The Big Sting

Photo by Matt OttoIt'sacredittothedesignersofScorpionSteakhouse N Lounge that they were able to take a restaurant motif as tired and overdone as wall-to-wall fish tanks and actually make them something worth writing about again. Of course, it helps that they nixed the fish in favor of a far more bad-ass, albeit less-adored, predator: the scorpion. The mind reels at how much peyote it must have taken to achieve that level of outside-the-boxedness. Still, though, scorpions? Not so nice to look at. Especially not when you're mere inches away from a divider wall that contains five black-lit tanks filled with them. They have pincers, you know. And they can kill you.

Fortunately, by midnight last Saturday, it appeared the neon-green (courtesy of the black light) meanies had grown tired of creeping out the Scorpion Lounge's patrons, electing instead to crawl under heaps of rocks and hide. Unfortunately, around that same time, I wished I could do the same.

Scorpion Lounge, see, has all the makings of a go-to nightlife destination: soft, sexy lighting; dark, out-of-the-way VIP rooms/make out nooks; and a textured, dusty-without-being-too-dusty (or too rootin', tootin' country/western-y) Old West ambiance. Its designers, especially, are again to be applauded—seriously this time—for erasing all the ugly, run-down traces of Wabo'z, Blue Agave and the roughly 600 other ill-fated restaurant/bars that occupied the property before them. In fact, Scorpion doesn't just have the makings—it already is Orange County's new favorite hotspot. No joke: the entire county was there last Saturday, in all its blotto, skanky glory.

Which means that you wait 32 minutes for a drink, and spend close to 15 minutes trying to get from one side of the bar to the other. And you are surrounded at all times by shit-faced bros (apparently, the Good Charlotte look is super in! Creepy clandestine groping, too! And did you know you can get away with bitch-slapping a go-go dancer's ass if you simply press your cup of ice-cold MGD against it afterward? Try it!) and their equally wasted, unfriendly, um, lady friends. Toss in a few swamped bartenders and all of a sudden, you might understand a caged scorpion's all-consuming drive to kill.

But this was opening weekend, after all—in fact, this was evidently an extremely successful opening weekend, hopefully enough so that Scorpion will be able to staff another bartender or two. Meantime, if you happen to stop by Scorpion (which, despite all my bitterness, I verily recommend—I just love bros and so should you), save time by snagging your drink from a waitress and then make a dash for the scorpions. There's a little more room there, and besides, if you get desperate, you can always punch your fist through the glass and wake the little guys up.


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