district lounge

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.

4. Jackalope                                                                      

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.


5. Seventy7 Lounge

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.

6. The Blind Barber

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. 

8. Genesis

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).

9. Good Times at Davey Wayne’s

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 personified. 

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 fairfax432@gmail.com.


Okay, So I had started writing this, but then @halsteadandlindsay backed up my idea. If you listen to Golden then hopefully you’ll end up with the same feels. I really do hope ya’ll enjoy this little drabble!


Cases like this, like the ones they’d faced today, always hit Jay hard. Erin had noticed from the first case involving kids they’d caught after he joined the unit that he always seemed to connect and take them hard. He wasn’t one to show how much they’d affected him, not really, but he’d had subtle tells and Erin had picked up on most – if not all of them. Today had been particularly tough; three tender-age victims, arson and two extremely uncooperative suspects had Voight sending the Unit home in spells for a couple of hours R&R to keep them fresh enough to find something to nail the guys.

Adam and Kevin had headed out first, bringing back pizza and coffee for those staying when they had returned, Erin had been content to let any of the others go before she and Jay, and the fact Jay didn’t move when Voight had said next two only showed that he wanted to keep at it. It was the pointed look from Voight that had Erin all but gathering Jay’s things for him, around him as he continued to sort through paper work. She had stood beside his desk while he actively ignored her as he read and reread the files right until the moment she put her hand on his shoulder and whispered his name before he stopped and begrudgingly got to his feet, sulking down the hallway to the 300. Antonio had sent her a sad smile and she’d nodded, walking quickly to catch up with him.

He’d wordlessly stood beside the car until she got there, climbing in and belting up before she’d even crossed the garage. Erin always enjoyed the silence, especially when she was with Jay – she’d always felt safe with him, if they were speaking or just sitting there in the silence, she knew he had her back just like she knew the colour of her eyes and the fact that it was 42 steps from her front door to her bed if she included her nightly routine.  Tonight, however, the silence was heavy and filled with something and Erin couldn’t really put her finger on what it was.

Keep reading