Not every adopted Angeleno hops on the Laker bandwagon. Many of the guys with whom we play pick-up. The gruff, white-bearded bartender at the local pub. “I'm from Jersey, see,” the bartender said on a Sunday afternoon, doling out free samples of a new Irish whiskey he'd received. “I got here decades ago and I said fuck it, I'll take the Clippers.”
In the place where every Prius seems to fly a purple pennant, vocal support for any alternative is admirable, even brave, especially under the circumstances: This year, as it was last year and the year before that, the NBA championship is the Lakers' to lose. Losing is something other teams do in the postseason, teams from small market cities where the weather is crappy and the front row fans less shaded and shiny. When the playoffs begin tomorrow, some of us will be looking for friendly bars filled with fellow haters, places where we can watch our squads crumble without a sneering hoops sage in a fauxback trying to educate us about how clutch Kobe is. The problem is, we don't know where to find them.
We did research. We posted “bars wanted” bulletins on blogs and combed the Internet. From Sonny McLean's in Santa Monica to Fat Face Fenner's in Hermosa Beach, most Irish- or Cheers-themed bars host regular contingents of Celtics fans. Apparently Knicks fans gather at The Happy Ending in Hollywood, but we don't know if we'd want to gather there with them. Largely though, bars don't trumpet their allegiances, maybe because alienating the established majority could prove bad for business (and the front windows). Where, we want to know, do Laker-haters hang out? Where will Hornets fans huddle in the first round? Where will Mavericks supporters hole up in the second? Readers, it's time to share. We like half-frozen beer, fried fish sandwiches, broken jukeboxes, old people, and chairs with back support.