[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.]
Had I been to Sherwood Inn in Anaheim before, I probably wouldn't have taken my mom for a girls' night out. It's one of Anaheim's last working-class white bars, a large room with ample seating, open floor space for what I imagine is a dance floor and a pool table. The décor is haphazardly Asian, with spots of bamboo-lined walls and Asian paintings next to obligatory beer signs. There are nine TVs, one a flat-screen, but only three are turned on, all tuned to the same MMA match.
We sat at the far end of the room, at the empty side of the bar. A friendly, young bartender in garb more appropriate for the Sahara Theater greeted us, cracked open our beers and chatted us up a bit before tending to another customer. Five other customers drowned in their drinks--all men, all alone, all seated at the bar with one stool strategically placed between them ('cause, you know, they're not gay). As the jukebox churned out various Top 40 hits from the past decade, the female bartenders sat down next to these men, rubbing up in a very familiar manner. After witnessing this a few times, I wondered if they were soliciting higher tips or trying to find their own Nucky Thompson.
My mom had left something behind when I picked her up, so she had to go back home for a bit, leaving her baby alone. I jotted notes and ordered another beer for company. Then a man with wrinkles as deep as his voice stood up on the other side of the room.
"Please, don't walk over here," I thought. Rick did. He tapped me on the shoulder.
"Guess what?" he asked.
"I'm buying your next round," he said.
"Because you look exactly like my daughter."
I told him my beer was full, but I'd let him know when it was done; Rick walked over to the pool table, where the oldest-looking of the bartenders joined him in a game. Meanwhile, the other men came up to me, asking where my girlfriend went.
Aw, Mom! You took your sweet time to return. She still hadn't come back by the time my pasty Paul Robeson asked me to play pool. I sat in the back corner by the table, where it smelled like piss and bacon. We broke; I was horrible as usual. As Rick ran the table against our opponents, he mentioned he has haunted Sherwood Inn for 10 years. Mom returned mid-game; we won. He asked all the ladies to a challenge--us three against him. "Hey, Rick," a barfly shouted. "Any time you got a three-on-one, you're doing all right!" We lost. Back at the bar, Rick bought Mom and I each a beer. "Put it in your bra or whatever!" he growled to the bartender when she returned his change. Then he turned to me. "I'm not gonna lie--your mom's cute." I crack up.
"I know daughters don't think their moms are good-looking, but . . ."
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"No, I'm not laughing at that. I know she is," I say. "I'm laughing at you." Rick was noticeably blotto by this point, yet the bartenders kept feeding him drinks he didn't ask for--not cool. He found out my mom doesn't like smokers, so Rick vowed to quit right then and there.
"Here, take my keys," he slurred. "I have a carton in the front seat of my car. Go throw them away!"
Having had enough daddy issues for the night, Mom and I headed to Signal Lounge in Orange (which I reviewed a couple of weeks back). There, the crowd was nicer, the drinks better. It brings mothers and daughters together again. And, Rick, if you're reading this: Your combo of Velcro sandals and tube socks was GANGSTA.