Local Wire

Some R&R

I still have a headache from visiting R&R Stix in East Mesa. I usually wait a couple of days after I hit a bar to review it (mostly to rid myself of the hangover), but I can't wait to get this place down on paper. I'm feeling like hell, my stomach aches, and I'm not sure I can even keep enough water in my body to keep up with my cold sweats — but feeling like hell is probably a good state of mind for trying to describe this freakish place.

Let's turn back the clock 12 hours.

I roll into the parking lot around 4:30 p.m. on a Tuesday and find a spot right next to the entrance of this bright yellow eyesore. I open my car door and almost step on a half-empty bottle of mouthwash — either a sign of someone taking precautions before driving home, or what I fear in my heart: someone drinking it to get drunk before going into the place (I've heard there is nothing worse than a Listerine hangover). I laugh, snap a phone pic, and throw open the door under the deteriorating awning.

I step inside, where two drunkards are weaving back and forth, belting out the chorus to buh buh buh buh bahd bahhhaaad to the bone! And I realize right then and there that the drunkards are right — this place is bad, but not the George Thorogood kind of bad. I find my crew of seasoned veterans: Larry, Joe, Bob, and Randy (Dave and Cathy are on their way). I usually drink with these guys once a week at a great neighborhood joint, but once they started reading Booze Pig, they all agreed, "R&R is a must!"

The bartenders in the joint are older women who wear bikinis and thongs. Joe, the longtime pro in these here parts, introduces me to Sybil, who is an attractive gal who slings the drinks. Joe tells me that Sybil and the gal who runs the evening shift are the only ones who don't have to wear bathing suits. Part of me is thankful, but the pig part of me feels jilted, dammit. I order bourbon 7, and just like all mixed drinks and draft orders, it comes in a Kerr pickling jar. Bob tells me this is because they're hard to break (in case you try to use one as a projectile).

Bob also makes a point to tell me that Santa must be missing his belt, and points at the bartender. I can't help but laugh my ass off — seriously, Sybil is good-looking, but she's wearing Santa's thick, shiny, black patent leather freaking belt. Can you say ho ho ho?! You'd think it would be tacky, but in the context of every inch of this tacky, disturbing place, it actually works, It's sexy — especially because she has the knee-high boots to match.

Joe's wife calls this the creepy bar, and she's right. This place isn't a dive; it's more like some fetish bar. (Hey, maybe there's a gal dressed in a Little Bo Peep outfit; let a pig have his fantasy.) But I guess creepy is the source of the joint's charm, like getting hit on by an old man with a colostomy bag: You kind of like it. We can all use a little creepy now and then.

The black spray-painted ceiling tiles have dirty old bras hanging from them, and heads of soot-covered stuffed animals poke out here and there. The clientele, from what I can see, and from the slideshow of pictures on the flat screen, is pretty much biker trash mixed with Parrothead flunkies. The LG flips through probably 50 shots of hefty gals with huge, sagging tits. Some pics are of a woman licking her own nips, and some of them are of the same woman's tits laying on someone's shoulders, etc. It's downright nauseating, but funny in a way . . . until you see it for the 20th time. (Someone turn it off!) It's not the nudity that makes this place dirty; it's the actual dirt!

I love that the R&R gives out free peanuts, and I like the homey feeling of being able to throw the shells on the ground. (Teakwood's pulls it off with great success, but not the R&R. I don't think this place has been cleaned in weeks, maybe months.) One gent at the bar has made a little cubby hole for his feet out of mounds of shells, as if he burrowed his way into the bar. Joe says, "That's weird. The cleaning guy, Smiley, is usually around." But Larry quickly chimes in with his Canadian humor, "They call him 'Smiley' because he gets paid and doesn't do any cleaning. I'd be smiling, too." I'm not a neat freak, by any means, but I decide it's better to not look down.

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C.M. Redding
Contact: C.M. Redding