“To recall L.P. Hartley’s immortal line from his novel, The Go-Between, ‘the past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.’
“As just-legal 21-year old bar-hopping locals, tightly focused on misspending our youth while weaving our way south on Coast Boulevard on a Friday or Saturday night, our terminal destination was the venerable Coast Inn’s South Seas Room.
“Ur Tiki décor, stupefying syrupy tropical drinks made with Bacardi 151 rum, bar-top arm wrestling contests, a renewable and seemingly unlimited supply of sorority girls, all those components made this a weekly local rite.
“In ‘that’ unsophisticated Laguna in ‘those days,’ this was ‘class.’
“It was simply characteristic of those unenlightened times, that any non-local or tourist, mistakenly walking into this Alpha-male testosterone pit, would have found themselves uncomfortably surrounded by a group of socially territorial and undeniably ‘straight’ surfers, unencumbered by today’s more tolerant attitudes, who considered the South Seas Room their exclusive ‘spot.’
“That would eventually change, but during those years, that was the way it was.”