The first rule when going to the Short Stop, the former LAPD watering hole cum hipster hot spot situated in the heart of Echo Park is to get there early. The second rule when going to the Short Stop is to get there early. Absolutely no lollygagging here.

A late night dinner at The Brite Spot a few blocks south might have to be nixed. Grab some pastor at a nearby truck and get in line. If you so happen to just get there during the wee hours hoping to down a few J ä gers before bed forget it, as you'll be line with people that look like you, dress like you and presumably act like you.

But in a world where everyone is afraid to meet new friends online, why not do it at one of the prerequisite places: a bar. Although having a good time outside in line is slightly less entertaining compared to what's inside.

There might be a third rule in the future when going to the Short Stop: Do not talk about Short Stop.

The early birds catch the worm and in this case a few bottles of Bud Light streamed through the system. Crowds from Silver Lake, Eagle Rock and Echo Park descend upon the Short Stop; Saturday nights being the most hectic.

Amass a sea of people hangs Dodgers memorabilia, (the bar is named after a baseball position no less) a photo of the great Dodger pitcher Sandy Koufax hangs proudly. If Koufax rested on a Saturday, the residents of the Short Stop do not: three shots and you're out.

Kudos to the bartenders, it seems as if every drink has an added kick to it. It's compensation for the long wait to get in. At times there can be moments of complete ignorance said bartender will have to your existence as you wait feverishly to cure your work end blues. Dive bar this is not.

The prerequisites are there however: jukebox, dim lighting, arcade machine and cigarette dispenser but a dance hall bumping the beats proclaiming that its OK to bring sexy back, no diggity no doubt, well … absolutely not. Changes are for the better.

Posed with the simple question of either dancing with a LAPD officer off duty or a girl who's had a long day, it is most likely that the latter will be called upon without hesitation. And it won't just be one girl, it'll be many and don't worry ladies, it won't be just one guy, it'll be a bunch. They'll usually be standing around in a group, so its OK to approach them.

It's easy considering the room is packed like sardines, creating the illusion that everyone is dancing with at least someone even though that's not necessarily true. Be mindful of hands, however, as close proximity leads to breeches to unexplained nether regions.

Treasure the memories of your first or 50th trip to the Short Stop at the photo booth in the back, where strangely, there's no line.

For more information, call ( 213) 482-4942 .