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…
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.
Beside 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.
when crabs roar says
Jack refered to Sunday mornings at Maynard’s as “church”, if we were there Fri. or Sat. night, he would always say, “see you at church”. Maynard’s was also one of the first places we would put up convention posters to spread the word. When Maynard’s closed Owen the cook went over to Tug’s Tavern on Mission Blvd. and continued the dinners and breakfast but it wasn’t the same, they just lacked the spirit of Maynard’s.
Ben Hazard says
I Remember the brass deep sea divers helmet on the bar and the cold draft beer.Lucky I got away drinking there cause it was long before I was 21 !
Joe Cooper says
You Bet!….I had a scraggly Summer beard in 65’….One of the very first places I got served at 17!…Loved It!!
Hell Bud, you were getting served when you were in the 7th grade? HA!
My husband and I used to go to Tugs every Sunday morning for the awesome omelettes that Owen used to make with extra sauce and cheese and an extra tortilla dripping in butter. Where we can we either find the recipe for that or at least go somewhere to indulge in that yummy omelette?????? We would pay good money to enjoy one of those again!
david dray says
If you know Steve Denicola, he worked at Tug’s and made us all the omelettes many times at his home.
Cyndi Elliott says
Hi david,good to see you on here,talking about my home sweet home.I am still making these at my house on Sundays, and Red Beers 🙂
Owen was my dad, so happy to hear everyone loved the Sunday morning breakfast. I made the meat sauce when he was out of town, and frequently still do.
John Poulos says
Hey Steve my dad owned maynards his name was jimmy the Greek and I used to work with your dad serving omelettes Sunday mornings in the bar What a great person your dad was
Ron Arnoldsen, aka Knucklehead Ron says
I started hanging around Maynard’s just out of high school with a bunch of my buddies about 1968. I remember all the good times, all the terrific meals too!. It was a weekend place to go! Many of the names you mentioned Cyndi are familiar to me. I have a large poster of the front of the building with bikes lined up and mine is just out of view. It was taken by Zero in the day. This web site really got my old fond memories stirred. Those were the days.
Kathie English says
Those were the days. My ol man’s bike is in the picture. Used to go there every wenkend moring after surfing, then when I turn 21 it was the place to meet up with friends & go for Sunday rides. Owen was the best.
steve symons says
where are you
J. Bishop says
Z was my uncle Jack Minteer. I have the same photo in my living room. R.I.P. Jack
I, Bense, was a good friend of your Uncle Jack’s/Z in the early ’80’s; lost track of him after I moved back to the East Coast to get married in 1987. I am so sorry to hear that he’s passed. Can you give any details?
Joni Shandera says
Maria the bartender was great
Crazy Chad says
This is Crazy Chad, in the late 60s Indian Bob, squirrly Ron, Chicago Chuck Baby Face James,, just to name a few riders would roll up at Manards for some beers… In 1971 Indian Bob and I led a pack of about 200 scooters out of Big Bear and rode into Writewood. Which by the way was one of our Best runs ever! Since those days later on in life I got married to a wanderful and beautiful woman who is 10yrs younger than myself would also go into Manards for spaghetti dinner every Wednesday for 75cents back in her days…. we also road with the Inon Horsemen and many others
John Analla, aka Sisco says
I grew up in PB and took my wife to Mayanards many times. I am trying to have and artist recreate Maynards, Oscars and Crystal Pier as it
was back in the sixies. If anyojne has a large detailed pictures of Maynards that has the grafics on the walls that I could use I would appreciate it. I have the one with the bikes out in front but it is not detailed enough.
Thanks for the help.
What about the Green Door? Was up from the Barbeque Pit.
I think The Green Door was the name of the bar that also has had these names: The Green Door was owned by Vito Sciuto and a partner, Bill ….something and was name the Flamingo, then was the Pink Phink, then the Daily Planet. Right?
Bill Bugg says
It was possible to eat dinner for a quarter every night by going to Maynard’s, The Court Room in La Jolla and the Pennant in South Mission. I remember drinking in there on an early Easter Sunday (it was packed) and greeting the dressed up after church goers with Jesus jokes. After they tore it down, I think Maynard’s moved up on Garnet, but was never the same.
Dennis Strong, I lived on Jamaica ct during that time. I had a white dog named Bogart. I remember eating at Maynard’s drinking to. Anyway the Mexican omelet was Sunday morning at the back window. It was some type of thin egg stuff with re-fried beans wiped in it. They were 10 cents each. Also Sunday morning you could get beer with tomato juice in it for your hang over. Saturday night was Abalone dinner for a buck and I forgot which night was the spaghetti dinner. You could find a 25 cent spaghetti dinner every night of the week in MB. Tugs tavern was also on the spaghetti dinner route.
