Welcome to our guide to the best speakeasy-style bars in Los Angeles, where we unveil the city's hidden treasures and show you how to gain access to these exclusive establishments. While the era of Prohibition may be long gone, the allure and mystery of speakeasies continue to captivate us. In a world where everything is readily available and easily shared on social media, the secrecy and adventure of finding a hidden bar adds a touch of excitement to the nightlife scene. Join us as we take you on a journey through the top speakeasies in L.A., each offering a unique and unforgettable experience.
The Varnish: Where Classic Elegance Meets Crafted Cocktails
Located in the Downtown Historic Core, The Varnish stands as a testament to L.A.'s speakeasy heritage. Tucked away behind the famous Cole's restaurant, this hidden gem was one of the pioneers of the modern speakeasy movement. Step through the unassuming door at the back of the restaurant and enter a world of timeless elegance. The Varnish boasts a rich history, having trained some of the city's finest bartenders and serving as a hub for classic cocktails and live jazz. The bar's intimate ambiance, with its tile flooring and warm wood booths, sets the stage for an unforgettable night. Indulge in a bartender's-choice drink or arrive early to secure a spot as the evening unfolds.
No Vacancy: A Journey into Old Hollywood Glamour
If you're searching for an authentic Old Hollywood experience, look no further than No Vacancy. The brainchild of Mark and Jonnie Houston, the masterminds behind several hidden bars in the city, No Vacancy transports you to a bygone era of elegance and intrigue. Housed in an actual Old Hollywood hotel, this speakeasy beckons you to room 1902. Engage in a conversation with the girl on the bed, and a hidden door will lead you into a refined and charming bar adorned with dark wood and vintage signage. But the true enchantment lies in the back patio, where you'll often find captivating burlesque performances and live music under the soft glow of string lights.
Lilly Rose: Whimsical Decor and Exquisite Libations
Journey to South Park and discover Lilly Rose, a whimsically decorated basement bar nestled beneath The Wayfarer hotel. Immerse yourself in a dimly lit space adorned with vintage art, chandeliers, and plush armchairs. The bar's eclectic mix of furniture, including pig-shaped and sheep-shaped tables, adds a touch of playfulness to the ambiance. At Lilly Rose, the art of mixology takes center stage, with bartenders crafting unique cocktails tailored to your preferences. Whether you're a fan of classic libations or desire something adventurous, the deft bartenders will concoct a drink that surpasses your expectations. Stay updated on the bar's comedy and music nights by following their Instagram page.
Employees Only: New York's Finest Arrives in West Hollywood
Venture to West Hollywood and step into the glamorous world of Employees Only, a contemporary speakeasy that has made its mark in both New York City and L.A. Concealed behind the facade of a psychic's business, this Deco-inspired cocktail den exudes sophistication and charm. Indulge in moody cocktails crafted with house-made syrups, hand-squeezed juices, and a vast selection of unique spirits. The dining room features a gently curving bar and an inspired dinner menu that pays homage to early-20th-century cuisine. For a truly exclusive experience, venture into Henry's Room, a hidden enclave within the speakeasy where you can savor New Orleans-inspired drinks with tableside service. The allure of Employees Only lies not only in its exceptional libations but also in its commitment to creating an immersive experience that transports you to a bygone era of glamour and indulgence.
Death & Co.: Exquisite Cocktails in an Underground Oasis
Located in the vibrant Downtown Arts District, Death & Co. is a mecca for cocktail enthusiasts seeking an extraordinary libation experience. Finding this underground gem might require a keen eye, as it hides behind an unmarked door with a bouncer stationed outside. Once inside, you'll discover an expansive menu boasting an impressive array of meticulously crafted cocktails. From the "light and playful" to the "boozy and honest," each drink is a testament to the bartenders' mastery of their craft. Be prepared for the higher prices that accompany the quality and attention to detail found at Death & Co. This establishment is a haven for those willing to indulge in the finest drinks that L.A. has to offer.
Lost Property: Whiskey and Nostalgia Intertwined
Step into Lost Property and be transported to a captivating whiskey bar where nostalgia takes center stage. Situated in Hollywood, this enchanting establishment is known for its easygoing atmosphere, original drinks, and intriguing decor. As you enter, you'll be enveloped in darkness, creating an intimate setting perfect for a memorable date night. The bar's vintage luggage, crystal decanter light fixtures, and collection of unclaimed thrift store finds add an air of intrigue to the space. Take your time exploring the menu and savoring their unique whiskey-based creations. Amidst the low-lit ambiance and classic tunes, you'll be reminded of the allure and sophistication of the speakeasy era.
Black Rabbit Rose: A Magical Encounter in Hollywood
For a magical experience in the heart of Hollywood, Black Rabbit Rose is a must-visit. Created by the visionary Houston Brothers, this magic-themed bar takes you on a journey filled with illusions, delectable Thai cuisine, and enchanting performances. As you enter, allow yourself to be captivated by the Victorian splendor and Houdini-esque theatrics that permeate the space. Look for the sign of a rabbit at the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Hudson Avenue, and follow it to a world where leather booths, red curtains, and fancy dress transport you to a bygone era. Sip on intricately crafted cocktails as you enjoy tableside sleight of hand and a variety show that promises to leave you spellbound. Black Rabbit Rose is a testament to the power of magic and the artistry of mixology.
