the Huddle

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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.]

The Huddle is an OC staple, cool enough to attract Costa Mesa hipsters yet unpretentious enough to cater to obvious transplants sporting workshirts with un-ironic cut-off sleeves, cowboy hats and beer bellies. Young, old, shitfaced and composed: All are welcome at the Huddle--if you're brave enough to venture past the neighboring sex shop and through the bar's windowless, concrete façade. But it's such a hospitable, comfy place, with cheap booze and open pool tables, that one of my friends accidentally used the ladies room that night, despite the clear signage. He had only had half a beer at that point.

On one recent venture to the Huddle, we passed a man selling assorted baseball caps, all displayed on the hood of a sedan parked in front of the entrance. The market for drunken sports fans going out for a smoke must be lucrative here. Inside, a block of old-school Modest Mouse spewed from the jukebox, put on by a man with an Anaheim Ducks tattoo on the back of his hand and mutually enjoyed by our bartender, who sported slicked-back hair and a red checkered shirt.


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Bamboo Lounge Is the Last of the Steam-Powered Tiki Bars

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Taylor Hamby
[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.]

It was 3:30 on a Sunday afternoon, and the parking lot had a few cars and three beautiful, shiny Harleys. I was walking into one of OC's unlikeliest places for a neighborhood bar: the backroom of a Jewish deli.

Separated from the rest of the classic Benjies in SanTana hides Bamboo Lounge, a kitschy tiki-style bar with bamboo-lined walls and vintage tropical tablecloths--along with Trader Sam's Enchanted Tiki Money Pit at the Disneyland Hotel, Don the Beachcomber and 320 Main on Tuesday nights, it's one of the last of the steam-powered tiki lounges in a region that invented the genre. Walking in, I figured the owners of those motorcycles would be at the Bamboo, not in the diner . . . and I was right.

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Hy Roy Lounge: The Place That Shan't Be Named

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Taylor Hamby
[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.

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Blondie's Is Where El Modena High Goes to Die

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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.]

I was sitting alone in this dark, very brown saloon, the only fully clothed female. A few TVs silently flashed sports. It had been dead quiet before a guy finally wandered over to the retro-looking jukebox. I whispered along to "Highwayman" by the Highwaymen until the thunderous riff that introduces "Los Angeles" by X burst into my ears.

Funny, I thought. I had never heard X in a bikini bar before, and funny that the girl who first taught me about the band also told me about Blondie's--in seventh grade. You see, her dad would hang out here until it was time to pick her up from Santiago Middle School down the road. And that's pretty close to the crowd here: middle-aged men, day drinkers and male El Modena High alumni finally old enough to drink. No, this ain't the place to pick up women, but rather to escape from the ones in your life for a bit. Even though the bartenders are female and barely clothed, Blondie's isn't a dating service for them, though our gal of the evening was professionally flirtatious.


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Blackie's By the Sea Has the Coldest Beer in Town--And the Oldest Men

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Taylor Hamby
[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.]

There's a framed sign dated 2013 hanging on the wall at Blackie's By the Sea, hidden among decades of old photos and nautical taxidermy, commemorating a man for 50 years of drinking there. Let that soak in for a moment. This man has swilled at this seaside bar longer than the average American marriage lasts. He was sipping beer here before the Beatles invaded America. How's that for commitment?

I've never met the man honored, but I imagine he'd tell me that Blackie's hasn't changed much since it opened in 1953, even as Newport Beach turned from a playground for the rich into a playground for the ultra-rich. The biggest difference is Zooport is nowadays an all-seasons destination, so the bar is open year-round instead of just from June to August, as in the 1950s and '60s. But it has remained the Peninsula's ultimate spot, only taking cash and serving $3 beers as the photos on the wall fade with age and from the sunlight that shines in from the beach through the open doors and windows. The mounted fish, life preservers and vanity plates hanging throughout are coated in dust, and the blue-and-black-painted bar back is falling apart, chipped and decaying from years of spilled drinks and frequent use.

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