“a woman walks into a bar…” Drinking Across America in Lake Havasu

on 15/11/14 at 5:33 pm

a woman walks into a bar..., Booze News

woman-barfinal2Lake Havasu. Why did I stop here again????? Rather depressing as you roll down highway 95 running straight through town with every fast food chain that ever was, or is, greeting you on either side of the road, not to mention the dollar stores, car dealerships and colorless housing developments. The big attraction is the London Bridge which isn’t even the cool London Bridge. The one they brought over here brick by brick is really rather ordinary.

Tower Bridge London

Tower Bridge London

Lake Havasu London Bridge

Lake Havasu London Bridge

Anyhow, by the time I got here I’m ready for a drink and FOOD…I am starving! The thought of being relegated to a chain was not particularly inspiring so I ‘yelp’ for the best restaurant and bar in Lake Havasu City and this is what I got: ChaBones Steakhouse & Tapas Bar so off I go.

I take my place at the bar and the tv screen above me is on Fox. Of COURSE, this is ARIZONA. (more on this later). It’s Happy Hour so tapas are half price and the wine and beer list is totally generic so I order my test drink, a Manhattan. It seems I’m not making the best decisions today because this is THE WORST COCKTAIL I’VE EVER HAD! Undrinkable. I’m not kidding. This is what a Manhattan tastes like when it’s made with drugstore booze: LTD Whiskey – have you ever heard of it?? Me neither. Tribino sweet vermouth YUCK and made without Angostura! I ask the bartender about the Angostura and she says, “Nobody wants it anymore…” WHAT??? I forget where I am. She’s very nice though and offers me something else. I go with the distinguished CK Mondavi Merlot.

The worst Manhattan in the world

The worst Manhattan in the world

On to the food, the oysters look beautiful! The lady beside me asks me, “What is that?” Me: “Oysters.” She: “Oh, pretty fancy!” Me: “I’m from the big city.” I forget where I am. Turns out, the oysters, from the Gulf of Mexico, are pretty bland. But the next two tapas are delicious – sliced filet mignon and grilled fish on skewers.

Pretty oysters but looks aren't everything

Pretty oysters but looks aren’t everything

The average age in here is about 100. Retiree central. The man sitting next to me is obviously a regular as he just nods for his martini. I ask him if he lives here and we start to chat. He’s a retired San Francisco policeman who went to Argentina to learn to tango, has traveled to hell and gone in his RV, lived in Florida for many years and finally decided to move to this godforsaken spot. He said he’s ‘over’ Florida and what he calls the ‘Hillbilly Riviera, needed a change and came up here. He points to his prosthetic leg when I ask if he’s tangoing in Lake Havasu, “No, not anymore.” I ask him what he likes about living here. “There are no mosquitoes here. Did you know that?” I ask what else? “Hmmm, good point. I have to think about that.”

When he was a police officer in San Francisco, Officer Peter G. knew all the good bars. He heartily recommends Gino and Carlo’s bar as one kickass place to hang out as everyone from thieves to judges go there. But, he says emphatically, get there at 6AM if you want to get in. After that, it’s a madhouse. I definitely want to make this one.

Bill O’Reilly shows up on the screen yapping about Obama and I casually mention that he has screw loose. Officer Peter asks, “You mean O’Reilly or Obama?” Me: “O’Reilly” Officer Peter: “Noooo, Obama!” Okay, I am on his territory, an officially red state so I don’t follow-up but it is time to go.

Next up, Gallup, New Mexico…