Maynards by the Sea – Pacific Beach’s “Animal House”

maynards in Pacific Beach

“Maynards by the Sea” in Pacific Beach across  from Crystal pier, took all that revolutionary bull shit, mixed the counter-culture by adding a zillion kegs of beer and floating the top with a army of 16-wheelers filled with hard liquor – Photo taken in 1972 by Jack Minteer

Maynard in 1959

Maynard in 1959

It was the 1960s, an era best described as the counter-culture with its social and sexual revolution and also a time as one of irresponsible excess and flamboyance.  Rampant drug use has become inextricably associated with the counter-culture of the era, as Jefferson Airplane co-founder Paul Kantner said: “If you can remember anything about the sixties, then you weren’t really there.”

Except San Fransisco, or anywhere else in the country, didn’t have Pacific Beach’s “Maynard’s by the Sea”, an iconic bar right across the street from Crystal Pier.  Maynard’s took all that revolutionary bullshit, mixed in the counter-culture by adding a zillion kegs of beer, and floated the top with a army of 16-wheelers filled with hard liquor.  It was joked, “More Jack Daniels was consumed in one day at Maynard’s than the rest of California did in one month.”

Maynard Heatherly was the owner that always had a cheap cigar dangling out of his mouth, wearing a Panama hat and Hawaiian shirt.  Maynard liked to drink and have a good time about it.  Maynard’s bar was a cocktail of trans-culture,  a kick-back tropical environment, Mexican/American/Italian food, and biker/beachboy/cowboy mentality complete with an occasional knock down, drag out bar-fight.

Oh Golly Geee whiz …  it was a lovely place to be when the muffled roars of 20-30 choppers with biker colors pulled up

The Hells Angels and Iron Horsemen did frequent the place … oh boy … more entertainment…

Maynards Left to right Eric Carpenter, Patti Brewer, Jack Macpherson & Dave Osborn circa 1963-4.. Also hiding in other door (behind Maynard's cartoon guy) Pat Shea & Fat Art

Maynards Doorway ( left to right) Eric Carpenter (RIP), Patti Brewer, Jack Macpherson & Dave Osborn circa 1963-4.. Also hiding in other door (behind Maynard’s cartoon guy) Pat Shea & Fat Art (RIP)

Maynard’s was THE spot in the ’60s and ’70s, that is,  if you were not a “Golly Geee Whiz ” type of person. National Lampoon’s Animal House’s crazy, booze-driven characters would have fit right in at Maynard’s, which makes one wonder …  if the script was written by Maynard and edited by David Osborn from the Red Mountain Inn? Hmmm, very interesting!

If you did not drink and drink hard, you did not belong.

Maynards in Pacific BeachBeside the fact of hard cord drinking, it was also known for its cheap and very greasy food specials that drew the drug-crazed hippies out of their flats in Mission Beach and gave the hangovers their daily nutrition with their 25-cents Spaghetti and Taco Night Specials during the week, and ending it with a Sunday morning Spanish Omelets.

“What a GREAT way to spend a Sunday morning on the Coast!,” Jack and company used to always say.

If you were underage, or just hungry and broke, like many of the hippies and beach rats were,  you could order from the outside window on Ocean Boulevard, which at times was almost a block long. A  spaghetti meal was delivered on a paper plate covered in noodles, smothered in a something “red” sauce, maybe one meatball,  and always two pieces of white Wonderbread, dripping in butter. The plate had to be held by two hands and then it became a balancing act trying to avoid slipping on the grease walking away.

You did not leave hungry. All the crazed weekend drunks ended up in Maynard’s.

It was where Jack McPherson & Bob Rakestraw made the first stencil for Mac Meda t-shirts using a grocery bag when they went down there on a packed Sunday’s noon breakfast.

Tiny Brain (sorry forgot his real name) was the real life Bluto (John Belushi in the movie Animal House) when he worked there and was famous for chugging a pitcher of beer by biting on lip of the pitcher and drinking it non stop with no hands. Tiny could chug a fifth non stop, but Rackstraw said it didn’t count as he saw him throw up once after downing a bottle.

