[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.]
A girl in a tube top and heavy makeup perched atop her boyfriend at the Bobkin in SanTana as he sat on a barstool to my left. They were ferociously sucking face. I sat there, beer in hand, remembering Jerry Seinfeld's adage about staring at cleavage. And who was this other woman in a red blouse who just sat next to them as they went at it?
We were in the industrial section of the town, in a pool hall that used to entertain working-class white men but is now exclusively Mexican. And the other patrons (myself included) were certainly not as passionate as the couple. Four of them quietly skirted around one of the many billiards tables; the bartender and a middle-aged man played cards; and my guy and I sat with matching Pacificos, soaking it all in. At the opposite end of the very long bar from where the lovers went at it was a lone, young blond woman in a black turtleneck, clutching a cocktail.
“Abusamos del Alcohol” by El Komander played on the Internet jukebox, and all four behind-the-bar TVs were tuned to a post-fútbol match gabfest on Univisión. The long, spacious room was lit only by several Bud Light lamps hanging over the pool tables and the TVs. The floor–tiled in green, red and white, the colors of the Mexican flag–would make a perfect dance floor if it weren't covered with dozens and dozens of unoccupied tables and chairs. Corona flags lined the ceiling, and Corona posters dominated the lengthy walls. The bar doesn't have beers on tap, but rather a decent selection of Mexican and classic American beers. And while it features a full bar, don't expect any craft spirits at the Bobkin: tequila and whiskey rule, with most of the hombres sticking by their Patrón, Chivas and bukanas on the top shelf.
I wish I could write about how crazy it was being in a Mexi bar as a white girl, but it was hardly any different from being at any of the other neighborhood bars I've covered. Yeah, we got a few looks from the customers, but that happens when you go into any dive and you're not a regular. I did start ordering in gabacho Spanish–“Dos Pacificos, por favor”–but the bartender, a woman in a nice black-and-white-striped blazer, didn't have time for ESL. “Do you want salt and lime?” she responded. Sure. . . .
The one thing that did stand out at the Bobkin was the bathroom. Dive-bar bathrooms are never expected to smell like peaches, but ay caramba! Trash was strewn all over the floor, and there was grime all over the walls. The two stalls didn't lock. I was lucky there was toilet paper. A sign on the stalls informed patrons of basic bathroom instructions we should all have learned by the time we were out of diapers: “Estimado cliente, demuestra tu educacion usa los baños bien tira los papeles en los botes de basura.”
For those who don't habla: “Dear clients, show your education use the bathrooms well throw away toilet paper in the trash cans.” It's as if ¡Ask a Mexican! came to life!
The rest of the bar, thankfully was relatively clean for a dive. Other than whatever fluids the two lovebirds and their voyeur may have left on the floor, of course.
BEST LINE OF THE NIGHT: “Yeah, we're at a place called the Blumpkin.”
BEST PIECE OF FLAIR: The giant chandeliers hanging above the bar are awesome. Totally out of place, but awesome.
The Bobkin, 2531 S. Main St., Santa Ana, (714) 549-5036.