Photo by Matt Otto "Ginger, dear," the old lady was calling, tugging at the waitress' shirt like an impatient four-year-old. "Somebody changed the channel. Can you please ask them to switch it back to the game?"
Priceless: it was halftime, and Notre Dame was losing anyway, but to this old lady—the most feisty silver-haired septuagenarian we've ever encountered—and her fellow silver-haired football fans, watching Halls cough-drop commercials and snoring through the Notre Dame half-time report was better than watching the teensiest second of the USC game.
Minutes earlier, we'd pulled up to Silky Sullivan's expecting to find a sleepy pub and a handful of Irish fans squinting as they watched the Notre Dame game on the smallest TV in the bar—this is Trojan country, after all, and even the most Blarney pubs go Roman on Saturdays, it seems—but instead, we found 30 green shirts watching the game on at least three large screens. Oh, the USC game was on, too, but that was in the backroom, out of sight and—even better—hearing range of the Irish fans.
By the time our breakfast of corned-beef hash and a pint of Stella Artois arrived at the start of the second half, the old lady was sis-boom-bahing her way around the table and rallying her friends for the kickoff, only we felt like cheering for a different reason. Finally: after two seasons of searching for a suitable bar to watch Notre Dame games—and not be relegated to a backroom, hee!—we'd struck gold at Silky's. Better yet, we'd just recently moved right around the corner—a little slice of South Bend was now in our own back yard. And they had three-buck pints on Wednesdays.
But while we felt completely at home at Silky's during the game, things were a little different when we returned later that night for dinner and drinks. The pub was, first of all, packed. Gone were the green shirts—they'd been replaced with smiling, flushed faces of every collegiate allegiance. Standing at the entrance—not so much looking for a waitress as we were searching for any place to sit—a man talking on his cell phone approached us.
"Yeah, yeah," he chattered into the phone, and then turned to face us. "Can I see your ID?" he asked. Confused that he would need to see our ID before seating us but figuring him for a bouncer, we obliged.
"Thanks," he said, handing it back to us along with a menu. "Just sit wherever you'd like."
Oh, sure, easy enough. Except that most of the seats had been reserved for private parties. Flagging down a waitress, we explained to her what happened.
"That's strange," the waitress replied, crinkling her nose, "He doesn't work here. Why would he do that?"
Half an hour later, as we were enjoying our dinner, we found out when a different "bouncer"—a woman this time—approached.
"Um, I'm going to need to see your ID," she started, and we were seconds away from chucking our drink in her face when she started laughing, completely shit-faced.
"Sorry about the joke!"
"So. Are you new to the neighborhood?"
"We figured, since you were waiting for a table. Nobody waits here. We thought it would be funny."
Oh. We see. Of course. Silly us. But wait: Had we really just been jumped into the local scene at Silky's? And do people really do that? And where was that little old lady when we needed her?
The only possible solution? They were USC fans. Stupid Trojans. Notre Dame regulars would never do that. Which is why we like Silky's on Saturday afternoons--and why we'll be there next weekend for more.
As for the locals? Have fun in the backroom.
Silky Sullivan's Pub & Restaurant is located at 10201 Slater Ave., Fountain Valley, (714) 963-2718; www.silkysullivans.com.
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