Discover L.A’s Hardest-To-Find Bars
By Lanee Lee
Speakeasies may not be an illegal thing anymore, but L.A. still has a handful of mysterious watering holes.Next time an adventurous mood strikes, snoop out one of L.A’s secret or hiddenbars.
1. Lock and Key (pictured above)
Channel your locksmith skills to get access to this classy K-town cocktail bar. Look for an unmarked red door on Vermont Avenue, nter to find a black wall with hundreds of doorknobs and locks and the game begins. With a hostess giving clues as to which gives doorknob grants access to the bar, Lock and Key makes you earn that seat at the bar.
2. La Descarga
La Descarga may not be new, but it certainly has the speakeasy, enter-through-a-weird-door phenom. Descarga features an expansive rum repotories, including original and Tiki cocktails by head barman Joe Swifka.
3. The Varnish
Grab a French dip sandwich at Cole’s and then make your way to the door at the back of the restaurant. This tiny, dark bar is L.A.’s shining example of a killer cocktail scene in a speakeasy setting (They’ve been James Beard nominees, including this year, and winners umpteen times for Best Bar Program.) If you want one of the few tables, best to make reservations or come early.
Two whiskey bars in one locale? Sign us up—pronto. Check out Jackalope, the 18-seat Japanese whiskey-themed bar within Seven Grand. Located near the back of the bar, press the light switch button, pick up the phone and listen to instructions in both English and Japanese. Unless you have purchased a whiskey locker in Jackalope with the added perk of making reservations, it’s first come, first serve.
With its back-alley location and only a glowing red “Cocktail” sign as a marker, entering the posh, Parisian-styled lounge is a welcome surprise. A password is required; find it on their Twitter/Facebook page. The drinks, designed by Randy Tarlow, are tasty and the ambience is seductive with live music, DJs or burlesque shows.
Where else can you get a spiffy cut-and-cocktail combo? Head for the utility closet door in the back of the barbershop. Follow the hallway and down a set of stairs. Voila! – a coz bar awaits, featuring roughly ten cocktails: five seasonal and five Blind Barber staples.
7. Golden Box
In the former space of The Writer’s Room, Golden Box, decked out in gold disco balls, is a tiny, ‘80s-themed dance club and bar. Look for an unmarked door behind Musso & Frank Hot tip: make a reservation or you won’t get in.
The pop-up nightclub above Sassafrass bar on Vine will soon put down permanent roots on the second floor of former Cinespace. As always, reservations are necessary for access (RSVP@wtfisgenesis.com).
No, it’s not an eccentric, late-night garage sale. Head through the
garage—decked out in '70s clothing, albums and kitschy knickknacks—until you
reach a fridge. Enter through the refrigerator and it’s time travel to the set
of All in the Family. Add chicks on
rollerblades, boozy Sno-cones and DJs playing '70s tunes and it’s groovy
10. No Name Bar
This no-name, non-descript nightclub is where the cool kids hangout. From the outside, it looks abandoned, except for the rainbow colored garage door; on the inside, it’s a posh wonderland of art installations and funky furniture. Expect celebrity appearances, including big name musical performances. A ‘no photos policy’ is strictly enforced. All we can tell you is the location (432 North Fairfax Avenue) and that you need to score a black business card with a secret phone number to make reservations with to gain access. Rumor has it, you can also make reservations by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.