In an area of Orange County rich with musical history and host to an awesome bar scene known as Downtown Fullerton, lies a bar unlike the commonplace American watering holes with loud hip-hop and cookie cutter patrons.
This bar is known as The Slidebar Rock and Roll Café. Restaurant by day, drinking establishment by night, Slidebar is a unique experience that is hard to find. On Tuesday nights, bar goers can feel as if they hit 88 miles per hour and were transported back to the days of leg warmers and parachute pants.
We got the chance to check it out and chat with two of the guys behind the scenes of Totally 80’s Tuesdays, Slidebar’s Ramon Gonzales and our very own Sonik DJ.
Starting out as a collaboration between two 80’s nerds, one of which had an affinity for tacos, naturally turned into a Taco Tuesday event where Slidebar would do a throwback to 80’s rock. Throw in some alliteration and you get Two dollar beers for Totally 80’s Tuesday. The idea became a reality in 2009.
A match made in heaven? Yes! Especially if you are a starving student at any of the local colleges, getting fed and enjoying some brews for a price around what you would pay to take yourself and a date to the movies…what more could you ask for?
Slidebar’s normal customers are the antithesis of what you would find at a pop concert. The eighties music on Tuesday nights, on the other hand, draw a more rounded crowd. As Slidebar’s Ramon Gonzales puts it “Eighties music is just kind of universal, you could like whatever, dub step, hip-hop, thrash metal, but you know a lot of these songs, they are timeless, so it works. It’s good eating music, it’s good drinking music.”
Pulling an average crowd of 250-300 people and sometimes hitting capacity is an experience that you will not find at the taco shack down the street. The best you will get there is they’ll knock fifty cents off their normal taco prices and sell you bottles of Cerveza for a price that doesn’t reflect the effort taken to pop the bottle cap off. Slidebar on the other hand provides monstrous tacos for a dollar a piece. To top that when you slide up to that bar stool and decide to grab an adult beverage it will only set you back two bucks for a domestic draft. If your thirst is more refined import drafts are three dollars, and well drinks are four bucks. With prices like that, ballin’ on a budget comes with ease, and the good times can roll.
And roll they will. KROQ’s Sonik DJ has been DJing there since May of 2010, and hasn’t missed a Tuesday since. He tries to stick close to 80’s rock since he is a KROQ employee the rest of the week, but he is not one to stand in the way of someone trying to embrace other genres of the decade. Declaring, “…the thing is, if somebody comes up and wants to have a good time and wants to hear some top 40 pop or maybe even some old school hip hop, I’ll try and do what I can and work in a song or two. We do keep it strictly within the 80’s however.” In order to regulate such a strict adherence to only 80’s music Sonik keeps up a pretty thorough collection of old records. He has been known to produce them on the occasion that a release date of a song is questioned. He knows his stuff, even going as far as to recall a story of his first dance in the 7th grade to “The Promise” by When in Rome. After our conversation he got to watch them perform live on Slidebar’s stage, right before his set.
When in Rome (who are releasing an album in July) aren’t the only eighties artists to grace the stage of the Rock and Roll café. Gonzales informed us that Gene Loves Jezebel was there a couple weeks ago, and that they have a range of other musicians perform for them, including David J of Bauhaus, 2 Live Crew, as well as Exene and John Doe of X. They also host spectacular tribute bands. Gonzales rattled of a few of his favorites, “Guys like Sweet and Tender Hooligans who do timeless Smith classics; you know, Morrissey stuff, and that always packs out. Strangelove, which is an amazing Depeche Mode tribute, if you ever get the chance to see them, close your eyes…it’s Depeche Mode, it’s spot on Depeche Mode.”
So next time you have a Tuesday night or a Wednesday morning off and/or whenever you want to break the ho-hum cycle of only being social on the weekends, check out Slidebar’s Totally Eighties Tuesday. Grab some tacos, bring some friends, meet some friends, maybe catch a band, and definitely kick back and rock out to the musical stylings of Sonik DJ!
Slidebar Rock and Roll Café
122 East Commonwealth Avenue
Fullerton, CA 92832