There’s a Punky Reggae Party at La Cita, in Downtown, LA, with no cover charge before 10pm. It’s 9:57pm as we barrel up to the bouncer. There’re more than two, but less than five in our party, so let’s call that a gang. “Where are you from, man? New… South… Wales?” Our alien status is both a novelty and potential money-maker for the sly goon. 9:58pm. Goon looks at me, I look at Goon. Goon looks at my i.d, looks back at me. I return Goon’s gaze. 9:59. He slowly cracks a 24-karat smile, winks and waves me in. La Cita is the kind of bar you always end up in, right at the bitter end; when you can’t feel your gums anymore, but can still feel the rhythm. The disinterested staff never make eye contact while serving deep shots of cheap whiskey and cans of still cheaper Tecate beer, the jukebox plays The Clash. And the patrons, they dance. We weave through the crowd, under the madly blinking, multicoloured fairy lights toward a glowing-red hallway where dancing dark figures block our passage. The brick-paved courtyard out back is lit by more red lights, under worn black canvas awnings, and encircled by barbed wire. The office-towers of Downtown loom overhead. In dark corners girls with Bettie Page hair and pencilled-on brows attend to their lipstick in vintage compact mirrors. The mohawked Spanglish deejay smiles wildly and points at punters with each transition. Radio Birdman starts to play and half our gang feel cool. The other half is already cool, taking photos with the Betties and being handed Tecate. A whirlwind of a girl – all crazy hair, loud mouth and heavy eyes – decides it’s time for our gang to split. With her shoes in her hand she leads us back through the passage, takes us for a messy turn on the dance floor and drags us out into the night. T’ mad-haired wench walks us round th’ corner to Redwood, a bar ye can’t resist. Redwood be another dive where young men and beauties perch at t’ bar, puttin’ out t’ vibe. T’ grog flows freely, t’ music plays loudly and t’ pirate ship theme be thorough. There be ropes, barrels, arr, mermaids ‘n ships. I’m not aye what they’re servin’ exactly, but t’ snacks smell fried and be temptin’. By now we been standin’ ‘n bars for hours, chock full o’ th’ Mexican food and lookin’ for a darn good reason t’ stay upstarboard. Beyond bein’ in a pirate ship o’ course. But wait? What’s that sound? Could it be? Be it? That there can only be one thin’, yarr, that be a Kiss cover band. T’ band play a ramshackle set, t’ crowd noddin’ their heads, t’ mad-haired wench hands me her spiced rum as she’s refused service ‘n promises nah t’ drink anymore. We all wanta t’ rock n furl all night ‘n party every day, but as th’ band gets worser th’ gang calls time. ‘Cep for th’ wench. I be pretty sure she kep’ rock n furling to th’ bitter end yarr, back at La Cita.

2 thoughts on “LA CITA/REDWOOD

  1. i wish you would write about all our nights out and then make a book of all the fun times we have together. this ones a cracker! particuarlly the pirate lingo. well done matey x

  2. Ahoy, me hearties…… There is nothing better that I like than a Surry Hills pirate…. UNLESS….. It is a Surry Hills pirate being put through their paces in a cooler than cool LA bar…….
    Show me your wooden leg……

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