After watching the hands on the clock pass by one eternal minute at a time, I finally can close my laptop and start the weekend at 5:18pm. Chad and I head over to our old standby, Prime Time Pub. We park it at the end of the bar with our delightfully stiff drinks, put a couple dollars in the juke box, and shoot the shit with the busty (and amazingly cheek-boned) Thai bartender.
Ah, the Prime Time Pub. Being from a small town in Wisconsin, I’m used to bars being converted living spaces. There’s a whole section of my hometown with blocks of two storey homes that are now bars. You’d never know it from the outside if they didn’t have an Old Style or Pabst Blue Ribbon sign hanging over the front door. Or people puking on the stairs. Anyway, those types of places are cozy, and although Prime Time is in a storefront on Santa Monica Blvd, it feels like home inside. A straightforward bar without pretense: stools at a long bar, cheap drinks, some shit on the wall, and a juke. I’m good with that. The air conditioning never works, so it’s usually pretty warm in there. You sweat out the liquor as fast as you can put it down.
Alyssa and I stroll in on Friday after another bullshit week, right around shift change. I already have a whiskey and beer in front of me when the usual busty Thai bartender rolls in with a pained look on her face. “My tooth,” she groans, “I need a root canal and all kinds of work but I can’t afford it.” Mexico, I tell her, holds the solution to all her problems. Tijuana may be a stinking shithole, but it’s got good dental facilities going for it. Having been through this before, I recommend Washington Dental, get her the phone number and address on Avenida Revolucion and directions on how to get there with public transportation, as she doesn’t drive.
I enjoy being with the best looking woman at the bar (when I go places with Alyssa, I am), however this usually draws unsolicited attention and crazies. I enjoy this, too. So by round 2 (drink 4 if you’re counting) the typical rebel rouser arrives and leans his bike up against the wall. That’s a bicycle, not a motorcycle. I’ve seen this guy around, maybe here, maybe some other sleazy joint, but I don’t remember. We both acknowledge this. Alyssa has the story from here…
The bartender notices him, he notices her, and they immediately begin arguing. She’s barking at him, “go away, ahhsshole,“ while he’s nudging me and snarking, “shee sinks shee’s the queen of zis bar!”
After a good ten minutes of trying to ignore this dude, I think he realizes that Chad is, in fact, my boyfriend and he makes one final attempt to woo me. “I weel buy you all thee cases of beeeer you want”…with an offer like that, I’m not quite sure why I decided to leave with Chad?
Anyway, we decide to head up the block to Gold Diggers, standby number two.
God forbid I ever have a heart attack and face death at a bar, but if it happens, I want it to be in a place like this. Medical attention would be real quick here, as I don’t think the Mamasan wants anyone dying and ruining the good cash only thing they’ve got going. And it’s a pretty good thing - stiff drinks and an odd assortment of bikini dancers. Although there are a few lookers in the lineup (ok, maybe one, but she looks like she’s 15. This, naturally, makes her the favorite among the patrons), most of these ladies seem like they’re there to pay off a debt. So be it, because they’re a great group to have some drinks with.
Herman the bouncer lets us in without carding or hesitation. As we emerge from behind the red velvet curtain, the bartender greets us with a warm and thick-accented, “Heyyy! There’s the beeeautiful couple.” Mere moments later, she plops down a screwdriver, a Budweiser, and a shot of Jack Daniels. I guess we’ve become regulars. Before we can even claim barstools, SHE comes on stage. I don’t know her name, which is really pretty bad since we’ve seen her perform at least five or six times, but I love her. If you go in there, you’ll know her; she’s a big, beautiful Latin goddess with a sincere smile and wise eyes. Her talents beyond supersede those of the other dancers at Gold Diggers. She dances to Suavamente (!) and always comes to say hi after she performs.
This Friday is thankfully like every Friday at Gold Diggers: it’s dark, it’s loud and there are strings of lights around the bar that could induce an epileptic seizure. No need to order a drink because it’s there waiting for us by the time we reach the bar. Everyone is genuinely happy to see you. All our favorite girls are working tonight. Life is good.
Chad notices the large, wooden sign behind the bar that reads, ‘Gold Diggers Bar, 32nd Anniversary Party, Saturday, July 21st’. Probably six months ago, we sat at this very bar and the Mamasan personally invited us to said party. She promised there would be chow mein.
It’s on! See you tomorrow night!
After a couple screwdrivers, we stumble back over to Prime Time to spend our last six dollars on cheap beer. Donna Summer’s ‘Heaven Knows’ flows throughout the bar as our favorite bartender once again greets us, “welcome home.”