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Suburban Corral for the Country Set

August 04, 1995|KASTLE WASERMAN

The first sound you hear at the Country Crest Lounge in Reseda is the clunk of cowboy boots on the dance floor. "Heel, heel, toe, grapevine," calls the instructor to a group of aspiring line dancers. The Country Crest is all about country: the dancing, the music, the attire. The only thing missing is a place to tie your horse out front.

THE SCENE: Cowboy hats hang on the wall and an Indian statue and wagon wheels decorate the club, whose large dance floor has plenty of room for two-steppin'. One couple in particular stole the show on a recent visit. Calling themselves the JJ Dancers (for Joe and Janet), they strutted their high-kickin' line dancing and sultry cha-chas. There is a section to the side with tables and chairs for non-dancers. In the back there's a quiet section with booths, cozy chairs and a fireplace. But the serious action takes place near the bar and two pool tables, the scene of Wednesday-night tournaments.

THE CROWD: Filled with patrons in their late 30s to 50s who share a love for country music, the crowd peaked about 10 p.m., then began to dwindle. Dress ranged from casual wear to traditional cowboy attire with hats, boots, jeans, full skirts and a few Reba McEntire T-shirts.

THE MUSIC: There's live music on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights. A recent Wednesday featured the Coyote Junction playing country rock. The band took requests for dance favorites, from the cowboy cha-cha to the tush push, that got the crowd up and kicking.

THE GOOD: Even if you're not a country music fan, watching people line dance is downright entertaining. The lessons right before the band begins bring newcomers to the dance floor to try out their moves. For Carol Moriarty, this was her first try at line dancing. "Next time I'm going to wear comfortable shoes," she said. The club also offers swing lessons on Tuesdays.

THE BAD: A couple of the pool players on a recent night were rude. There's limited parking in front; when that lot fills up, people have to use the one behind that lacks easy access to the club. Both lots have security.

THE WORD: For Mike Barger, the place is comfortable. "The atmosphere is nice, people keep coming back and they treat you like friends. The bartenders remember what you drink. It's like that TV show 'Cheers'!"

Country Crest Lounge, 6101 Reseda Blvd., Reseda, is open from 6 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily. Live music and dance lessons on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday; swing dance lessons on Tuesday. No cover or minimum. Call (818) 342-1563.

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