L.A. Characters: Brandon at the Bar

Let me tell you a story about how I recently stumbled into a conversation with someone involved in a story that’s HUGE in the news at the moment.

A few weeks ago I was sitting at the bar in an old school Hollywood joint. It’s a narrow, musty old place. When I tell some locals it’s a part of the pub crawl they sometimes raise an eyebrow. “That place?” they ask, confused at my choice. Few of them know that it’s one of the oldest surviving bars on Hollywood Boulevard – a street with little respect for history. It’s a miracle this place has lasted since the thirties and not been turned into a Dunkin Donuts.

It’s 4pm. I’m heading to the Magic Castle in the evening so I’m decked out in a full tux. Just killing time with a cold beer before meeting friends.

“Why you dressed like that?” the guy beside me asks. He’s a shaggy but stylish looking fellow with the hunched back and glistening forehead of someone hammering the drinks in.

I explain about heading to the Magic Castle. “Cool.” he says. We make some chit-chat and our introductions. His name is Brandon. He plays guitar and manages a bar further west in city. We talk about music and have an enjoyable conversation.

“I don’t like card tricks. I’m more into tricks with napkins and straws and stuff ya find lying around the bar, ya know?”

“Dead on, mate,” I say; a phrase the Americans don’t get that I haven’t quite been able to kick yet. Only half a bottle of Modelo to go and I’ll be on my way.

“I’m not gonna let him get away with it!” the guy slurs. He’s really smashed.

“Let who get away with what? ” I ask.

“He can’t keep talking trash about my friend! I won’t let him!” he continues.

“Oh yeah? Who’s that?” I ask. He’s so drunk. I’m not expecting any coherent answers.

“I told you, Johnny Depp! He can’t keep spreading his lies!”

Now I’m intrigued. “Lies about who?”

“My friend Amber!” He’s getting agitated now. “He’s talking all this shit about her in court. And I’m gonna put a stop to it.”

At this point I’m convinced this guy is just rambling drunken nonsense – something I’ve been guilty of myself plenty of times. So I’m happy to indulge him. “How are you going to do that?” I ask.

“I’m gonna fly to Virginia and take the stand against him!”

I can’t help but laugh a little.

“You don’t believe me!” he shouts. He gives me a piercing stare.

“You mean to tell me you really know Johnny Depp and Amber Heard?” I ask.

“Amber is one of my best friends!”


“You don’t believe me!” He’s right, I don’t. “Get out your phone! Get it out!” I do so. He has his phone out too. “Key in Amber Heard and my name into Google.” I follow along with him on my phone, wondering what game he’s playing.

I look at my screen. God damn the man’s not lying! Lots of photos of Amber Heard and Brandon immediately show up, accompanied with dozens of trashy news articles about them.

“I told ya! I told ya!” he triumphantly exclaims.


I should pause the story to here to mention that, unlike a lot of people, I haven’t been following the Depp/Heard trial all that closely. Most of my knowledge of it comes from memes. I have my own opinions on it, but the point of this anecdote is not to speculate on the trial. I’m just relaying what happened when I bumped into this guy at a bar. Disclaimer over.


Brandon fills me in on his side of the story. It boils down to this: Johnny Depp is a liar and Amber Heard did nothing wrong. He’s flying to Virginia tomorrow to testify on her behalf. This solo mission to get completely annihilated on whiskey and beer is his last hurrah before the flight the next day.

“I can’t believe I’m going to take on one of the most powerful names in Hollywood.” He slowly tilts forward face first toward the bar.

“That’s crazy man,” I say. “Are you scared about testifying in court?”

He bolts upright. “Scared!? Me!? I’m not scared! I’ve been in court plenty of times!” I don’t doubt him. “Everything Johnny says is a lie and I will prove it!”

I’ve seen the memes so I have to ask. “Even the story about her pooping on his bed?”

He hesitates before sipping his whiskey. “Ok…that did happen. BUT, I don’t think it was Amber. She had this lesbian friend living with them at the time. That seems like something she would do.”

I’m still trying to process everything I’m hearing when he knocks back the last of his drinks.

“Nice talking to ya man, wish me luck.”

He pays for his drinks and mine, despite my objections, then stumbles out of the bar into the bright L.A. sunlight.


Spend enough time at Hollywood dive bars and you’ll meet an entertaining character like this. If you want to join me next time, and watch some cool magic tricks while we’re at it, check out my bar crawl website.