Cabo Del San Jose Baja California
Pat Hartigan says
What year did Maynards close? I remember going there for the spagetti and tacos, but I was too young to go inside. We would get served through an open window or doorway.
Jeff Elliott says
1972 was when it closed down . A sad day for sure . My Mother Maria was the Manager for the owner Jimmy Poulus “The Greek ” from 1966 to the it closed in ’72. Jeff5ok
Chris Peterson says
I was 10 and I ate inside all the time with my dad and his motorcycle buddies. He would also get me a small budweiser with tomatoe juice in it.
I grew up on the back of a motorcycle a triumph going to church on Sunday morning for the best huevos rancheros guaranteed to keep you warm in your wetsuit. I think I had everything on the menu, the abalone was my favorite I felt like an adult. I miss Maynards and think about it all the time, I’m now 68. Just heaven on earth for a little kid like me.
When I was about 12. My dad (Mac) and I would spear fish in the a.m. and go get the omlett at the back window. I liked checking out the bikes. I have a Maynard’s business card.
bob lunetta says
I was one of those “little kids” who was too young to go into Maynards.
I would hang around the open doors for a peek at all the people inside. On Wednesday night was spaghetti, Friday night was mexican, and Sunday morning for breakfast I was in line. I agree how fabulous the food was and I have been in the food business my whole adult life. I have never been able to duplicate the sunday breakfast which i think was leftovers combined from Wednesday’s sauce and friday’s beans. Can you shed some recipe light and make my life finally complete?
We used to eat at Tugs every Sunday morning. I sure would love another one of Owen’s dynamite omelette’s!!
its all in the book kim
Now that’s sulebt! Great to hear from you.
Kim Elliott says
Hey Cyndi I suppose you rolled those tacos all by yourself!!???!!
Toni Meads says
Isobel Oaky and I got arrested there once at 14 when we tried but failed to convince everyone we were at least 18…if not 21, we would have been fine but there was a cop parked out front watching us do our thing the whole time, we had just downed everything in Don and Tinkerbells liqour cabinet then hitchhiked down to crystal pier…thats when the fun really started.
CYNDI ELLIOTT DAUGHTER OF MARIA ELLIOTT WHO RAN MAYNARDS AFTER HE DIED says
EVERYONE REMEMBERS MARIA, and it is to bad you never mentioned my mother in your article. Maybe you stopped going to Maynard’s, after nineteen sixty six.
After Maynard died, and not to take anything away from him, at all. Maria became Maynard. She was loved by all who knew her and would soon come to know her. I ought to know, I’m her daughter Cyndi and Maynards was my home away from home.
Cream Pie’s bought at Food Basket, were then used to have the most incredible pie fights,my mom just hosed the place down, it was a beach bar. There were water gun fights and beer fights. She was the Den Leader of the beach, always counseling young kid’s, not do do drugs.
The food that is talked about in your article, well there is a reason there were long lines, because the food was fabulous. I rolled the tiquitoes Thursdays, for friday night mexican plate and helped mom peel 100 lbs. of potato’s every Monday, for Fish and Chips that night. I helped stir the sauce with a big paddle, so it wouldn’t stick, for Wednesday night spaghetti. There was never hard liquer there at that time, it was just a beer bar. The education I got from Maynards, I couldnt get from anywere else in the world. My friend’s were dying to get into Maynard’s but could’nt, I had the golden ticket, Maria. I was 13 at the time. The educators at Pacific Beach Junior High had a different oppinion, as they watched me roll up with about 6 Hells Angels,I sitting on the back of a loud Harley with my pigtales and saddleoxfords. What did they know, always saying “OH THOSE ELLIOTT’S, AND THAT DAMN MAYNARDS AND THOSE HELLS ANGELS. If maynards wasn’t open then everyone came to our house/garage, if you remember “THE SECRET SAUCE COLORED HOUSE” on 3363 Mission Blvd, in the early 70’s then you know Maynards.
So here’s to “Maynard’s”,”Smilin Jack”,”Brody”, “Zero”, “Indian Joe”, “Starfish” “Ralph” the bartenter, “Owen the cook, my mom Maria, and of course Maynard.
Holle Chernis (Harris) says
I once was skating down the boardwalk and saw my dad behind the bar. I assumed he was working there, maybe just hanging out? This was mid sixties, my parents were divorced and I only saw him every couple of weeks. He was a county lifeguard in Del Mar and Solana Beach, could have been moonlighting. Do you remember him? My dad was Knox Harris
Was Pat Shea brother named Bob, the lifeguard? Any stories, good or bad would be appreciated.
