Outside Ed's Stumble Inn
Outside Ed's Stumble Inn
Taylor Hamby

Ed's Stumble Inn: Motivating Bar Rats to Exercise and Gamble Since 2009

[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.]

So you've been to pub crawls, but how about a pub cycle? Ed's Stumble Inn in Fountain Valley has been hosting one for a few years now, with bicyclists stopping in for a drink there, as well as four other bars, until everyone is wobbling, resembling kids riding without their training wheels. Pay the Stumble a $10 entry fee, and you also get to play poker--each bar gives you a card, and the highest and lowest hands win at the end of the night. It's always a boozy funfest, but the iteration on May 19 was the best so far:

The folks at Johnny's Saloon in Huntington Beach (specifically bombshell bartender Panties) collaborated with the Stumble, and instead of the winners pocketing the pot, the money sent a military vet to a San Diego vacation. But the two poker winners weren't stiffed; each won a $100 bar tab at Johnny's.

Now, I despise exercise, and I fall asleep if I drink before 6 p.m., but the promise of giving a service member of our fair country a nice weekend away and visiting five bars in a few hours' time made this irresistible. I rolled up to Johnny's at noon, and the entrance to the bar was already lined with dozens of bikes--a funny sight because a row of motorcycles is a more fitting sight for the front of this dark cow-punk bar. Joe Huguenin explained the rules while participants pre-hydrated, and then we hopped on our bikes. I wonder what we looked like to passersby--stupid hipsters? A ragtag fitness group? Rehabbers? The guy carrying the dead hummingbird he found on the side of the road didn't help our cause at all.

The first stop was the Stumble, where the young-lady bartender explained the ropes: pace yourself, stick to beer and don't be the idiot who falls. For some reason, I felt as though that was going to be me. When everyone finally made it to the bar, Huguenin went around to let us draw cards. I started off strong with a queen of clubs. But before I was even done chugging, we were off.

We rode 2 miles down Magnolia Street to Fitzgerald's Pub. Despite warnings from fellow riders that my high-top Chucks were untied, I was too lazy to stop to tie them. Right on cue, my right shoelace got caught in the chain, and with each pedal forward, I became more immobile. I fell onto the sidewalk as gracefully as I could. I knew it was going to be me! I even had forewarning!

I got up with only an injury to my ego and continued on to the pub. The rest of our stops (Max's Sports Grill and Shooters, gracias for playing!) played out similar to the first: Our group of fitness misfits swarmed into an otherwise-quiet sports bar/pub, bombarded the bartender with dozens of drink orders, pulled cards from Huguenin and either cheered or cursed, chugged down our drinks, then rode off to the next destination. When we were finished, we rode the few blocks back to Johnny's, and I found myself surprised. First, we were not as drunk as I pictured we would be.

Perhaps it was the mild workout between drinks or the one-drink-per-hour pace we were following, but my sobriety level after five bars was pleasantly surprising. Second, despite it being a 7-mile ride (something this bar rat never does), the trip was far from exhausting. The worst part was the devil hill on Garfield Avenue and Newland Street; nearly everyone hopped off their bikes to walk them up.

Free pizza greeted us at Johnny's, where Joe tallied up our hands. Little Liz won with four sevens, while Eric got the prize for the "worst piece-of-shit hand." Your humble reporter ended up with a pair of queens but left feeling happy because this event gives you a handful of reasons to validate your day drinking: exercise, charity, supporting small businesses, winning crap--take your pick!

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "That's why everybody likes to party with Kyle! 'Cuz he don't give no fuck!" said Johnny's bartender Howdy Doody, while throwing coasters as though they were throwing stars across the bar.

FAVORITE FLAIR: One chick had a bubble machine built onto the back of her beach cruiser, covering our tipsy trip with soapy spheres! Ed's Stumble Inn, 8896 Warner Ave., Fountain Valley, (714) 841-6245.

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