[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 reporter Matt Coker stumbles into the dive bar scene to find crazy stories, meet random weirdos and guzzle good booze.]
Which came first: Costa Mesa or Mi Casa? It seems as if the Mexican cantina has been on 17th Street forever. That also describes how long it's been since my last visit. On a recent afternoon, I ventured inside its Burro Room, where I found a crowd of presumed regulars darkening the stools in front of the medium-length bar, as well as people waiting to join the restaurant's lunch crowd at tables ringing the rectangular room.
If you're facing the bar, you'll be looking into a large-screen television hanging from the east-end wall. If your back is to the bar, three more big-screens hang from each of the three surrounding walls. Tall bar-lounge tables with stools run down the middle of the room. The west-end wall facing the bar has an extra-long padded booth seat that appears to hold about 30 people (or 15, if they are from Iowa). Small tables are positioned every few feet, with seats on the other side to allow smaller parties to portion off the long booth. Four-person tables make a U-shape to the entryway leading into the main restaurant.