I wish I had the chance to ask him to tell me more stories, he had wonderful adventures.
Can’t wait to check out the book!
Mahalo nui, Holle
Annette Lucas says
Are you the lady that wrote a poem to my brother, Butch about how people lie and people die.
I found it in his things? Would love to get in contact with you!!
Kathie English says
What a time it was. I spent many days and nights at Maynards, in the late 60’s till they closed. It was a very sad day. PB lost an icon. The Angels, Horsemen, were all my friends. I still raise a glass for Fat Ray & others. Brody is here in Colorado, the last I heard. Lots of great memories.
Hi Cindy. Are you a beautician? I think you did my hair in Ramona and made me an omelette similar to what Owen used to make at Tugs. Wow I sure would love that recipe!
Ralph turner says
Hi Cindy, it has been a very long time since Maynards. thru the years I’ve bumped into many of the old crew. Was good to see your and Jeff’s post
Oh Ralph, it is soooo good to hear from you. I am still here in Ramona. Please contact us !!! xoxo Cyndi Bobs e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org
Dennis Strong says
we lived on jamaica ct in mission beach. spaghetti at maynards every week!!! we used to knock over our own trash cans and say “HONK”. That was 63, 64, 65!!! If only I owned that house today!! LOL
Enjoyed this website. My sons are very impressed!!:):)
Harry Marriner says
1964 Memories of Maynard’s:
1. Standing in line to Receive beers and 19 or 25 cent Spaghetti dinners from “Tiny.”
2. Merle Clement’s dog going up and smelling a burly biker’s boot, then lifting his leg and pissing on it. Merle rapidly invited the guy for a free beer.
3. A couple years later Norman Frankland dressed up as a London Bobbie cop and Gary Wickham filmed him and John Warren checking ID’s at the door.
4. Returning an empty keg in the early morning hours after a Torrey Pines Glider Strip party to raise funds for bail for a drag racing ticket. This event was attended by Gary Wickham, Laurie Little, Steve Manns, Eric Carpenter and many others, but insuffient funds were raised to even pay for the keg.
Louis…Larry also was a great locksmith!
Jamie, Munchkin is Larry Moyer. He, his brother Lonny and I grew up in PB. Went to Larry’s service. Lonny lives in Idaho. My brother (John) and I returned to PB 2.5 years ago to the house we grew up in.
Tim (Turtle) says
MUNCH!!!! My knives are so dull. Miss you pal , Turtle
Greg Noll’s classic film ‘Search for Surf’ features Tiny Brain, along with other La Jollans and Hawaiians…that’s Tiny Brain inside the metal drum being rolled over the rocks at Windansea…in another clip, he’s wearing a red smoking jacket and eating powder sugar donuts and milk…I think Fat or Skinny Wally are also in the donut footage.
Eric Masterman says
“When Maynard died they needed a bartender. Many were eager and Tiny Brain was thrilled to get the position but failed to realize that he would be in the midst of breaking up bar bawls. After all, it goes with the territory. The occasional scrapes and bruises he received got to be a bit too much to put up with so he quit.”
“Maynard had class. He was always dressed his natty best in a colorful Hawaiian shirt along with his signature hat. He had the jukebox vendor ad some Hawaian music for atmosphere and at some point in the evening he would perform his Maynard hula that rocked the building!”
Wayne Perry says
Tiny and my brother, Dean were bar keeps in this time period. Dean could also chug a pitcher while it being clamped by his teeth! Tiny and Dean went on to create driftwood furniture for sale near the location of the BBQ Pit on Garnet Ave.
1. Jack used to lift weights for Mahlon’s. He used to say that if he didn’t have to pay child support, and could train fulltime, he would have gone to the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.
He said that in the 50s, the mail volume at the Post Office was so light, he would take off in the middle of his route…drive to El Cajon for a competition weigh in…drive back to La Jolla and finish his route.
In the 80s, he would go back to his back yard in Bird Rock…start bench pressing…and then fall asleep on the bench. His landlady, Juanita Messick, used to find him snoring away under the La Jolla blue skies.
2. The Maynard’s tee shirts that he had made up a few years ago…the artwork was put together by one of his favorite West End customers…Munchkin (Larry ?)…Munchkin passed away last fall…God rest his soul.
Doug M. says
Tiny Brain’s name was Al Thomas. When the 1st known Southern California surfers (mostly La Jolla) went to the North Shore he became semi-famous when he body surfed Wiamea Bay.