YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections


Sloppy Joe's Serves Up Hemingway Mystique


IRVINE — Sloppy Joe's is an indoor bar at the Irvine Spectrum that feels like an outdoor bar by the beach, which makes it a fine summer hang, if you like a clean-cut, mainstream vibe. And Papa too.

The spacious place (part of a chain) has high ceilings, big old ceiling fans, a giant patio-furniture umbrella and large, arched windows and doors flung open onto a large terrace with lots of tables.

A nautical theme unites the main room, which boasts a sizable dance floor, with a separate poolroom. Murals show sailboats afloat green seas.

A gnarly hammerhead shark dives south from the ceiling over the long, usually-crowded bar. Dark wood and fishnets abound.

Then there's Papa. Hemingway, that is.

Papa on the bartender's T-shirt; Papa on the cover of Life magazine hanging on the wall, along with vintage photographs of Papa reading the paper, Papa helping catch a hefty fish, Papa having a nip.

According to management, the hard-drinking author was such a regular at the original Sloppy Joe's in Key West, Fla., that he became a silent partner.

After his death in 1961 (a copy of the newspaper obit, framed and yellowed, also is on the wall), his widow donated a slew of memorabilia to the establishment.

Of course, all that literary history didn't seem to matter much to the revelers on a recent Saturday night; the Tanned and the Beautiful danced to familiar rock hits (by the likes of Midnight Oil and Jesus Jones), shot pool, flirted or smooched and knocked down doses of Sloppy Joe's specialty: the Hammerhead, a whopping 85-ounce, $12.95 fruity rum drink served in a bucket the size of a small child's head.

Actually, maybe the Hammerhead was doing the knocking down, leaving many too woozy to boogie.

"All right you guys, get your [selves] on the dance floor," pleaded the singer with the band.

Live bands play danceable Top 40 tunes every Thursday through Saturday.

The large menu includes the usual bar appetizers (buffalo wings and potato skins, $6.95), salads (chicken fajita and Cobb, $7.75), burgers, sandwiches and--surprise, surprise--Key lime pie, for $3.50.

Draft and domestic beers run $3-$4; mixed drinks and glasses of wine run $3.50-$5.25.


* The Irvine Spectrum, 31 Fortune Drive.

* (714) 727-1484.

* Dancing to live music Thursdays, 9 p.m.-12:30 a.m.; Fridays-Saturdays, 4:30 p.m.-1 a.m.

* Cover: $4 after 9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

Los Angeles Times Articles