Winding through Main Street’s US Open crowd is chaotic. Vendor’s yelling. Humans consuming. Radish colored middle-agers weaving through the undressed bundles of spray-painted youth. Relentless heat. The smell of cigarettes and over-applied cosmetics reminds me that I’m in surfing’s “Disneyland on the sand.” That I’m in Huntington Beach.
I keep walking, sliding, through hoards of stomping pedestrians. Dehydrated and a bit anxious — I need a drink.
After taking a right at the first intersection, I walk seven paces, bow my left shoulder and enter the sanctuary — The Pope’s Living Room. It’s SURFING Magazine’s oasis for this hectic week. Leaning against the bar, I order a Legends beer. Five flat screens play the contest side-by-side comfort me — I’m not missing any action. And I’m not missing any elbow rubbing, either. To my right, Matt Wilkinson is taking a photo with the hot bartender. Three stools down, Derek Ho is having a drink with Nathan Fletcher. If outside is Disneyland, then this is definitely the Indiana Jones ride. The best attraction in the whole damn park.
I finish my first beer as the sun sets to another day at the US Open. And swell, although no 2011, is coming. But nobody in sight seems to care if waves come or not. Mason Ho plows past me with a fetching brunette in tow. I order another beer and take a seat on the patio, just to people watch for an hour or so.
The Pope’s Living Room is located on Main and Walnut. Every other week of the year, it’s called G’s Boathouse. Join us for a cold beverage