Last night, against my better judgement, i accompanied some well intentioned but deeply misguided people to a place i have avoided like the plague for the last four years.
Allow me to preface my claim, by pointing out that like most major metropolis... What's the plural of metropolis? Metropolii?
Most major cities, Los Angeles has its fair share of absolute shitholes. Everything from a backroom Soju bar in Koreatown where they serve live octopus appetizers and have a rating of "D" posted on the window. Or hostess bars in little Tokyo where they serve you overpriced drinks that you can buy for yourself or any of the young ladies kindly provided for you by the management. But the place of which i speak puts all shitholes to shame. The most worthless and tacky waste of space, the most generic excuse for a "good time" the most brazenly consumerist and awful drinking and eating establishment. A place so bad, that it makes Cabo Cantina, Baja Cantina, and El Guapo Cantinas look genuinely exotic. Even Pulquerias run out of garages in East LA, and homemade Tej in little Ethiopia, despite the worrisome health aspects of their distilling process, make you feel less rotten on the inside than this place. A place that makes Hooters look classy, and Bennigans look elegant.
If you google it, the pictures you get in return look like this:
And despite the fun that bad dye jobs, kabuki makeup, and ill fitting clothes connote, this place manages to suck harder than Tom Cruise at a scout sleepover. I am talking about the world (?) famous Saddle Ranch Chop House.
You walk in to this warehouse of cliches, and your immediate thought is "Oh shit. I'm going to get raped." Not because of the amount of douchebags that seem to never leave the place, not because of the somewhat scant clothes of the staff, no you look to your immediate left, and you see a gift shop, to the right is a mechanical bull, you look all around you, and you see gimmicky drinks. They are going to bleed me.
"Hey there guys! is this your first time here?"
What the fuck is this? Evidently the hosting crew dudes (Who also serve as the pep squad and handlers for the Mechanical Bull) are chosen very selectively. They must have a "look". Like Abercrombie has a look, like people on TV have a look. I have never in my life seen two guys try so hard and work so diligently at looking like they don't try hard at all.. And of course ... Personality. The overly agressive personaliy that only people who are shameless about working for tips can really pull off.
Once you're sat down, then the upseling gets started.
'So what can i get you to drink?"
Not one to back down from gimmicky drinks, i take a look at their specialty menu.
Lasso up one of these in our "Giant" Specialty Glass (See: Cheap Plastic Carafe)
Make it "Extra Special" or "Premium" for an additional charge. (See: Popov or Smirnoff)
If you want to know what it means ... Order it!!! Vodka, gin, rum, tequila, triple sec, sweet & sour and blue caracao.
Texas Tea Party
Cattlemen's classic long island - made with vodka, gin, rum, tequila, sweet & sour, triple sec and Coke.
Gold miners dig this one! Saddle Ranch's own Margarita - made with pure gold tequila.
Saddle Ranch Mai Tai
Cowgirl's favorite - made with coconut rum, light rum, orange juice, pineapple juice, dark rum and grenadine.
Haha! You get it? These are exactly the same as well drinks, but in a carafe! THAT's what i call SPECIALTY. Fine, give me a long island. I need to numb myself to this. "Would you like the super special bubbles?"
So they bring me a Long Island that looks like this.
Oh yeah, and it has chunks of dry ice at the bottom to give it a festive smokey feel.
"You guys going to order some food? Because this IS a chop house, and we have some GREAT Steak"
You will all note that the prices have been omitted from the Saddle Ranch menu on the website, but i think we can safely surmise what dishes tend to get pricy..
Ok, so i don't have to recount every grueling step for you, suffice to say that the electronic bull and all the drunk ladies who ride it, is one of the most bullshit (Ha), contrived, forced upon , notions of "fun" that one could imagine. Drenched in a fine mist of corporate drunkeness, the dead eyes and vacant smiles of the people there give you the feeling that this place hasn't seen any real fun in years.
I'm talking real fun. Not a South beach metrosexual sort of fun. The fun, when you wake up the next morning and your friends look at each other and laugh. The kind of fun, of sneaking off for a snog iduring a concert, or drinking with locals, or of laughing a lot, or of gettinng kicked out (Not for fighting). A good bar is a facilitator for good times. A GREAT bar is an enhacer, it heightens your state good or bad. The best bars are often the ones where you can drink your sorrows as well as your joys, but that's a high goal. What makes the Saddle Ranch so unforgivable is the the imitation of good times. The cohersion of fun. HEY! Have fun! Drink! Want booze? We have it! And its in carafes! AND it fucking SMOKES!! You want tits? We got em, and we'll make them straddle a machine and bounce up and down. I hate sounding like an old fuck, or Holden Caufield calling everyone a phoney or belittling people for having a good time. However if you find yourself on the Sunset strip,do yourself a favor. tourist, local, whomever. Take yourself and your money, and enjoy one of the world class hotel bars, or if that's too fancy, cabo Cantina, Red Rocks, or any of the dozens of bars that line the area,.
This place may at once have been tolerable (My guess is that the mid nineties saw this place BOOMING. However, if you don't happen to be in the pooka shell, waxed eyebrow, stiped shirt and shiny hair crew, who exude a slight whiff of date rape wherever they go, or if ladies, you might enjoy meeting a guy before having to resort to lifting your drink and going "whoooohooo!" to show everyone just how drunk and horny you are, you may want to give Knott's Douchey Farm here, a miss.