No Pain, No Novacane.
27 year old vegan and Novacane Bar owner, talks female hustlers, growing up in the bar scene, && supporting the Gay Community.
I pulled up to Novacane Bar around 6:30pm last Tuesday; camera around my neck, mellow, & slightly stoned. I'm greeted by a larger than life Red Headed woman - painted on the exterior of the bar. I all of a sudden wanna wear space boots for some reason.
I proceed to walk through the front door (which by the way has this view of two super sick palm trees.. if you look up just enough to not break your neck) to grab a seat at the.....bar.
A very stoic Angie greets me in a rush, not knowing that I am Raisa from Eyes Like Pearls, here to interview her. She quickly learns and hands me a menu. She's manning the bar alone. Waiting on her first shift to come thru.
I started off with "RIch kids" drink while i awaited the mystery bartenders' arrival. the apple based cocktail is Sweet, but perfectly balanced.
Halfway through my drink, the bartender arrives....Angie looks at me...."Okay babe, I'm ready!"
"Perfect!" I say
We vibe before I began asking questions. The more we talk, the more we like one another. She's a homegirl:
RAISA: I discovered you while browsing my Instagram Explore page. I'm familiar with your online presences; but would you mind telling my Pearls a little about yourself and the Novacane Bar. How'd you get started?
Angie: My parents have been in the industry for 30+ years. I've always know this is what I wanted..to own a bar. You know, my parents were immigrants, they worked their way up. My dad is from Guatemala, oldest of 11, he taught me work ethic..along with my mom. My dad started as a janitor, now he & my mom own multiple businesses. I went to work with both of them, it taught me work ethics - to work my ass off. My parents helped me a lot with opening this bar, but it was important for me to put my foot down and let them know that I wanted to do things my way! Watching them tho, that was my schooling. My dad would get fined at his bar sometimes, so I learned from his mistakes...ask for ID. I have young women working under me, I gotta make sure everything is always legit. I know without my parents, this would be 100x harder. Novacane is 1 year old..but a little before this endeavor, I felt like a loser...questioning my life and purpose..like "what am i doing with myself." Thankful for that growth.
Angie excuses herself to check on customers and patrons throughout the bar. Its only 7:30pm, but people are starting to fill in.
"Okay" said Angie as she sat back down...she's ready again.
R: What does Feminism mean to you and what role are you playing in it? If any.
A: I mean it can mean so many different things. You know, like some girls don't shave their pits, some girls man bash. Me, I just believe in equal rights among the sexes. Men should be able to wear what they want, cry when they want, and not be judged...same for women. I grew up in a traditional Hispanic family where my dad taught me a "womans' role": cooking, cleaning, ironing clothes, etc. But he also taught me to be a boss and to not let boys walk all over me. I also aim to make the Gay Community feel safe around here. I'm all for gay advocacy, it somehow ties into feminism to me; they're apart of it and they make up half the community. I have an all female staff to represent women empowerment...the minorities; we're all Latina, or Black. My dad had strippers at some of the establishments he owned; It killed me to see them being degraded. I was pissed! Hustling women inspired me....So I guess that's the role I play, giving back to the hustlers.
At this point my drink is down to the wire. Angies' mom, bless her heart, is the sweetest. Offers me another drink, on the house. I also ordered fries, I didn't mind paying. Mystery Bartender offers several different tasters; I choose Pink Matter, bc, Frank Ocean...obviously.
R: It's Mental Health Awareness Month. As an entrepreneur, I'm positive you're faced with daily challenges. What are some ways you relax to get yourself mentally prepared to face any obstacle?
A: The bar is 1 year old. I haven't been able to unwind and relax. Shit I barely took time off for my birthday. So anytime I get to travel, even if for a day, I'm there. Spending time with bae also helps me. He's a Cancer, he's very sensitive and loving, I need/love that from/about him. The highlight of my "relaxation," is heading home to roll my blunt and watch SVU (Law & Order), I LOVE that show. But no, I really wish I had more time to unwind...you should see my room.
R: What is the initial reaction when patrons find out you're the owner?
A: They always do a double take. "yea I know I look young", I say, "But YES, I AM THE OWNER!" Then they'll ask "How old are you?" Whats crazy is, even after I explain my backstory to them, it is still uneasy for men especially, bc I am a woman, I am young, and I am Latina.
R: Chile, Men are weird..they're always scared or uneasy..pay it.
A: I know right..
R: Who did the Artwork here?
A: James Haunt, I actually met him here at the bar. His girlfriend owns DimePiece, they've become really good friends of mine.
R: What's the best thing on your menu? Most popular?
A: The Buffalo Cauliflower. I'm vegan so I like to focus on vegan food; plus its cool that Novacane is the ONLY bar in the area with a vegan selection! Yolandas' Bomb Ass Beans and the Hot Cheetos & Cheese combo, are the most popular! Oh and the Crazy Fries!!
R: What's in store for you and the future of Novacane Bar?
A: My Ultimate goal is to make Novacane a landmark in Huntington Park that DOESN'T cater to the Paisa crowd. I already have the sign up by the jukebox. It's weird bc people come in here expecting to hear that music once they find out I'm Latina and the owner...but it's like, there are so many bars that play the music...just go there.
R: What's Paisa? Sounds like my name..lol
A: Paisa is a type of Mexican style music. Banda an Corridos.
A: I'd love to expand. I want to open my very own bar, from start to finish without my parents help..and I'm focusing on getting my establishment to a point where I can rest a little. I think those are pretty much my main goals for the next few years.
R: What would you tell your younger self, today?
A: I would tell myself to 'keep going...you don't know what's ahead of you!'
R: Same! Okay, last one.. What advice do you have for young women chasing their dreams?
A: You can never give up. PERIOD. Many of times I wanted to throw in the towel. But hearing the feedback and how people love what I'm doing, makes me feel so empowered and great! Stay true to yourself bc my bar isn't for everyone, and never will be, but it's here, I know what I stand for...so either you like it or you dont..either way, I dont really give a fuck.**
We wrapped up our interview and chatted a little more. I ended up leaving around 10/11ish. I went into the situation not knowing what to expect, I'm sure it was the same for her. We live in LA, It's VERY superficial here, and I for one, can't fake the funk. It was a Joy to find a fellow GirlBoss who is as down to earth as I am! We exchanged #'s and promised to hang out. Not like the fake "oh yea lets hang." This was the real deal. The universe always works in ways that you ask for. Thank you to my new friend, Angie, for being a boss and a light for women of color!
Head to Novacane Bar and tell them I sent ya! Make sure you like + Follow them on IG