Galco's Soda Pop Stop is a magical place. For carbonated beverage fans, the Highland Park shop is a retail marvel, an unparalleled source of sweet bubblies and even some sour pops, and everything else along the soda flavor spectrum you knew and didn't know existed. Even folks whose beverage of choice rarely strays from L.A.'s finest might find themselves heading back to the parking lot on York Avenue schlepping a couple of mixed cases and a surprisingly large charge on that month's credit card bill for stuff they hardly ever touch.

An upcoming event on Sunday, July 24 from 5 to 8 p.m. proves that it's never too late for a retro-themed enterprise to try something new. Not only will Galco's owner and local Highland Park stalwart John Nese open the doors for his first ever soda tasting event to benefit Friends of the Southwest Museum Coalition, but historian/slideshow presenter/master showman/writer Charles Phoenix will take on a new role as soda mocktail mixologist.

Phoenix will pour “poptails,” including “The Galco,” “The Southwest” and “The Highland Park.” According to Phoenix, the process of formulating the drinks was “a collaborative effort” between himself and Nese. Regardless, we can't wait to taste the results, and this is the kind of creative and grassroots neighborhood coalition-building we can really get behind. Live music and a benefit auction are on the agenda, too.

“Beyond the seemingly endless supply of soda pop, the amazing retro candy counter and those amazing vintage check out stands, the real heart and soul of the place is John,” Phoenix tells us. “Homespun and family run, it doesn't get much better than that. He's a local hero.” Poptails cheers to that.

Tickets cost $12 in advance, $15 at the door, and in addition, revenues from store sales during the fundraiser will benefit Friends of the Southwest Museum.

LA Weekly