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The team at Five Fingers Pub look forward to serving you. L-R: Karly Peterson, Laurel Ortega, Lena Pokol and Cindi Barnett. / Laura Austin Photo

Five Fingers Pub says, “It’s time to open everything up”

By LAURA QUEZADA News Review Staff Writer–

The sound of rock music will fill the air as it filters out of the back patio at Five Fingers Pub in Inyokern this Saturday night from 8pm until midnight.

“COVID is dead, but we are not,” says Laurel Ortega, co-owner and manager of the pub. “It’s time to open everything up and we are doing the best we can to get it opened up.” She intends to book bands at least monthly for the next several months.  

Starting off the season on Saturday night is Electric Mantra, a band that originates from the Kern River Valley. They have been around for several years with a few different names. Folks may recognize The River Wind Band, The Lost Desperados or Highway Star. They feature Dead Eye Dave Redman, Steve Cress, Tim West,  and Chicken Neck Charlie (Mike Hay).  Longtime Ridgecrest resident and well-known drummer, Danny Reider, recently joined the band and has this to say, “What a blast playing with these guys. They have such a great playlist of classic rock songs. Be prepared to hear Jethro Tull with flute and all, Marshall Tucker (fiddle and all), Lynyrd Skynyrd with piano banging out solos, dual lead guitars whaling, beautiful acoustic ballads to hard rock and even a few country songs.”

The schedule isn’t complete yet,  but this is what we have to look forward to right now: September 4: local Burroughs High teacher/rock star Eric Lawrence will serenade an acoustic set in the afternoon during a BBQ and will add a drummer in the evening for rock music; September 17: Kern River Valley Southern Rock/Country band, Angel’s Roost, will amaze with their strong vocals and lead guitar on dance tunes, radio hits, funk/R&B, and more; November 5: popular Wild Side Band from Acton bring their high energy classic rock band covering hits from the 1950’s through today; and on October 13: former Ridgecrest musician, Johnny Young, will bring his band from Texas to once again entertain locals.

Ortega and Five Fingers Pub survived the pandemic by communicating with the utiltiy companies, putting everything on hold and just rode it out. The property is totally paid for so they didn’t have to worry about major expenses.

Prior to the pandemic there were at least six venues in the Indian Wells Valley who regularly featured live music. Now there is Five Fingers Pub and Moe’s Music. Moe’s also has music on Saturday night starting at 6pm which features punk and alternative rock with Seeing Ravens, Zero Given, and Giddy Haymaker.  There is also Open Mic at the Historic USO Building on non-flex Fridays; however, musicians only play three songs each.

Laurel and her husband, Paul, have owned clubs for about 30 years, starting in Santa Maria, California. They opened Fury’s Sports Bar in 2006 and sold it in 2016.  They purchased Five Fingers Pub in 2014 when it was named The Sierra Club.

 Locals in Inyokern don’t view Five Fingers Pub as a “bar.” “The customers that come in during the day consider this their community center,” says Ortega. “They come and sit, they chat, they eat. They hang around waiting for their buddies to come in.” 

“They’re considered family,” adds Cindi Barnett, Bartender and Marketing Manager. “That’s the feedback we always get. They love coming here because they feel like it’s family. It’s not like an ordinary bar.” 

   The pub serves what they call “Pub Grub,” burgers, fries, onion rings and the like. They offer Taco Tuesdays and Sunday Breakfast. A popular pastime is Fridays when they hold raffles. Raffle tickets are free with every purchase. Folks look forward to the prizes that can be just about anything, as long as it is fun.                   


Hikers make Five Fingers Pub a stop when they trek the Pacific Crest Trail. They stop by on their way to Walmart to stock up on supplies. “We take their picture and post it so people can encourage them to finish their hike,” says Barnett. “They sign a book and every year they come back and say, ‘Oh look. I was here.’ and show their friends. They say that they feel like it’s part of the family and they look forward to coming year after year.”

 Five Fingers Pub at 6537 W. Inyokern Road, is open Monday through Thursday from 2pm until close, Friday and Saturday from noon until close and Sundays they open at 10am to serve breakfast. There is no cover charge for band nights. Since alcohol is served, it is only open to those 21 years old and older.