It's Sunday night. You're bored. As per the eleventy thousand bored Sunday nights preceding it, you're sitting alone on your couch with a half-empty glass of Charlie Shaw—Cabernet or Merlot, it's your call—fumbling with the remote and debating whether to pass out during a rerun of The Practice or stay up, polish off the bottle and Google yourself. Because you're vain like that.
Instead, a friend calls. "What's the plan?" she asks, sitting alone on a couch not unlike yours, idly watching Dateline and sipping Wild Turkey and ginger ale. She wants to party. You? Only sorta kinda. What to do? Simple: go to Brea.
Yes, that Brea.
Specifically, go to Bar 330, the Starbucks-meets-sports-bar "lounge"—their words, not ours—that bookends Birch Street, Brea's eerily pristine version of Main Street, USA.
Indeed, cruise along Birch Street at 10:30 on a Sunday night, and you'll feel as though you've stumbled onto a back lot at Universal: on your left, a monstrous Edwards movie theater, its pink neon lights casting a bubblegum wash over the sidewalk; on your right, a nondescript storefront with an equally nondescript sign suspiciously reading, "Paintball." Save for the janitor dejectedly sweeping up cigarette butts outside the theater, it's deserted.
It's a lonely place, this Birch Street. That is until you reach Bar 330. Inside, a group of bleached-blond good-lookin's sit, huddled together in a booth, sporting tank tops and flip-flops and downing shooters like they're on Spring Break.
Oh, wait. They are on Spring Break, you realize. The last night of Cal State Fullerton's Spring Break, to be exact, which is sorta kinda fitting, seeing as how it happens to also be the last night of Totally '80s, Bar 330's short-lived Sunday-night flashback soiree.
Except you didn't know this when you arrived, see. No, you'd expected a packed dance floor, a fair amount of skinny ties and lots of Depeche Mode. Instead, you were greeted by the table of too-drunk Greek system siblings, a handful of smokers on the patio and a lone bartender. Like all good bartenders, his name is Steve, you find out, and you ask whether or not this is Bar 330, and whether or not it's Sunday, and isn't there supposed to be an '80s club tonight?
With a faint sigh/laugh, he informs you that it's the Totally '80s' final night and points you in the direction of Daniel, the club's goateed promoter, who is sitting outside with a friend in the corner of the patio.
Daniel, it turns out, is also the promoter for Club Addiction, a biweekly 18-and-over '80s party at the Hully Gully in Downey. You've heard great things about Club Addiction, you tell him. So what happened with Bar 330?
"When I first came here on a Sunday, there was one bartender and two guys playing pool, and that was it. On our second Sunday here, the bar owners told me that it was the most business they'd ever had on a Sunday night."
This night, however, is a different story. Despite having spent two hours each Friday fliering cars parked along Birch, the place is empty. "I've lost $1,000 of my own money," he notes, although he's clearly not complaining. "You can't expect to make a lot of money when you start out."
But whereas normally a club floats along for months and gradually gains popularity, Bar 330 canceled his night after only four weeks.
It's a setback, he admits, but plans are in the works to launch a Friday-night '80s club at another location.
Why the '80s obsession?
"Growing up in the '80s, I used to go to Cloud 9 and Studio K at Knott's Berry Farm, and it would go off. Every teenager went there—seriously—and Richard Blade would deejay. I want to bring back those days."
In the distance, the janitor, still sweeping, clangs his trash bin along the sidewalk as if to punctuate Daniel's reverie. Glancing inside at the empty dance floor, you feel really, really bummed for him.
To make the best of it, you head inside, grab another pint of Stella, and hit the dance floor. Only it's no use: just as DJ Nelson spins the English Beat's "Save It for Later," Steve calls last call. It's 12:30.
With that, you give a sympathetic nod to Daniel, down your pint, and make a mental note to hit the Hully Gully on Saturday.
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And as for Sunday nights spent with Brea and Bar 330, well, you don't rule it out for the future. But then again, after this night, a Sunday spent with Charlie, Google and The Practice doesn't sound so bad. Who knows? You could even invite the janitor.
POSTSCRIPT: As we were going to press, Daniel called to say that Bar 330 had reconsidered—that Clubbed! had saved his club. So next Sunday, get off your couch and show Brea some love.
Totally '80s at Bar 330, 330 Birch St., Brea, (714) 256-9986. Sun., 8 p.m. Free. 21+. Club Addiction At the Hully Gully, 9559 E. Imperial Hwy., Downey, (562) 803-8845. Sat., 9 p.m. $5. 18+.
Wanna know why Daniel said I'm a gift from God? Invite me out! email@example.com