Thursday, April 24, 2008

In Search of a Sports Bar/Restaurant: San Manuel Indian Bingo and Casino

I subscribe to neither cable nor satellite TV, and I don't intend to do so anytime in the future. I just don't see the logic in paying for more commercial-loaded television. Besides, streaming broadband video rocks.

Anyhow, since Game Two of the Lakers/Nuggets playoff series wasn't on broadcast TV, and since we wanted to see the game, we had to find a place that had either TNT or FSN West on their television. We had about three general options:

1. Be THAT neighbor/friend/relative and drop by unannounced;

2. Go to restaurant/bar with sports on the TV and awkwardly stay there for about three hours, ordering Buffalo wings and beer the whole time (which would've been great...maybe next time); or

3. Go somewhere else with lots of room, lots of plasma TVs showing sports, and lots of blinking bright lights and noises.

We chose option number three and went to the San Manuel Indian Bingo and Casino in Highland, California. Other than the TV sounds being silent (it takes a tiny amount of basketball familiarity to figure out what's going on, so that's not a big deal), San Manuel was a pretty good choice. We spent the first half watching the game at the buffet, where I ate a ranch-full of Korean BBQ-style beef short ribs and other gluttonous quantities of food. Yes, I felt the pain of my gluttony an hour after eating.

The second half of the game was spent at the food court, with a $1.50 fountain soda and the company of various gamblers on break and a casino employee doing the rounds while glimpsing the game. It was a diverse mix of the working peoples of California (including yours truly), with a large strata of over-21 age and ethnic background represented. It's the kind of blue collar street cred that a presidential candidate would envy for a few weeks. By all accounts, everyone watching the food court televisions was going for the Lakers (some more than others). The third quarter was the most exciting part of the game, as the final quarter was just a blowout. The Lakers won, by the way.

At least the next two games will be on broadcast TV, since away games are usually broadcast on KCAL 9. In the meanwhile, I'd better lay off the beef for a while.

Kobe Bryant photograph credit: michael248.

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