Best Neighborhood Bar, North OC - 2010
Brian's Beer and Billiards
Located inside an Albertsons shopping center, Brian's Beer and Billiards is easy to miss. It serves an interesting cross-section of Orange County's citizens: blue-collar workers, weekend warriors, business elite, sports fans—not to mention students attending nearby Cal State Fullerton. The unassuming space is full of kitschy sports memorabilia, pool tables, shuffleboard, dartboards and some cool conversation starters. Dig the authentic piece of the wrestling arena used in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. There's also an orange box atop one of the walls sprouting disconnected wires. Legend has it that years ago, bar owner Brian Fairley ran a Laundromat two doors down. Back then, as the washing machine's spindle twisted and turned, the launderer could jog over to Brian's and churn up some suds of his own. (Icy-cold schooners of beer were available then, as they are today.) When the clothes were dry, a light on the orange box would let the patron know. Though the Laundromat is long gone, there is a small portal in the wall behind the bar through which tender barbecued spare ribs, cole slaw and French fries are passed from the adjacent Big B's Barbecue. Tastes like home.