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Playing the Waiting Game

Most restaurants offer a small, dark bar area where customers can have a drink while they wait for a table. The Rusty Pelican in Glendale takes that a few steps further. The bar here is an attraction all its own, with sports, trivia games, music and even food to keep the patrons busy and having fun.

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THE SCENE: A large room set aside from the seafood restaurant, with two bars, a big-screen TV showing sporting events and about half a dozen smaller sets that, most of the night, display an electronic trivia game that patrons can play at their tables. A full menu is available in the bar, including the fare found in the restaurant. “Because of the sports and entertainment we offer,” said general manager Jim Dufault, “some people would rather eat here than in there.”

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THE CROWD: A somewhat ever-changing array of families, couples and groups waiting for tables, but others are there particularly to enjoy the atmosphere of the bar and listen to the music. The crowd ranges in age from late-20s to mid-30s. “It’s a more upscale bar than some others,” said Kitty Soohoo, 34, of Monrovia. “It has a more sophisticated crowd.”

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THE MUSIC: The CopyCats entertained the audience with blues and ‘60s and ‘70s rock ‘n’ roll classics with a few newer, alternative tunes sprinkled in the sets. Once the happy hour table was cleared off the dance floor, the trio kept patrons dancing to songs like “Two Princes,” “Bad Moon Rising” and “Play That Funky Music.”

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THE GOOD: Judging from the number of office parties and people from cities far away, the club seems to be a good place for group get-togethers. On a recent Thursday night, there were two office going-away parties and a birthday going on at once. “Normally, I wouldn’t come out this far,” said John McClennon, 31, of Playa Del Rey. “But this place is cool. I would come back again and again.” Also, Soohoo said she goes here on her first dates. “It’s a good, safe environment to meet them.”

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THE BAD: Because it has such a transitory crowd, people tend to stay with their own groups, and when someone interesting comes in, chances are they’ll be gone in a few minutes. “Usually people are waiting for tables,” said Augustine Alvarado, 30, of Northridge. “So, it’s not very easy to socialize.”

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THE WORD: “This guy’s going to lead the conga line tonight, don’t you think?” said a member of the CopyCats, about an overzealous man in a Santa Claus hat.

* Rusty Pelican, 300 Harvey Drive, Glendale. (818) 242-9191. Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. Monday to Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday to Saturday. No cover.


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