The Glo Room Shines Thanks to Saucy Bartender Kay

Kay behind the bar at the Glo Room
Kay behind the bar at the Glo Room
Taylor Hamby

[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 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.]

"If this drink makes me throw up or gives me a hangover, I'm never coming back," a young woman said to our bartender.

"Shut up and take it," the bartender snapped back.

That's Kay, the blond spitfire who runs busy nights at the infamous Glo Room in Anaheim by herself--with precision and a low tolerance for bullshit. She's petite, even in her high-wedge shoes, with a Carol Brady haircut that's bleached on top and has patches of black underneath. She told me she does her own hair--apparently in her past life, she owned a beauty salon.

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But that was 30 years ago, and she's been here at the Glo Room ever since. "I been here so long, I serve the grandpa, the son and now the grandson," she said. "The grandsons hit on me, and I tell them, 'Your grandpa hit on me. Your dad hit on me. I don't fuck them. What make you think I fuck you?'"

"You don't look old enough to have been working here 30 years," I volunteered. "I'm 64--I turn 65 this year!" she said.

"No, I don't believe you. Let me see your ID," I said, jokingly referring to when she gave me shit earlier in the evening while checking my ID, saying I look too young to be drinking. She assured me she really is in her '60s and has sons in their 30s and 40s. "I can't even speak English, but my son--he has master's degree."

While many bartenders act outwardly unfazed by drunken shenanigans, Kay will openly stare with visible contempt at any boozy tomfoolery. "What the fuck," she'll say, dead serious. "I work here 30 fucking years. Sometimes, I just don't even know anymore." In this case she was referring to the rowdy young men twerking one another near the dart boards.

While we talked, two heavy-set men sat next to me--one wearing a Dodgers shirt, the other a red polo (don't go downtown HB chick fight on us!). A large stack of cash sat in front of them; since the bar's cash-only, I didn't think much of it at the time.   "I got you Jäger," Kay said as she walked with a shot glass filled to the brim with the licorice liqueur in each hand, the booze sloshing out the top as she walked. "Shut up and take it."

"Uh-oh," they both said, before knocking their drinks back.

"Love you, Kay!" Dodgers Dude said.

A short while later, a pretty young black lady joined the two large men at the bar. I heard a bit of their conversation.

"Where do you work?" asked Red Polo.

"California Girl!" Kay interjected.

A few minutes passed before Red Polo touched the stack of cash in front of him and asked the young lady, "If I give you $100 right now, what does that get me?"

She leaned forward to whisper in his ear. He pushed her back: "Just tell me."

I couldn't hear her response over the loud Friday night crowd and fifth song in a row by Social D blasting from the jukebox. But I did hear his response: "Ah, I could get that any time." Smooth.

Suddenly, the ground started shaking. I had just finished my first beer, so I knew it wasn't my delirium tremens. Earthquake! One of the largest shakes I've felt in a while rolled through the bar. The crowd began to hoot and holler and when it finally ended, my fellow drunks let out a triumphant cheer. A young man in a backwards cap ran up and reached over the bar to high-five Kay.

After we all calmed down, the tallest guy in the room--wearing rolled-up jeans and flip-flops--came up to the bar to order. He leaned over to me. "You should really talk to her," he said, pointing at Kay. "You can't understand half the shit she says, but she's fucking hilarious. I've been coming here for years," he said. "She tells me I'm like her son. Then she tells me to go fuck myself."

Kay approached the tall guy with perfect, unintentional timing. "Hey, Shorty," she said. "Go fuck yourself. What you want to drink?"

GO HERE FOR: Kay. Kay is the reason you want to go here.

BE SURE TO ASK FOR: The Kay-Bomb. Just don't ask what's in it. She won't tell you anyway.

The Glo Room, 1035 N. Magnolia Ave., Anaheim, (714) 527-6244.

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