After the Chargers lost a game, Pat Shea would come in. He’d sit down and didn’t want anyone sitting by him. One side of the bar was packed and the other side was just Pat by himself.

Maylan, the Chargers strength coach at the time, and who had the first gym in La Jolla, used to come in. He would power down an couple of shooters and turn to the stranger sitting next to him, with a shit-eating grin, grab the person glass and start eating it.

One day the cops came in looking for Maynard, he ran out the back door and they chased him down Crystal Pier, he jumped into ocean and hit his head and died, so ending the Pacific Beach legend.

Jack had ordered recreations of Maynard Cartoon logo t-shirts just before he died.

Thanks to Dave Osborn for some of the content and photos.


  1. PJ Granger says:

    I’m with Marlene C.-have you thought of Maynard’s T-shirts. Are there any other photos of Maynard’s out there?

  2. Terry Tucker Rhodes says:

    I remember a story about Tiny jumping into the Blow Hole in Hawaii and getting shot out of it when the water came in. I also remember when Bla first came to town and supposedly was to be really tough, so Butch didn’t wait to find out, but threw him through a window. Don’t know if either story was true.
    One night a friend and I sneaked past the guard on the pier and he started chasing us. We ran out to the end of the pier and jumped off and swam to shore.
    I was at the dance at Del Mar when Butch got his face kicked in. These guys just jumped him and got him on the ground and started kicking him in the face. I ducked under a table because people and things were flying everywhere. Skip and some others got him out of there before the police got there. The papers called it a “Surfer Riot” and my parents wouldn’t let me go to any more surfer dances.

  3. I learned how to surf as a junior high student in 1965, at the foot of Law Street, and fondly remember the cheap but tasty Sunday Omletts, Wednesday night spaghetti and Friday taquitos from the back window. In later years, in early ’70s, Tugs Tavern at corner of Emerald & Mission Ave continued Maynard’s tradition with the spaghetti, taquitos and Sunday breakfast. I vividly remember the plywood they’d place over the pool tables, then an oil cloth over that as a tablecloth, and empty Gallo Spinada bottles for their Green Goddess salad dresing. Pitchers of beer were only 75 cents, too!

  4. Marlene Cesarz says:

    My husband and I moved to PB in 1967 and spent a lot of time in Maynards. Do you have t-shirts? If so, please let me know.

    Thanks, Marlene

  5. I lived in PB and So. MIssion during most of the ’60s and, with various cronies, was a frequent patron at Maynard’s. My two teen age nephews visited me from Michigan, so Sunday morning, I took them to the window at the alley for that special breakfast. That became a highlight of their trip as they spoke about it many times. Maynard’s was a fine place to just chill out (didn’t know that term then), sipping beer while listening to great music from the Righteous Brothers and many others. Another favorite was the Sip ‘n Surf on La Jolla Blvd, where we sat on the floor at the surf board tables. Wonder if anyone ever got a photo of that fabulous Mike Dormer wall mural behind the bar? Would love to have a copy (Mike would too).

  6. PJ Granger says:

    Oh God, Maynards, Food Basket, The Action Center, yikes! Sammi Fritz, me and I think Stoney were around 15 and used to cage spaghetti dinners because we used our cash on other things. Everybody was so cool to us it was like a Gidget movie (as far as I remember). Damn, that WAS Heaven. PB sucks now-just my opinion.

  7. Suzanne says:

    Butch first introduced me to Maynard’s and to Tiny Brain in ’64 when I was just 18. I never was carded, and Tiny even asked me to watch the bar while he ran errands one day. If you came in with the guys from Windansea you were safe from then on. Fun memories of many many years ago.

  8. I got out of the Army in 1969 and moved to San Diego to start a band with a bunch of guys who met in the Army. We had no money and discovering Maynards was a godsend. You could get a double order of spaghetti on Wed. or rolled tacos on Friday(?) … and it was delicious. I don’t know if they always did this, but in 1970 while I was there you could go upscale on Sat. nights for $1.00 abalone. I’ll never forget the place … thanks for this post to help us remember.


