Photo: Jody Owens
Here’s the deal—Southern California is a giant mess of freeways, beaches, desert, a few mountains here and there, and strip malls. No shit, that’s pretty much all they have, especially the strip-mall part of that description. Finding a stand-alone establishment is about as difficult as finding a girl not wearing platform flip-flops or a dude without a raised truck. For the most part, there is nothing cutting-edge about Southern California, which is absolutely massive by the way. San Bernardino County alone is the largest county in the contiguous United States, surpassed only by some wasteland in Alaska. Besides a bunch of cockatiel-headed assholes, all that land does provide for some pretty awesome stuff, like Joshua Tree and Big Bear Mountain and, of course, beaches. They’re really only worth mentioning if you’re the outdoorsy type, but if you’re not, then why are you here? The weather is pretty much sunny and warm every single day (except up in the mountains, dummy), which makes it a bit easier to tolerate the brain-fried residents. Even if you’re not into sand and trees, there actually are some places where—even if they’re in a minimall— you’ll think, “Hey, this doesn’t make me want to go on a murdering spree.” Places where you can feel free to be your degenerate self, knock back dollar shots until you hurl, pick up some of the best carne asada you’ll ever eat (commit to memory the three primary food groups of Southern California: Mexican, Asian, and Diner), or, uh, get a rockabilly haircut… which will probably (and inexplicably) get you laid. There’s also a small-town feel, because a lot of the residents have grown up here together. This means you’re likely to sleep with a girl (or guy) three of your friends have already boned. Have we mentioned the whole Hispanic Bettie Page/old-school-tattoo/Dia De Los Muertos scene? The sexy cholas and cholos? And the coterie of Mexican Morrissey fans? A lot of them live in Whittier and they’re rad. It’s usually best to ask them what to do around town. Although, by the end of the guide, you’ll probably know more about Southern California than you ever really needed to. That said, don’t be sad if we didn’t include your favorite taco joint or you think the beaches mentioned are lame. Just stop reading now. Shut the guide and put it somewhere else (like up your ass). Then go meet up with your dawgs for an early morning sesh, broseph.