Sports Bars Provide A Fun Time, Along With The Fiesta Hermosa Beer Garden
It was a long day of partying – and drinking lots of beer – and I have college football to blame/thank.
Opening weekend of the 2013 season took place on Labor Day Weekend, with the big day being Saturday. And where I live, in the Los Angeles Beach Cities, Labor Day Weekend also means Fiesta Hermosa and Fiesta Hermosa means the beer garden.
And that’s where my Saturday started, in the beer garden. This year, they have great beer – Stella Artois, Goose Island, for example – and the lead singer of the band Identity Theft was a big-chested bouncy and energetic gal who boomed out cover hits from the likes of Joan Jett and Berlin.
Being in the beer garden meant I missed Johnny Manziel’s immature antics. But with anything Manziel does, it’s going to be shown over and over again, and analyzed each time, on ESPN for weeks.
My real focus of the day was to watch my alma mater, Alabama. It had a tough opener, Virginia Tech, and the plan was to sneak in a side entrance of the Chelsea Pub, which is where the Los Angeles VT alumni watch their games. (The Bama folks are up in Santa Monica, at Sonny McLeans, too far of a journey on this day for me.)
However, my friend and I were stunned to see not Va Tech fans in Chelsea, but a room full of Domers! The Irish have taken over this bar after the city closed their previous spot, Cafe Boogaloo.
A quick check with one of the owners, the friendly Kirin, revealed the Gobblers were at the other bar that connects to Chelsea, the Underground Pub. There, I could watch the game with the sound on, something that’s an important element when watching your team play at a bar. You not only want to see them, you want to be able to hear them, with the play-by-play and commentary.
We got a seat at a table right in front of a TV, our friend Denise was our waitress and settled in for what I assumed would be a cheer-filled easy victory. Things certainly started that way when Christian Jones returned a punt for a touchdown less than two minutes into the game, but the Hokies proved to be more of their traditional 10-win selves rather than last year’s 7-6 disappointment.
This caused me to drink my Stellas at a brisk, kind of nervous pace. When the game ended – the 35-10 final score hardly reflective of the offense’s struggles – I had built up pretty good beer momentum. The plan was to go to American Junkie to catch the last hour of its weekend Happy Hour – which, I later learned, does not apply on holidays – but we quickly became sidetracked as we walked back through Chelsea Pub.
The Nebraksa alumni had now taken over the room, having moved here from their previous home of several years, Shore. As it turns out, Chelsea and the Underground are THE places to watch college football in the South Bay because no less than four alumni groups call it home (Nebraska, Notre Dame, Nebraska and Oregon, along with a few Arizona State fans).
By now my group had swelled to about half a dozen people and we had a few beers with pals from the Cornhusker state. My main objective, however, was to follow the trail of a gorgeous Georgia girl who is a waitress at Chelsea. I first eyed her, then stopped her, when earlier she had walked through the Underground. She has long, blonde hair that she wore in a ponytail, tall and tanned legs that would make a beach volleyball player jealous and a face to achingly pretty you just want to melt on the spot. I just had to get another look at her!
Eventually, and with drool rolling off my chin, we rolled over to American Junkie where things really accelerated. Clemson-Georgia was on TV, as was Auburn-Washington State but when about a dozen other friends joined us, it was a sea of Longboard Lagers making its way down my throat.
As with the case of college football, I have to watch all the games because unlike the NFL, the games actually count.
Had Bama lost, its quest for a third consecutive National Championship would have been over, and Georgia’s defeat put a serious dent in its chances. Nebraska barely survived against Wyoming of all teams, to prove it’s still a long way from being a title contender.
I love being in sports bars watching all the games, because they all count. And I’m off to a great start in 2013!