Aug. 3 2011 04:30 PM

This week, Enrique experiences prison-quality restrooms and chicken wire

Enrique Limon
Photo by Lizeth Santos-Roberts

Google “Plum Loco Saloon” and news of a murder apparently happening there in 2008, along with a report of a woman being run over and killed after partying there last year, will appear.

What’s a bar owner to do?

Well, in this case, slap on a fresh coat of paint, install some fancy Tommy Bahama-like ceiling fans, and re-brand the joint as the National City Sports Lounge (2511 Sweetwater Road).

Remnants of its rough-and-tumble past remain, like prison-quality restrooms and chicken wire used as a window treatment. But, as bartender Susan will point out, “The rowdiest it gets now is when elderly Filipino men fight over whose turn it is on pool.”

Located a stone’s throw from a motel, a 24-hour 7-Eleven and a Live Scan depot, if Satan were to design the perfect dive, this would be it.

Tagged dollar bills hanging throughout are about the only décor here. A dry-erase board hanging by the bar reminded patrons that Ramadan “starts at sunset,” and, in a corner, a poster with a life-size image of Snoop Dogg advertises the daily Blast by Colt 45 happy hour, featuring the popular strawberry lemonade and raspberry watermelon flavors.

Having already picked up a couple of new Tagalog swear words during my first 15 minutes there, I struck up a convo with a wiggchero (combination of wigger and ranchero) sitting next to me and a paint-splattered construction worker who I thought had a nose ring at first.

Upon closer inspection, I noticed it was a perfectly placed strand of caulk.

A heart-to-heart on the economy (and how to properly pronounce half of his garb, in the wiggchero’s case) ensued, and then, all of a sudden, an old-school biker—handlebar mustache and all—entered the building.

Eying the jukebox, ready to get my “YMCA” on, I prayed to God for a sailor to appear (not the first time I’ve prayed for this, by the way).

“Something’s different,” the old man pointed out in a raspy voice, admiring his surroundings.

Wiping his nose, the Joss Stone of the drywall set chimed in: “Well, for starters, they took away the yellow caution tape.”