At The Rock, 'It's Fun to Just Kick Back'

Every night of the week, The Rock has something for everyone--dancing, drinking and more. Open from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., the Canoga Park club has no cover--except Thursdays after 9 p.m., when $2 gets you in for "Thirsty Thursday."

THE SCENE: The word is big. Packed with pool tables, pinball machines, dartboards and big-screen televisions, there's plenty to keep club-goers occupied. The place doesn't draw a lot of dancers, but there's room when the band is right. If you're thirsty, there's beer--200 varieties, imported and domestic, with several dozen on tap.

"It's getting there," said Rat Salad bassist Bruce Robinson between sets. "It's raw, and it has a lot of potential."

THE CROWD: Dress is definitely casual among the 21- to 35-year-old crowd the club pulls in--jeans, boots, T-shirts, leather and hair of all lengths. Wear a tie and you're overdressed. People come to drink, shoot pool, rock or relax.

"It's a pretty mellow crowd," said employee Donat Kazarinoff, 28.

THE MUSIC: Live bands deliver a steady stream of loud rock 'n' roll every night. On a recent Friday, Rat Salad kept the low-key crowd entertained with several sets of classic rock staples such as "Highway to Hell," "All Right Now" and "China Grove."

"This is our drink-and-be-merry night," said Robinson, 28.

THE GOOD: "It's kinda nice to come to a place with your shirt unbuttoned," said 25-year-old Richard A. Haering.

Gaby Hardt, 22, agreed. "It's fun to just kick back," she said.

"At other clubs," added her friend, 22-year-old Sherri Robinson, "you either have to dance or get trampled on."

"The drinks are good," said first-time visitor Robert Tice, 24, an international business major at Pierce College. "Better than Hollywood."

THE BAD: "It would be nice to have some jazz," Haering suggested, "but this crowd wouldn't call for that sort of thing."

One woman said she'd like to see "more longhairs." She smiled. "I love longhairs."

THE WORD: "I killed a man for snoring once," deadpanned one guy to his buddy. "Don't touch my beer."

"Leave me alone," griped another guy at the bar. "Let me watch hockey. Let me live vicariously through the TV."

The Rock, 7230 Topanga Canyon Blvd., Canoga Park. (818) 347-7668.

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