It was Friday night. Date night. We decided to try a hotel bar. Can't fail to impress with a hotel bar. We thought we'd try the Disneyland Hotel. We were just looking for a quiet drink, maybe a piano, a few crushed-velour seats. What we found was some serious dementia, Disney-style.
Welcome to Sgt. Preston's Yukon Saloon and Dance Hall, probably the only bar in Orange County where your date could be dragged onto the dance floor by somebody in a 7-foot-tall bear costume.
You could, I suppose, call it "The Happiest Bar on Earth." Combining elements of such popular Disneyland attractions as the Country Bear Jamboree and the Golden Horseshoe Revue, it's twice-nightly floor shows are just a touch risque and just a bit, ahem, goofy.
Actually, the place is a Disney cartoon come to life, the sort of turn-of-the-century, rough-and-tumble Canadian drinking house where Mickey might stop for a cool one, if Mickey stopped for cool ones. Rough-hewn wooden planking is underfoot. The bar is wood and brass. The jaded-but-not-really songbirds wear dazzling red and blue period costumes.
The show starts with the introduction of Sgt. Preston, a uniform-clad Royal Canadian Mountie who plays keyboards with the house band. Then a slightly gilded chartreuse called Klondike Kate comes in to belt out a couple of songs about the man who done her wrong. As she sings, she saunters through the audience, making herself at home on the laps of a couple of wide-eyed, tongue-tied tourists.
The act is big on audience participation. During the fast numbers, that costumed bear, Yukon Klem, plucks a few females from the crowd for a quick trot around the dance floor. It all ends with a tourist appreciation extravaganza in which the cast sings a medley of songs that manages to mention the names of all 50 states. Even Montana.
It's fast-paced enough to leave you gasping for a drink. Heading the list of cocktails is the Can-Can, a blend of strawberries and Amaretto encircled by a souvenir garter ($5.75 for one of those babies). Bud and Bud Light are on tap for $2.75. Domestic bottled beers are $3.25. Imported beers (Heineken, Molson, Fosters and Corona) are $3.75.
The menu offerings are priced reasonably, though. A large platter of nachos with guacamole, sour cream and refried beans topped by a rather bizarre combination of real melted cheese and jalapeno cheese whiz, is $4.75. Buffalo wings are $4, onion rings $2.50, and baby back ribs $4.50.
If you approach life with a sardonic sense of humor and an appreciation for the overblown cliche, this could be your place. If you're looking for a place where the kids will be entertained while you drink, this could definitely be your place. But if all you want is a tight drink and a quiet corner, forget it.
Sgt. Preston's Yukon Saloon and Dance Hall, in the Disneyland Hotel, 1150 W. Cerritos Ave., Anaheim. Open daily 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. with shows at 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. Tuesday s through Sunday s . (714) 778-6600.