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SENSE OF PLACE

RAIDERVILLE : In Front of the Big Screen at Pancho's

December 29, 1985|LYNN SIMROSS | Lynn Simross is a Times staff writer

In Pancho's restaurant, patrons dine in a quiet courtyard cooled by green plants and a tile fountain. But in the next room, things are hot. A noisy crowd jostles at the bar, eyes on the big-screen TV. On occasion, a brass horn blares above the din. The name of the Manhattan Beach establishment is Pancho's, but owner Ab Lawrence calls it Raiderville. "Pancho's always has been a sports bar," says the ex-Princeton football player. "But when the Raiders came to L.A. (in 1982) it became a Raider place. The fans--they're psychos." Photos of Pancho Villa decorate the restaurant, but sports warriors are glorified in the bar, which is hung with Raider pennants, hats, T-shirts, pompons, even pinatas . On game day, fans arrive early, and by kickoff time are three-deep at the bar. Mondays when the Raiders aren't playing, linebacker Rod Martin or punter Ray Guy might show up (and if the playoffs start without the Raiders, some players may be there today to watch). Injured quarterback Jim Plunkett is here on a Monday night--he says "to lend moral support" to center Dave Dalby, who will answer questions and give away souvenirs at half time. Lawrence says retired linebacker Ted Hendricks was the first Raider to frequent the bar. "He adopted the place; then some of the other players started coming. They won't get hassled here. Nobody is going to ask them what happened yesterday if they lost." Like most in the crowd, Paul Stanojev wears black and silver-gray for the game. "I'm a Raider regular," he says. "They're aggressive, talented and fun to watch." Down the bar is Ken Rouillard, a former Rams fan: "The Rams went to Orange County, so that's it for them. I used to go to a place in the Marina (to watch football), but this is more fun. This is my new Raider home."

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