I'm no fancy psychiatrist, but like its name indicates, Chula Vista's Diamond Jim's (773 Third Ave.) is multifaceted to the point of bordering on multiple-personality disorder.
For starters, everything inside— from the barstools to the carpet—is emerald green. It boasts charming hacienda-style archways as well as an impressive light display a la Tijuana's Baby Rock, circa 1993. And, depending on which corner you're in, it can either seem to be a full-on Chargers Nation bar, a NASCAR pit box or the lounge at Graceland, thanks to more neon-trimmed framed pictures of The King than you can shake a peanut-butter-and-banana sandwich at.
Equal parts saloon, dive, dance hall and museum, it's also the closest watering hole to the South Bay Corrections Facility.
“Our special today is $2 shots of José Cuervo,” bartender Jessica said. “Unless you're a sloppy drunk, in which case, just forget I mentioned it.”
Before making her way down the list to the $5 margaritas, a guy in a GAP hooded sweatshirt stormed in, asking, “Did someone get murdered here?” He claimed he'd heard “at least” six shots.
“Yes. I murdered a dude,” a patron jokingly exclaimed.
At least I hope he was joking.
“He owed me $6,” the patron continued, “so, I shot him six times. I was, like, ‘Hey, get up! This ain't Europe.'” Dumbfounded, the enquiring passerby stocked up on pork cracklins and called it a night.
Karaoke Jockey Cecy was running late, as she had to make a last-minute run to Best Buy for a USB cord, which gave everybody time to warm up their instruments while watching everything from a fishing show to Jesus Christ Superstar on Jim's impressive TV collection.
Cable crisis under control, Cecy eventually made her grand entrance to Run-D.M.C.'s It's Tricky and started making the rounds. Excited, a Boon the Fourth of July-type wheelchair-bound man got up (a flat-screen musical-messiah miracle, no doubt), and with painful moans and hollers got through what I think was Bee Gees standard.
The rough-and-tumble homeboy/wangsta crowd could have torn him a new one, but showing their sweet side, rewarded him with a standing ovation instead.
Lost in the moment, I overheard bartender Jess say she'd gotten her “lucky pearl necklace” and was ready to belt one out.
At least that's what my mind heard her say.
“I said mic necklace, perv boy,” she said, pointing at the bejeweled microphone charm dangling from her neck.
My Freudian slip, I guess.