Alligator Lizards in the Air

Lurleen and I took off for California.

Following a meander through San Bernadino and the suburbs, we chanced upon Pasadena. Pasadena is like its own city that just happens to be surrounded by L.A. suburbs, except for the mountains on the backside. Boulder, Colorado is much the same way – a real city among bedroom communities – except on a way smaller scale.  Because it did not have the buffers of open space and giant toxic military nuke dumps (Rocky Flats) like Boulder to keep the creeping hordes of HOA controlled pink tile roof suburbs at bay, Pasadena just blends in to the sea of San Barfdale-a-dena communities surrounding L.A.

At least on a map.

We rolled in from the east on old highway 66.  it was immediately clear that Pasadena was more like a shorter Chicago than the trailer park ranches of a metro suburb like Apache Junction AZ.

But enough about that.

Dinner was a walk away from the hotel, in whatever meandering path seemed like a good idea at the time.  As we wandered, we enjoyed the fact of alleys.  Looking down one, i saw this:

Old Town Tavern
A hidden bar

Mental note created.

After dinner at a restaurant/ coffee house/ dance club (depending on the hour), we wound our way back through the streets and alleys to that one strange place – there was no direct street access – just a dark alley or an arched corridor that did not allow you to see both the bar and the street from either end.  And no sign except “Pub.”

Cue the flashback to “Vamp.”  But this was not the “After Dark Club.”  This was the old town pub.  It’s not really a “dive” since most of the beers are $7.  On the bright side, the beer girls are smokin’ and i talked one of them into a MHL draft for my last $3. The bands were shitty and loud, with no room to bounce around, but the house setup guys were flaky and friendly.   The seats were useless – don’t bother.

On the dive bar scale, this rates below the MeatCutter in Detroit

  • price
  • dive-y-ness felt like an affectation; ultimately inauthentic
  • price
  • neighborhood – old town Pasadena is somewhat incongruous with true dives
  • hipsters – duh
  • bar girls were tattooed like hipsters, not like freaks
  • points for creepy location in the middle of conspicuous wealth

Best of all, we were not marked and connectionless loners and made subject to the vampire queen’s whims. Being close to Hollywood does not mean life plays out like in Hollywood.  Maybe next time, Grace Jones.

(Also of note:  everybody is running a game, especially the open heart surgery CDCR psychologist with the cynical view of due process and the theories about motivation via prison rape. Don’t know what the goal was, but the con was on. No pun intended.)

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