[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.
Shannon seemed to take our eternal jokester in stride and said, "No, I'd never kick you out, Steve."
After she was done washing the pint glasses, she held the blue glove up to a fan behind the bar. "Look, she's drying out her con-dom," commented Steve. "You know you shouldn't reuse condoms."
"That looks a little small for a condom," chirped the young man in a baseball cap and hoodie, sitting to my left. Steve started hooting and hollering like Wolfie out of Tex Avery's Red Hot Riding Hood, but his delivery was more Rodney Dangerfield, repeating bits like this in between blonde jokes: "Like my first wife. Boy, was she ugly. She was so ugly we were making love one day, and we got booed by a peeping Tom!"
And, yes, he punctuated it with "No respect; I get no respect!"
The rest of the crowd at Jeanie's congregated around the hightop bar tables, sharing pitchers of beer. One guy played at one of the six high-tech dartboard stations, and no one played pool in the hours I was there, despite it being free on Sundays. There's a full bar on offer, too, but it went largely untouched while I was there, save for Steve's vodka tonics and my order of a $4 Bloody Mary special. Jäger and Fireball are on tap, and behind the bar, there's a metal rack with 27 clips to hang up chips. A handwritten sign advertises "Chips $1," but the rack was empty. Whoever was controlling the Internet jukebox was picking some choice tunes: "Sunny Afternoon" by the Kinks, plus such classic-rock sing-alongs as the Animals' "House of the Rising Sun" and Jefferson Airplane's "White Rabbit." But the one song that got all of the gray-haired men and even the young-lady bartender and myself singing along was Dr. Hook's version of Shel Silverstein's "The Cover of the Rolling Stone." Steve went to the back and returned with a large bucket of ice, which he dumped in the ice tray behind the bar. He took the last sip of his highball glass and told me, "Come back soon."
Later, the young men to my left in the hoodies and baseball caps incoherently told me a story about a fight that went down at this very bar the night before that involved them, a white-boy gang and a pair of transvestites accosting them with daggers on the ends of their umbrellas. Um, what?
I sucked up the last bits of my Bloody Mary, then headed to the parking lot. Directly across from the bar sits Forest Lawn Mortuary. I wondered if this was a strategic placement for a bar while hopping in the passenger seat of my ride.
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GO HERE FOR: Your post-funeral fix. FAVORITE PIECE OF FLAIR: The "Wall of Shame" featuring debaucherous pictures of customers.
Jeanie's Dirty Martini, 4360 Lincoln Ave., Cypress, (714) 826-0570.