An LA Times Reporter Walks Into a Huntington Beach Bar . . . and Finds the Jersey Shore

Street fights, bros 'n' hos, toxic surf, free-flowing hooch, corrupt politicians--whatever gave

Nicole Santa Cruz

the idea that Huntington Beach is the Jersey Shore of Orange County?

Cruz foists that premise in a Los Angeles Times story about Surf Shitty's boisterous bar scene.

MTV is no doubt Mapquesting H.B. for a reality camera crew now.

Cruz's evidence for making the Huntington Beach-Jersey Shore connection came after a late-night weekend ride-along with local cops. Among what she saw:

  • The air is crisp and salty, and despite the cold, women in colorful tube dresses are laughing and men in collared shirts are whistling in appreciation.
  • A 24-year-old man stumbling on the brick sidewalk while answering a cop's question about how much he drank that night: "A Mind Eraser. Two shots of Jack Daniels. A Guinness and a Pabst Blue Ribbon. Two Irish Car Bombs, then three Bud Lights."
  • On a typical night, Baja Sharkeez is packed with people who look like they were born in the '80s.
  • Tales from bartenders who say they have tossed naked men and broken up bloody fights.
  • The term cops give drunks who frequently wander into the wrong house, looking for a place to sleep: a "Downtown 459," after the state penal code for burglary because alarmed residents think someone broke in to steal from them.
  • The final tally from enforcement within the three-block downtown while Cruz was hanging out with cops: broke up two brawls, encountered a man passed out in the front seat of a cab, arrested a 21-year-old who voluntarily jumped off a 20-foot building and ushered numerous drunks home.

The Times decided to parachute in a reporter because of Huntington Beach's No. 1 ranking among cities its size in California in victims killed and injured in alcohol-involved traffic accidents. A 22-month police investigation zeroed-in on that stretch of Main Street as causing the most alcohol-related calls.


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