The 405 is slammed from the 55 to Long Beach. Harbor Boulevard is a parking lot. The industrial and office parks surrounding the South Coast Collection (SOCO) shopping center in Costa Mesa are emptying out, with thousands of employees resigned to spending the next hour or so in traffic hell.
Portraits by Danny Liao and Dustin Ames
Refuge is needed. At the Iron Press, on the northeastern edge of SOCO, the bar is already filled with people getting at the restaurant's waffle sandwiches and craft beers. Diners wear suits, pricy kicks, flip-flops and almost all the other fashions en vogue in Southern California. Three doctors, still wearing their scrubs after a day at work, relax with brews. At a side table, young friends look at their phones, framing the perfect photo of their food for Instagram or Snapchat.
Running around to make sure everyone's having a great time is Iron Press owner Leonard Chan. "What'll you have now?" he asks two patrons at the bar who had just finished their drinks. "I see two people and no beers."
One group obviously dominates the customer base: Asian-Americans.More »