Dogz Bar & Grill. Hot Dogs, a Furry and Vodka-Filled Bloody Marys.
Sometimes, things aren't as they seem. Or maybe, don't judge a book by its cover. Or possibly, a first impression isn't always a lasting impression. They may all be applicable here.
I had driven past this person in a full-body, floppy-eared, brown dog costume more times than I can remember. I'll refer to "him" as a "he" out of ease, though applying a gender to furries seems somewhat unnatural and rather counter to the whole point of furries in general. But like I said, I had seen him on the corner of 2nd Street and PCH more times than I can count. I've seen him walking, head down, ears flopped over, big feet paws moving slowly one in front of the other. I've seen him carrying his over-sized sign for Dogz Bar & Grill, attempting to chauffeur patrons into his seemingly dog-themed establishment. And based on these observations, I always assumed this Dogz place was one of those family-friendly, Applebee's type restaurants. I mean, it surely couldn't be the type of divey, alcohol-soaked establishment where I generally like to spend my Sundays. So I was pretty much set on enjoying my furry restaurant gimmick from afar while never actually stepping foot in this place.
The Hot Dogs
Until the craving set in. In case you didn't know, I have a thing for hot dogs, well actually, "not dogs." Yes, I love me a delicious vegetarian hot dog slathered in the most plastic-like nacho cheese you can get your hands on, and the absolute closest hot dog slinging joint to my apartment is Dogz Bar & Grill. I checked the Yelp reviews one last time, finding low star ratings and generally dissatisfied customers, but I thought about that furry dog fellow walking in the beating summer sun to and from his corner each day and decided to give it a chance... for him.
I walked under the cartoon dog sign, passed the small outdoor space where patrons eat hot dogs alongside their doggy companions, and went through the front doors. And to my surprise, there was a bar inside. No shit, you may say. It's in the name. But seriously. No grill atmosphere, no restaurant ambiance, no children or balloons or furries standing around. No, this was just a straight up bar where you can bring your dog and eat some hot dogs, and potentially get wasted on unlimited mimosas for $10. Or $5 bloody marys. :)
The Vodka-Filled Bloody Marys
So I picked my "not dog" of choice and got down to business. Even after being pleasantly surprised and, in fact, rather joyful that I found a new bar that also served hot dogs, I remained skeptical of their bloody mary. But as I watched the bartender pour a nearly full glass of vodka, my hesitation subsided.
I'm more than familiar with the cough-inducing burn that accompanies cheap, shitty, and typically Russian well vodka, but that familiar burn was surprising masked. And considering how much of it he managed to get in the glass, that's really saying a lot. Little chucks of onion and coarse black pepper pieces matched a heavier Worcestershire flavor in what was clearly a house-made, or at least house-customized, mix. A moderate heat with just the smallest amount of horseradish left a pleasantly lingering back of the throat burn, and an average but perfectly acceptable garnish finished off the drink.
I wasn't expecting to find what I did at Dogz, and I certainly wasn't expecting to find a bar that actually put some effort into their bloody mary mix. But after I allowed myself to break free from my assumptions and trust in that furry friend, I was quite satisfied with the outcome.
3 Celery Stalks.