Wednesday, July 20, 2005

One Eye Jack

Once again, Mexican John and I decided to continue on our mission to explore the seedy bars of L.A.. The first bar we visited was Gold Diggers on Sunset. For a full review of this bar, visit The L.A Bar Review. I'm going to focus all my energy into providing you with a humble account of my experience at One Eye Jack, the second bar we visited.

One Eye Jack
3977 Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90004

Review: Going to One Eye Jack brought back a lot of memories. You see, it is located a few blocks away from where I grew up, on the North end of Koreatown. In fact, I walked by it almost every day during my Middle and High School years; and I always wondered what went on in there. Thus it was with great enthusiasm that I finally got to visit One Eye Jack, now that I'm well of legal age.

It was everything I expected it to be - which isn't saying much. It's a typical fichera bar. For those of you not familiar with ficheras, these are girls (well, in reality they're mostly older, overweight, and downright ugly women)who hang around "Mexican" bars and get a cut for every beer or drink they get you. In the meantime they provide the patrons, who are mostly recent Latin immigrants, with some much needed female companionship and conversation. To the best of my knowledge, they are not prostitutes, but it wouldn't surprise me if there was some illicit "hanky panky" going on behind the scenes. It really is a somewhat sad scene. It is also very lively.

We arrived shortly after midnight on a Saturday night / Sunday morning. We walked right in, though the uniformed security guard immediately caught up with us and requested proper ID. It's a regular sized joint, with a U shaped bar on one side, a pool table, a small dance floor, and tables on the opposite side. One of the first things I noticed was a monitor above the bar which displayed the feed from 4 security cameras strategically placed around One Eye Jack. This was probably a bad sign, but I decided to ignore it.

Within a few seconds of our arrival, a fichera was already asking us if we wanted any drinks. I went for a Heineken, while Mexican John went domestic and ordered a Miller Light. The beers arrived quickly, and the tab was $6.00 for both...$7 with tip. Mexican John indicated that his beer wasn't cold enough, but my Heineken was fine. On a curious note, there was a handwritten sign on the wall that listed the prices of all beers (most were $3.00) and advised that if a bartender charged more than that, one should call the telephone number below and infom whomever it may concern. If you must know, the restroom should only be used in case of emergency, as it consists of an open toilet and a floor-length urinal with a puddle of god-knows-what around it.

There was no live music entertainment(unlike other similar bars, but the jukebox was blasting the requisite narco-corridos (ballads about drug trafficking), Banda, and some vintage Los Bukis songs. Some of the patrons were dancing with the "girls". We hung around for about half an hour, then we went outside for a smoke, talked with one of the girls, and then left.

Although normally you can find parking on Beverly Boulevard or the adjacent side streets, we ended up having to park a couple of blocks away. Again, I advise that you be cautious, as this is one of those L.A. neighborhoods that are in "transition".

The Crowd: As mentioned above, it consists mainly of immigrants who are out to have a good time after a long week of hard work in the Chinese restaurant kitchen or doing odd construction jobs. My guess is that they're mostly from Central America, since by the time I moved out of that neighborhood in the late 90's thats where the demographics of the area were heading. Of course, I have already mentioned the ficheras and their attributes.

The Characters: One of the most visible and interesting characters we observed was an old, short asian (probably Korean)lady who was running around the place bossing people around. This leads me to believe she was the owner, or at least someone with a stake in the prosperity of the establishment.

While on a cigarrette break outside, we met and talked to a young fichera named Karyn or Karen. She was one of the better looking girls (this being relative, of course). After some inane conversation, she finally broke down and shared with us that she is only 22 and arrived from Honduras a year and a half ago. Although she ultimately dreams of going back to her home country to be near her mother, she really likes living here - she said she had never imagined owning the $350 gold chain she was wearing (one of many she had on) around her neck and owning a cell phone. She's just "temping" at One Eye Jack, since the place she regularly works recently closed and she's not sure if or when it will re-open.

Conclusion / Recommendation: I can't honestly tell you that this is a place you want to visit. Really depends on what you're looking for - I don't mean to sound like a dick, but if you want to go "slummin", this is the palce for you. It's in a borderline rough neighborhood, and if you're not brown , you will surely get odd looks to the point of making you uncomfortable. Then again, I like places where a bottle of beer is $3 or less, so if you need to get drunk on the cheap and don't mind risking your personal safety, One Eye Jack is the place to go.

- The Iceman


Blogger Unknown said...

Thank u. Now I now

11:59 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...


11:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

10:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

El Arroyo is a fichera bar from HELL.

10:41 PM  

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