Remembering When

by Jerry Person
Huntington Beach City Historian

Dedicated to the people of Huntington Beach about its rich past

Watering Holes of the Past


The Pandemic holidays are over for a while and its time to recoup and recover from all the "parties" held at bars, saloons, and outdoor restaurants, from their drinks that they served. These places went by taverns, bars, beer parlors, cafes, cocktail lounges etc. These people just called them watering holes.

Huntington Beach has had its share of watering holes to help celebrate all the year's holidays and this week lets remember just a few that maybe you may have celebrated holidays and unholidays inside their hallowed doors.

How many remember Gary Mulligan's Main Street Saloon at 117 Main (1970's) and the Fifth Street Saloon at 210-Fifth (1982). Remember Gary Mulligan bar with its old wooden wheelchair hanging from the ceiling and the Fifth Street Saloon with its bullet hole in the fireplace shield when bank robbers ran through the place chased by police.

Some can still recall seeing oil workers enjoying a cold one after hard work at their local watering hole like the Green Shack at 7771 Clay or the Gusher at 225-17th Street. Before the Gusher with Ray Cook (1967) and Louis & Dorothy Hackathorn (1970) you had Ray Thanksley Ray's Cafe (1948), E.E. Ford's Cafe (1952) and before this converted house was torn down it was the "Tav", the Huntington Tavern to many of the locals of the 1980's.

Out on Beach Boulevard you could relax and have a few at Frank & Lorraine's Hoss Corral (1950), Lee's Corral (1952) and T J Corral with I.F. Girdner & Alvin Parrock (1958), all located at 16351 Beach.

As the Hippy Era of the 1960's and 70s came, Beach Blvd. had its share of watering holes like the Top Hat Lounge of John Quinliven (19582 Beach), the Show Boat (19202 Beach), Harold Smith & Ed Clark's Flaky's Tavern (18760 Beach), Lucky John's, Happy Jacks, Amato's Villa (18582 Beach) and the Gaiety that was located at (16612 Beach).

There was Sutter's Mill located on Warner Avenue near Beach Boulevard and of course the many restaurants that served refreshments in Surf City's outskirts.

Main Street had its share of watering holes too before the Main Street Saloon, there was the Esquire (1965) and Gospel Swamp (1973) at 117 Main.

A side alley door made Bob Lindley & C. Adams' Garland Inn an easy entrance at 111 Main, also there was the Paddock and the Squeeze Inn of the 1950s & 60s. Then there was the Riptide on Main, and the Green Shack on Clay.

Art Lauback and John & Ray Dolan had the One-O-Seven at 107 Main in the 1940's & 50s, later it would move to 119 Main with Bill Gannon and Bill & Charlotte Allen in the 1960s.

At 406 Ocean Avenue (PCH) the Capri had its grand opening on October 23, 1944 with Robert Bachelor, but most remember C.E. "Crit" Critten bartending in the 1960's & 70s. At the pier there was the Fisherman Restaurant and later Maxwell's by the Sea restaurant.

The Golden Bear Cafe (306-310 PCH) served drinks during the "Dry Days" of the late 1920s to the 1940s and the new Golden Bear nighclub into the 1980s. Over at 410 Ocean (PCH) we find the Buccaneer with Jack Jackson (1958) and the Fireside (1965).

These are just a sample of the many "watering holes" that have come and gone that had kept our thirsty residents happy.