[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.]
I glided into the good old Fling with sass and class--not my usual m.o. for a dive-bar review. I had just arrived from a wedding reception in SanTana so I was dressed to the nines, having forgone a wardrobe change. So when I slinked in in my navy blue-and-white Mod-era halter gown and vintage gold Stuart Weitzman heels, I kinda fit in--kind of.
Old-school lounge class is what the Fling exudes, decorated fancy with crimson wallpaper and beautiful light fixtures. The clientele, the drinks, the location and pretty much everything else about the Fling ain't so classy, which makes it OC's ultimate blend of pseudo-highbrow and working class. The crowd on this Saturday night was mixed: balding hipsters, young women out of an Ink-N-Iron pictorial, cholos with shaved heads that gleamed, middle-aged ladies with Jan Crouch-esque hair, couples in their 70s, and aging bikers. All that was missing was Asians; then you'd have OC at its ideal.
The stage at the Fling is to the right of the entrance, wrapped with separate bar seating for those who want to sit up close to the ag-ing-musician action. There was an open seat in front of the band, so I hopped up in front of the guitar player after I grabbed my Blue Moon. No, it wasn't the legendary Eddy Day, "Wizard of Rock and Roll," but a fun band composed of three white-haired gents that started with a bluesy "Happy Birthday," then went with "The Wanderer." The songs got the crowd on their feet, folks who heard Dion first generation and kids who heard him third cutting the rug together. Did the band play "Mustang Sally"? You know they did. And at all the right times, the crowd enthusiastically answered, "Ride, Sally, ride."
I sat on my stool for a few songs, wiggling along. At the beginning of "Walk of Life" by Dire Straits, an older gentleman came up behind me and brushed my shoulder from the right side to the left--his way of asking me to dance. "Oh, no, I'm a horrible dancer," I protested, but he didn't reply and took my hand. We danced; I spun, swayed and tried to keep up. My generation doesn't know how to dance properly outside of an EDM fest, a mosh pit or a twerk session, so I let the guy--spiffy in a Hawaiian shirt featuring a bunch of fish--lead the way.
Sad to report, I think I was more winded than he by the end of it. The song-long dance with a dramatic final dip wore me the fuck out. The only exercise I'm used to is lifting my right arm to my lips. I bowed and returned to my seat at the stage-bar. "I haven't danced like that since I was 40!" I told another white-haired man sitting next to me. He cracked up: "Yeah, right."
The band launched into "House of the Rising Sun," and I cheered between gasps for breath. "You remember this song?" the man sitting next to me asked.
I touched his shoulder. "You know, from when I was a kid."
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He laughed again and bought me a beer.
The night continued with classic-rock covers and cheap beers. By the time we were all drinked out, I did the responsible thing and called a cab. Word from the wise: If you're going to leave your car overnight at the Fling like a responsible drinker, be sure to ask the bartender for a parking pass or call Drunk Rescue. Otherwise, the fine folks at Tow's R Russ will impound your car, and they will be more than happy to take your $250. DAMN IT!
BEST LINE OF THE NIGHT: Spying the antique metal blade fan behind the bar, said in a Wayne Campbell voice: "It will be mine. Oh, yes. It will be mine."
GO HERE FOR: One-man-band Eddy fuckin' Day! Fling Cocktail Lounge, 2370 Tustin Ave., Santa Ana, (714) 547-8972; www.flingcocktaillounge.com.