If you’ve read any bit of this blog, or know us in person, you know that we did not exactly get along with Los Angeles. This isn’t to say that our year-and-a-half stint in California was a total bust, of course, but our life on the West Coast is maybe most accurately described as the best of times and the worst of times. The best of times were clearly those moments when we were able to escape north to Central Coast or San Francisco, while the worst of times were the times spent in Los Angeles which, well, was most of the time, seeing as how we lived there.
However, there was at least one bright spot in our Burbank life, and that spot was an Irish pub just a bit behind our apartment called Timmy Nolan’s.
I don’t remember the first time we went there, although I really wish I did. Probably, by the time we got home that first time, I’d had enough vodka that the only thing I felt like blogging about was my lost love, the Charles River (seriously guys – be glad that I don’t write in this blog when I’ve been drinking, because you would all be so tired of hearing about the MBTA). What I do remember about Timmy Nolan’s is that from about our second visit, we knew all the staff, and they knew us, as well as our standard drink orders. If ever there was a real life Cheers (the Irish pub-style one, and not the knock-offs in Back Bay and Quincy Market), this is the place.
Timmy Nolan’s was our celebration place: birthdays, promotions, those rare occasions where we could get our friends to come drink in the Valley instead of their part of town in Venice Beach. My husband did a lot of writing there in the evenings, and I did a lot of calling people I missed at inappropriate times (funny how a shot of Jager can make you forget the difference between Eastern and Pacific time).
Although there is a truly incredible Steeler bar in Tujunga, we more often made the trip to Timmy Nolan’s on a Sunday morning for brunch and the 10am football game. When our Penguins struggled through and eventually lost the Stanley Cup playoffs to the Detroit Red Wings, we were at Timmy Nolan’s, drowning our sorrows with the upstairs bartender who was originally from Fox Chapel.
It was also at this bar that we discovered the great mysteries of life: what phrase does Rumplestiltskin say? Which celebrties died of AIDS? Whose version of “China Girl” came first? (We developed this odd habit of coming up with random questions over our drinks, placing bets, and then looking the answers up on my Blackberry, and now any random trivia question makes me really, really miss Timmy Nolan’s cheese sticks.)
And of course, Timmy Nolan’s was the site of the great carb debauchery night, when we ate an entire bread basket simply because we finally could.
So naturally, when our friends reminded us that we were making trips to the West Coast and ignoring their little part of the state, we decided to revisit our favorite hometown bar, and pull our old classic line of, “Hey, if you want to hang out tonight, you have to come to the Valley.”
And believe it or not, most of the old crew came out! Here we are with our dear Los Angeles family, some of whom you may recognize from their awesome internet videos at SMBC Theater.
Steve hooked me up with 26 free songs on the jukebox. Timmy Nolan’s has, hands-down, the best jukebox in the country. I was a little skeptical when I saw that they’d converted to digital, but they have made sure that all their awesome albums are still on the main harddrive, so none of this ‘two credits for anything decent’ nonsense that most digital jukebox places have. Among my favorites to play while we’re there: “China Girl” by David Bowie, “Let’s Go to Bed” by the Cure, and “Roxanne” by the Police.
And then for round two, my husband snuck in a calamari order. So good. They also have sauteed calamari (which was great when we were on the Atkins diet). Our other go-to meals at Timmy Nolan’s were always the chicken fingers with the incredible real-honey-sticky-sweet honey mustard, and the club sandwich (interestingly enough, also with the honey mustard). And we may have had a few long nights that involved some Irish nachos and stew, and one particular evening when we had Alaskan halibut fish tacos. Heaven!
Basically, if you order food here, you can’t miss. You can friend them on Facebook if you’d like to be like me and torture yourself reading their daily specials each afternoon.
And don’t let all the talk of food make you forget the good booze! They’ve got a ton of good beers (and even Miller Lite, for my dad!), and what Michael assures me are good whiskeys, but best of all, they have a Jager tap. That’s what led to these redheaded slut shots (that and our annual bets on the Oscars – technically, I lost, but Michael hesitated in selecting the shot, so in the end, I got to call it).
So if ever you find yourself in the Valley – or if you find yourself in Los Angeles at all, for that matter – and you want a good drink at a great spot, go here. You won’t be sorry. While we rode through the streets of Burbank that night, we realized that we may never ever move back, but as soon as we arrived and walked through this door, we knew we were home.