  9. Tommy Graves says:

    The story I heard was that Blah James and Butch went in there one time with a Tommy Gun and shot up the ceiling. Maybe it had something to do with Blah looking for someone, maybe it had something to do with the fact that Jack Pringle beat Butch in a fight at the Powerhouse?

  10. I was one of the surf rats. Cold Sunday mornings after a couple hours of waves. That omelet was mighty tasty!

    Special memories. One of the very best memories of California.

  11. Actually Maynard Heatherly III was a great friend & lover of life. He died in the Scripps Hospital in La Jolla, CA; no fancy dive off the pier.

  12. CharlieG. says:

    Tiny Thomas was a close family friend and a legend when I was a kid growing up in PB in the 60s and 70s. He and my Pops were always tight, and I got into Maynard’s on a few occasions when I wasn’t even tall enough to see over the bar stools let alone the bar.

    Pops and Tiny are both gone now, but we all remember them both. Some of the stories Tiny would tell of his trip to the North Shore (and how he got talked into bodysurfing Waimea) would blow your mind. Here’s the last picture I him, taken with my son in the summer of ’93.

    RIP Al ‘Tiny’ Thomas and my Pops, Jack Gow.

    Thanks to the OP for this PB flashback.

    Charlie G

  13. Brian Davis says:

    I always wanted to re-hear the story about Blah James coming into Maynard’s looking for Jack Pringle, who had just recently broken Butch’s jaw up in Del Mar at the old Powerhouse…

  14. Never was old enough to go inside, but always ordered a “double” Sunday breakfast, and if I had an extra quarter, sometimes a “triple”. This after surfing at the north jetty in OB. One day we showed up and there was no line…a surprise.
    Owen the cook who could do the work of five people in the kitchen, when asked where all the people were, deadpanned and shrugged, “they’re all having their stomachs pumped.”
    We looked at each other….and ordered a “double” anyway.
    Maynard’s was a classic. Miss it.

  15. Was a 1st Fire ring Grem in 60,61,62….Fondly remember The Sunday morn breakfasts at Maynard’s. I too have tried to duplicate the taste, & haven’t succeeded. We used to go behind Food Basket & take cardboard & anything else we could score for our early morning fires. For a long time some people asked me why I shaved my legs. I didn’t…it was those early morning fires!

  16. would love to have recipe, or at least ingredients, that was Tug’s Tavern salsa ?? somebody should have marketed it !! best I ever had !!! anyone help ??? retired, disabled, just have always craved it !!!

  17. Jiim Prescher says:

    I happened to spend a number of evenings and weekends in Maynard’s in the early 60’s while stationed at Camp Matthews Weapons Training Bt. in Torrey Pines. Spent time at the Pennant and if I’m not mistaken, you could buy a steak (cheap) and grill it yourself. Tug’s had the best taquitos in PB with large bowls of sauce on the bar.
    Also, I have a Maynard’s card. If it’s possible, I can post a jpeg of it to this site.

  18. Cindi: I have so many good memories of Maria, and as you well know, I was one of those kids that she helped raise and gave advise to.She had a way of connecting with us beach rats. We would hang in the garage and Jeff would spin the records.I remember you as the little sister with the most sense of any of us, that which you inherited from your mom.

  19. I have a photo of a 13 year old gremmie{me} being pulled into Maynards by…Del Cannon, Chuck Hasley, Mike Diffenderfer,John Pettit Harold Reid and Butch of those classic sunday AM $.25 brekfast omelette days in 62 or 63…Hanky Warner

  20. As a surf punk in the 60’s, I stood in line at the back door for omelets, spaghetti, rolled tacos and – if I could come up with a buck – the abalone. I also did the Pennant spaghetti and Tug’s rolled tacos. I think I also remember 19 cent cold cuts, maybe at the Pennant or Beachcomber. The other great deal was at Sam’s Cheesecake in MB – they sold the ones that had splits in them for 50 cents – only problem was they were frozen – pretty tough waiting for them to thaw out after surfing all morning. No nukes back then.

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