During the roaring twenties, Tijuana became non-stop action. Americans flooded the tiny border town during probation to gamble and drink. By the 50s and 60s its reputation was known all over for it strip joints, floor shows and cheap bars and beer. It became folklore of wide reputations and spawned many wild stories of bars like Sans Souci, Redd Fox (the place where the comedian Redd Fox started) Clubs Unicorn, Aloha and Bambi. The Donkey Show was born in TJ … and yes, it is true. However, drinks were outrageous in these places. A 6-ounce bottled ‘unknown’ beer cost $1 and it always came open. Gee … could it be they kept refilling the empties?
But TJ was also known for, the famed Long Bar. Oh yes!!!
The bar was the full length of the place. It was the width of a football field if not more and elbow room only. The noise level was always high of slamming shooters down and Mexican music. At the end was a 12 foot surfboard that hung high on the back wall, whoever could power down 24 shots of Tequila and climb up the wall and untie the ropes could have it.
Since the drinking age of Mexico was 18, it became the spot for kids that were not 21. If you looked 18, you could cross the border. However, TJ cops hated the pot smoking long hairs, so one had to pin their hair up and stuff it under a baseball cap to enter even if it only touched your ears. Brilcream, (A Little Dab Will Do You), was used to slick the hair back, which was still cool, since it had not quite gone out of style yet.
Walking down the main drag on a Friday or Saturday night, Revolucion was like old west, street fights were common, people were trying to sell you everything from a fake silver ring – to their sister, and almost all the cops were on the take. A $5 bribe was the common price for getting out of going to jail if you were caught being drunk and disorderly.
A pitcher of beer and a shot of cheap tequila was $1. Sawdust packed the corners, and very sticky wooden booths and tables were gouged with initials of those that had to leave a remembrance they were there. It was not a place for women unless you were of the social type. And even that, most were to scared to enter. A carnie hacker was always outside, shoving people inside.
For a buck, one could get a picture like you see above.
The restroom, all I can say, the smell gagged you walking in. A long tile trough with a few rusty pipes dripped a dark-brown water to flush the gallons of urine that was being discharged every second. An old man sat in the corner (restroom valet) that always had a toothless smile with flies buzzing around his head sold gum by the piece, scented colored water and paper towels by the 1/2 piece. Yes he would take a paper towel, rip it in half (that cost 2 cents) and that was what you dried your hands off with or the pants were just as good. A nickel got you a piece of gum and a splash of scented water before you headed back across the border.
Yeah … like the US Immigrations officials didn’t know where you had been when they asked you, “Got anything to declare?”
“Surrrre officerrrr, a gallon of watered down peeeee” Chuckle, puke, chuckle chuckled, puke…
Obviously, the Long Bar was a favorite of Mac Meda’s second decade of Meda Eaters.