[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 newest 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.]
I have a confession, dear Duffy's owners: I was the asshole who puked in your sink after a shot of Cazadores decided it didn't want to stay in my stomach. I was the pendeja whose barf wouldn't drain. I'm sorry for the poor soul who had to clean it up and the gals who couldn't wash their hands that night.
I sincerely hope you'll let me back in (though I think my mishap went undetected until after I bailed) because the truth is, I like you, and I hope you can forgive my rookie move. I promise I'll work on holding my tequila better before I come back.
And for the readers at home, here's some reasons why I like this place and kinda feel bad about the whole spewing thing. (I admit I wouldn't feel so bad if it were a place on Main Street Huntington or Zooport.) It's the type of place where the shots get poured to the brim, the term "weeknight" doesn't hinder the crowd (in size and attitude), and coasters are only used on top of the glasses.
As you enter the La Habra bar through their sideways wooden-barrel-like door, the smell of smoke wafting in from the patio greets you, along with good ol' American roadhouse-type décor and beautiful wood-and-glass cabinetry with silver, grape-shaped handles. You can roll on up to the bar and order one of the six domestic beers on tap or a shot from the full liquor bar. And if you're feeling really lucky, grab a lotto ticket or two.
There are plenty of ways to entertain yourself, be it Big Buck Hunter World (the Dance Dance Revolution of blue-collar bars in OC), darts, a stage presumably for live music, watching the game on TV or the Internet jukebox. My favorite diversion is the claw machine that features Marlboros and money in plastic Easter eggs as prizes--50 cents a try. But the patrons really seem to gravitate toward pool, with quarters lining the sides of the two tables as though chrome on a Cadillac Fleetwood. And just in case gals need to relieve themselves, the ladies' room is clean and pink, has two stalls, and smells nice. You might run into one girl trying to console another as I did, but at least you won't be forced to play a game of "Guess That Stench!"
Speaking of, I was sitting at the bar when a scent found at rock concerts and in my uncle's garage came wafting through the bar. The patrons' reactions were entertaining--suddenly everyone was a comedian. Wisecracks included "Seriously! Share the wealth, man!" and "Hey, did you fart?" and "I've smelled that cologne before!" Duffy's offers that type of easy living for the working stiff. And if you ain't? A young, hip type such as myself sticks out here, and the clientele will notice--and comment. One pool player who had the slurs told me I look as though I belong in Berkeley. I told him I was too stupid to go to Berkeley--it was OCC for me! Most of the people I witnessed were in their thirties and forties, and anyone wearing more than a T-shirt and jeans looked out of place. The second time I went, the gal-to-guy ratio evened out.
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If you go for a night drinking session, you'll likely be served by Jay, who habitually wears Angels jerseys and has a shaved head and pierced ears. He's not particularly hospitable (to a newcomer like me at least), but he will put down your drink with a smile. He does a solid job in running the bar single-handedly on a full night.
After a pitcher of Shock Top and the dreaded two shots of tequila, I decided to call it a night. I knew it was a good night because I lit the wrong end of a cigarette on the car ride home. Whoops.
BEST QUOTE OF THE NIGHT: "Drinking is like a reverse Snapple cap--the answers are at the bottom of the glass." FAVORITE PIECE OF FLAIR: The cigarette-dispensing claw machine, fo sho.