Tequila Hoppers lies amidst strip malls, office buildings and industrial centers, a rock in the shadow of the mighty snow-covered Mt. Baldy. On this chilly day, there are no less than a dozen trucks and SUVs piled around this nondescript complex, and signs posted by the door forbid from entry those who wear their caps sideways. Just inside the doorway, promotional materials run neck-in-neck with memorabilia behind glass-encased stands. Welcome to the monkey house.
Further inside, the dark, and even chillier, room fills with music and the competing sounds of televisions (50, as the signs outside boast) permanently glued on every possibility of ESPN, the large screen in the main part of the hall playing to the tune of Al Bundy. The testosterone runs high—tables are occupied by resident couch potatoes sporting girths of alls sizes, and there is a noticeable absence of boobs, save for the waitresses efficiently filing from one table to the next, short shorts just covering their asses and then just a little more and long tube socks. Maybe the lack of boobs is due to ladies night having taken place the night before. Our waitress sports a black and gray striped shirt in addition to the rest of the get up, which prompts a look-over from my partner. Me, I think she’s a bit too smart to be playing the part, but her efficiency works to our advantage as we get our food in rather record time.
Tequila Hoppers offers above-standard bar fare, a little on the pricey side since appetizers run well above $7.95 while burgers fall around the $10 range. Luckily for us, the generous happy hour deal (between 2:30PM and 6:00PM daily) cuts our bill in half. We settle on two appetizer samplers and a burger—the Sampler Platter ($12.95) of beer-battered zucchini wedges, cheese sticks, chicken fingers and quesadilla, and the other the house (and customer) favorite, a Mexican sampler ($10.95) of four mini-street tacos (we opt for a half and half mix of chicken and beef), three fried mini chicken burritos that’s more bean and cheese than chicken, and three beef taquitos whose consistency resembles more the great white bird. The chicken tacos, in particular, are excellent—succulent, well-seasoned and with a nice topping of onions and cilantro. The shredded beef tacos are a little on the dry side, as is the burger. The appetizer platter doesn’t disappoint, yet it doesn’t really impress either. I make a mental note to visit Taco Tuesdays for the $.75 cent tacos and $1.50 tequila shots.
The selection of beers is beyond measure. A nice blend of domestic is topped by an even longer list of imports and Mexican beers. We tried our luck with a local brew—the Orange Wheat by Hangar 24—a Redlands-based brewery. The concoction has a smoothness cut by a citrusy aroma and aftertaste.
Tequila Hoppers offers good beer and fine service set amidst a generic bar atmosphere. If you’ve got time and love shooting pool over a bucket of beer, Tequila Hoppers will be your digs.
Tequila Hoppers Bar & Grill, 60 N. Mountain Ave., Upland; (909) 985-9114, www.tequilahoppers.com. Lunch for two during Happy Hour with beers, $27. Open daily, noon–2AM; AE, MC, V