Clocked Out: Where the rock 'n' roll is always free (and margaritas are $7)

Celebrating Taco Tuesday with a few too many cheap drinks on Retro Row and hyper-punk darlings Nolan Void.

Clocked Out: Where the rock 'n' roll is always free (and margaritas are $7)
Nolan Void plays at popular Retro Row wine bar, Vine, on Tuesday, April 23, 2024, in Long Beach, California. Photo by Laur Shelton.

In the spirit of being very much clocked out, you — dearest and most lovely reader — are receiving this column a few days late.

Cheekiness aside, I do apologize and will try to never miss my deadline again. Why did I blow said deadline? I was hungover. Yeah, I said it.

Over the year that I wrote Off the Clock for the Long Beach Post, I never once missed a deadline. If I had the flu, I wrote about healing with Vietnamese soup; if I had taken a vacation in New Orleans, you might have gotten to read about sazerac and etouffee that week. Every Wednesday, I made sure you got my goofy itineraries.

Now that I *ahem* no longer have a “boss” and I’ve been so very busy editing stories and working with my colleagues to build Long Beach a brand new newspaper — I figured I’d indulge myself in some ~ irresponsible behavior, ~ too.

What’s that lovely labor slogan? No Gods, No Masters. 💅

But I promise to not let it become a habit. That’s mostly because getting drunk on a Tuesday night (beware the $7 margaritas at Lola’s) or any night for that matter lends me a pretty nasty hangover for about 24 hours these days. So, you’ll get Clocked Out every Wednesday.

Here’s what I got into last Tuesday that rendered me horizontal on Wednesday (and Thursday tbh).

It started with a “let’s grab a drink” on Fourth Street (a.k.a. Retro Row) with some old friends but we’re going to go in reverse order...

Second Stop

We ended our night at Vine (formerly 4th Street Vine) — a long-beloved, arty wine bar that first opened on the city’s vintage shopping corridor nearly two decades ago.

The bar survived the recession, pandemic closures and a change in ownership between friends to maintain the community art and third-space vibe. It’s where the weirdos of Long Beach’s subculture have continued to find a home even as a revolving door of other vibe-adjacent bars opened and closed around it.

And they happen to be the only bar in Long Beach, where you can catch live music almost every single night of the week for free. On most nights, those shows are fairly well attended, often giving newer bands a chance to be heard. They tend to host a talented mix of folks and a wide range of entertainment. On May 19, you can catch a drag show. This Friday, you hear a DJ spin Turkish psych and Arabic funk.

Last Tuesday, I was able to catch Nolan Void, a Santa-Ana-based band. If I had to impose a sub-sub-sub-genre on the group, I think I’d have to shrug and go with post-synth-punk or hyper-punk — or something that scribbles a line between 100 Gecs and Devo.

Either way, I had a very fun (and a mite belligerent) time bopping around, $4 Montucky in hand. And while that very fun time is in large part thanks to Void and crew, a round (or two) of stiff drinks at our First Stop certainly helped.

First Stop

Lola’s Margarita is served with Pueblo Viejo Blanco tequila, naranja, agave nectar and fresh lime juice. Photo by Alicia Robinson.

Just to remind you, I am still unemployed. One does not simply walk into [name of any cocktail bar] and carelessly order a drink while not receiving a paycheck. We are living in the age of the $16 cocktail.

That’s why you go to a place like Lola’s Mexican Cuisine on Taco Tuesday, where you can get yourself a strong $7 margarita, a $14 pitcher of Modelo, a $4 Herradura Silver shot or a $4 Mexican Lollipop shot.

Tacos meanwhile (don’t forget to eat!) are $3 for street tacos, $3.50 for specialty tacos and $4 for vegan carne asada or vegan mesquite grilled chicken

Or you can always stick to chips and salsa — which magically replenishes itself? It’s not magic, please tip your servers.

So, after three vegan tacos, two generously proportioned margs and 3 baskets of chips, I left stuffed and buzzed for just over $20 and we made our way toward Vine, which is just a few doors down.

According to my bank statement the next day, I spent around $35 for an evening of food, drinks and a lively free show, where I certainly worked off the aforementioned baskets of chips.

Some good news for you, dear reader, is that Tuesday will happen again next week. You can copy this two-stop itinerary on May 7, visit Lola’s and catch Long Beach-based indie five-piece, Darcy Court after. The show runs from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Cheers, and if you go, be sure to call an Uber, a Yellowcab or a saintly friend.

Looking to visit Vine ASAP? Here’s what’s happening there this week.

  • Dawn Koyote - Wednesday, May 1

  • Mixtape with DJ Paul E Wog & DJ Butter Cuts - Thursday, May 2

  • DJ Livn Rm Shows (Turkish Psych, Arabic funk and Euro space) - Friday, May 3

  • Slacker Nation with DJ Dave Thornton and Sam Blasucci of Mapache - Saturday, May 4

  • Cinco De Mayo DJs from 4 to 7 p.m.; Cain, Millionare Motel from 7 to 10 p.m. - Saturday, May 5

Clocked Out is a weekly slice-of-life and itinerary column by Long Beach Watchdog editor Kat Schuster.