Soused Stretch of Huntington Beach Named SoCal's Own Jersey Shore

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Photo: Bistro Savage via Flickr

Congratulations Southern California, you have your very own version of Jersey Shore! Obviously, that's not good news. The L.A. Times reports that an army of drunken louts are rampaging through a three-block stretch of Huntington Beach and the situation is getting pretty out of control. Naked guys are getting thrown out of bars, dudes are jumping off of 20-foot buildings in full view of the cops, bloody fights spill on to the sidewalk, everything is getting stolen, and the cops even have a new shorthand phrase to describe the increasingly common phenomenon of drunks wandering into the wrong houses. Are we having fun yet Huntington Beach?

Not exactly. Along with all of these debauched good times, Huntington Beach comes in at number-one among similarly sized Californian cities for people killed in alcohol-involved traffic accidents. Not to mention, residents are incredibly beleaguered at having revelers urinate, fornicate, and worse, on their front lawns. So what to do?

Ban beer pong! That was among the first steps taken by H.B.'s city council in an attempt to get the bar zone under control. Also out? Drink minimums. And police have zeroed in on Baja Sharkeez, which is typically ground-zero in every hard-partying part of L.A. for students, and those who court them, to get blotto and act ridiculous. This one is clearly no exception.

At this particular Sharkeez in Huntington Beach, the kids are drinking jello shots from syringes and drinking "donkey punch" from 84-ounce fishbowls, while flip cup is still de riguer behavior, even with beer pong verboten. In other words, this town's Main Street has a major alcohol problem on its hands. And it's not even summer yet, when the issues will only increase. The one speed bump to cleaning up the town's reputation? Follow the money.

This same stretch of H.B. used to a seedy haven for criminal behavior before a redevelopment in the eighties turned it into the boozy attraction it is today. Now a strong business and retail community is enjoying the profits in the area, even if residents are feeling frustrated. Sadly for their sense of peace and quiet, it sounds like the mayor is not trying to yank any liquor licenses away, telling the paper, ""Restaurants are not going to survive unless they have alcohol...Unless you're a McDonald's."

For now, as the city awaits the big rush in its sixteen-million-visitors-a-year tourist industry, the city has narrowed its focus on the happenings at Baja Sharkeez, with police mandating that it allow no new customers in after 1:00 A.M., no live entertainment, and drinks that aren't the size of fishbowls after midnight. Such token restrictions are unlikely to bring any peace, safety, and sanity to the city's residents anytime soon. For them, it sounds like another loooong summer is coming right around the bend.

Bar scene gives Huntington Beach both headaches and a hearty revenue boost [LAT]