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Hawthorne

The Hut ~ Lawndale

11:10 AM PST on October 30, 2006

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16618 Hawthorne Blvd. ~ Lawndale, CA 90260 ~ 310-371-3304 (TACO Map)

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The Hut is like a beacon leading sailors to safe harbour. Or it could be a lighthouse warning the faint hearted away from its craggy, rock strewn waters. When setting anchor in the South Bay, this is a welcoming retreat- a place to settle down your weary bones and toss back a cold draft.

The Hut showcases classic diversions such as the original "Pin Bot" pinball game, a pool table, juke box, darts, and burly bartenders serving beer on coasters. Liquor has been flowing here since the 1930s. It began as a small bar tucked in the back of an auto mechanic shop. How else can you explain the affordable price of a beer- $2.00 drafts?!

I reminisce about old Chicago bars tucked inside liquor stores serving $2.00 bottles of Old Style. The surrounding area has seen a number of clubs and dance halls come and go over the years, but The Hut is here to stay. Shown below are two extra large glasses, available by special request, of the only beer on tap, Budweiser.

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At The Hut we found real people embodying all kinds of diverse local color. The bar is typically tended by a bartender who will look you in the eye and notice when your beer is empty. They have a sixth sense for recognizing someone in need of a cold drink- no smug, prissy bitch chattermouths and conceited pretty boys who ignore customers they don't recognize. The bartenders here could double as bouncers, and keep a friendly yet attentive watch over the length of a long stretch bar. The far end of the bar is stationed by war veterans and hard working locals of all stripes. Your entrance will be noticed, but no hard stare downs or ice-cracking silences. This is a good place to be yourself. You are likely to make a friend or two.
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Take this man, for example. He's one of the most vivacious and interesting chaps I've ever met. He's Hawaaiin, an artist (rapper), and a home grown South Bay surfer. He steeped me in the surfing lore of the area, and introduced me to some of the older surf legends drinking at the bar. The way the South Bay has been developed to the brim, it's almost hard to imagine there was a time when you could hear the surf breaking from Hawthorne Blvd. My new friend was just crazy enough (like the best of us) to make me a tad bit nervous about having his hulking arm hanging over my shoulder- but, rest assured, he's a lover of life and a soul in tune with the good vibrations of this place.

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The Hut is a landmark for pinball fanatics. You will find not only a vintage "Pin-Bot", but one of the greatest games ever produced by Bally-Williams, "Police Force". Check out the classic details. Although "Police Force" has no instant ball save for the unlucky, it is well balanced and in complete working order. I won two free games in a row- nothing compares to hearing that hard knock after you've turned your back in defeat. We also played an original Centipede, and a rare bowling game which requires the deft use of a cue ball. We were thoroughly schooled by a regular who taught us how to play.

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We love The Hut because it reflects a solid sense of identity in everything from its loyal regulars to its classic games. From the outside, its vintage signage is unassuming, and the flat top, long brick building bakes in the Western sun. It is a clean, well kept bar with good air circulation. Furthermore, there is a giant sword hanging from a cross beam. Drunk patrons have been known to wield this weapon, an old movie prop.

NOTICE: The Hut is due for a makeover in 2 days and will be closed during the month of November. See it before it changes forever, and hopefully for the best.

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Le Vin Du Solitaire

The look from a courtesan, the peculiar glance

that glides upon us like the shining ray

the tossing moon sends to the trembling lake,

when she would bathe her beauty's nonchalance;

the final bag of gold in the gambler's fingers;

a bawdy kiss from the thin Adeline;

the sounds of music with caressing languor

resembling some distant human whine,--

these are worth nothing, O deep flask, beside

the mighty nostrum your rich belly guards

for the holy poet's thirsty heart.

You pour him hope and youth and life--and pride,

that treasure giving all us beggars odds

to make us conquerors, peers of the Gods!

- Charles Baudelaire

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