UPDATED, AUGUST 28, 2011, 10:30 P.M.: We've got photos of the Helm's last call. Click here to see 'em!
UPDATED, AUGUST 26, 2011, 2:34 P.M.: Tomorrow is the last day the Helm will be open. Por favor go and show that legendary bar how much OC will miss them. Next week, I'll post a history of the Helm penned about 15 years ago by a student at Cal State Fullerton. And someone have about a million Bloody Marias for me, wontcha?
Original post June 30, 5 p.m.: The Helm was always the anomaly in the stretch of Newport Boulevard that met the 55 Freeway, the working-class dive that the Sutra kids were too intimidated to patronize, that the Goat Hill Tavern bros didn't feel comfortable venturing into because they knew they'd get their asses kicked, where the Pabst neon sign was up not as an ironic statement but as gospel, and the red carpet was better suited for the place's pool table rather than to support the scuffs of schmoes.
Better enjoy the place while you can: it's closing, another blue-collar part of OC making way for hipster stupidity.
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Word first hit Twitter that the owner of the Goat Hill Tavern--which also owns the space occupied by the Helm--was booting them to make way for a martini bar (which is SO 2005...). The only question right now is whether the Helm has a 30- or 60-day notice, something even the employees don't know.
I just came back from the Helm, which I hadn't visited in years, ever since I nearly got in a fight with someone over something I can't remember--and isn't that how all the great Helm nights ended? I enjoyed a spicy Bloody Maria and stiff White Russian for the ridiculous price of $5--for both drinks. The bartender told me how she had worked at the Helm for 24 years, and that she'd be out of a job when that happened because whatever pinche concept that'll follow the Helm doesn't want a middle-aged gal around. The closure comes at a bad time, because her son is about to get married, and she wanted to help him pay for the honeymoon. I wanted to get her name, but forgot about reportorial priorities, given I was mesmerized by her fabulous rack--and isn't that how all the great Helm experiences end?
Anyhoo, get your drink on at the Helm while you can, naranjeros: the working-class bar is going the way of gabachos 'round here...