Bathtub Gin: A Glimpse into the Roaring 20s
Tucked behind an unmarked door on Melrose Avenue, Bathtub Gin is a hidden speakeasy that pays homage to the glamorous era of the Roaring 20s. The bar's baroque wallpaper, chinoiserie accents, and faux-Victorian furniture create a lavish backdrop for an unforgettable night out. As you explore the space, you'll come across an actual clawfoot bathtub, a charming outdoor patio, and ample seating options for you and your company. Bathtub Gin's cocktail menu boasts a variety of sultry themed concoctions, each meticulously crafted to deliver a unique and enticing experience. While the classics are always a safe bet, don't miss out on their seasonal house cocktails that push the boundaries of mixology. Dress in smart casual attire and prepare to be transported to a time of opulence and sophistication.
Adults Only: Where Seedy Surroundings and Intriguing Libations Collide
As the name suggests, Adults Only is not for the faint of heart or the prudish. This hidden bar, nestled behind the facade of a throwback video store, offers a provocative and adult-oriented experience. Venture through the X-rated section of the store, marked by a neon "ADULTS ONLY" sign, and enter a world of sensual indulgence. Inside, you'll discover a full bar, complete with DJ sets, a pool table, and an atmosphere that exudes both elegance and a touch of the forbidden. The initial impression of the seedy surroundings quickly gives way to an ambiance that is both chilled and sophisticated. Whether you prefer to unwind with a perfectly crafted cocktail or dance the night away, Adults Only offers an experience that is sure to leave a lasting impression.
Alley Lounge: Uncover Hidden Delights in Culver City
Located behind FIN Asian Tapas in Culver City, Alley Lounge is a hidden gem that caters to those in search of a low-key, intimate setting. While not an overtly advertised speakeasy, Alley Lounge has become a favorite spot among locals looking to continue their night after dinner. Walk around the side of the building and discover the Backyard, a charming outdoor space featuring picnic tables, patio heaters, and TVs for game days. Inside, the Alley's modern interiors provide a welcoming atmosphere for couples engaged in intimate conversations or groups of friends enjoying the bar's expertly crafted and creatively named cocktails. The Alley Lounge is where mixology takes center stage, allowing you to savor every sip of their thoughtfully concocted libations. This hidden gem is the perfect place to unwind and enjoy the company of friends.
Blind Barber: Where Style Meets Sophistication
Blind Barber is not just a barbershop; it's also home to two speakeasies in Los Angeles. Founded by Joshua Boyd, Adam Kirsch, and Jeff Laub, Blind Barber brings the Prohibition-era speakeasy concept to life in both Culver City and Highland Park. Behind the functioning barbershop fronts, you'll discover hidden doors that lead you to a sophisticated and stylish cocktail den. The Culver City location closely replicates the New York outpost, offering classic drinks in a classy setting. On the other hand, the Highland Park venue presents a midcentury-inspired space where you can indulge in gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches and handcrafted cocktails until the early hours. With sleek decor and a relaxed atmosphere, Blind Barber combines the art of grooming with the art of mixology to create an unparalleled experience.
The Del Monte: A True Speakeasy with Timeless Charm
Nestled in the basement of Townhouse in Venice, The Del Monte is a true speakeasy that embodies the spirit of the Prohibition era. With a rich history dating back nearly a century, this hidden gem has witnessed the evolution of Los Angeles. Today, it stands as a testament to the city's vibrant past and serves as a haven for those seeking a classic speakeasy experience. Inside The Del Monte, you'll find yourself surrounded by an intimate ambiance reminiscent of the roaring 20s. The bar hosts an array of live entertainment, including burlesque performances and jazz shows, making it a lively destination for those seeking a unique night out. Step through the unassuming entrance, immerse yourself in the energetic atmosphere, and revel in the magic of The Del Monte.
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Embark on a night of sophistication and intrigue as you immerse yourself in the ambiance of these hidden bars. Marvel at the exquisite craftsmanship of mixologists who pour their creativity into each handcrafted cocktail. Savor the flavors and aromas that transport you back to the Prohibition era, all while enjoying the company of fellow adventurers who share your passion for exploration.
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Unlock the Secrets of L.A.'s Speakeasies
Los Angeles is home to a plethora of speakeasy-style bars, each with its own allure and hidden charm. From the timeless elegance of The Varnish to the mystical enchantment of Black Rabbit Rose, these establishments offer an escape from the ordinary and a journey into a world of sophistication and allure. The art of mixology thrives in these hidden gems, with expert bartenders crafting exquisite cocktails that tantalize the senses. Whether you're seeking an intimate evening of conversation or a vibrant night filled with live entertainment, L.A.'s speakeasies have something to offer everyone.
To fully experience these hidden treasures, it's essential to understand their secretive nature. Speakeasies are not always easy to find, often disguised behind unmarked doors or concealed within established businesses. The element of discovery adds to the thrill and exclusivity of visiting these establishments. So, how can you ensure entry into these coveted venues? While some speakeasies still require passwords or reservations, many have relaxed their entry requirements. However, it's important to note that the sense of adventure lies in discovering the entrance yourself.
When visiting these speakeasies, it's crucial to embrace the atmosphere and respect the establishment's guidelines. Most speakeasies have limited seating, creating an intimate setting for their patrons. Consider making a reservation or arriving early to secure a spot, especially during peak hours. Remember to dress appropriately, as many speakeasies adhere to a smart casual or business casual dress code.
Now that you're equipped with the knowledge and understanding of Los Angeles' top speakeasy-style bars, it's time to embark on your own adventure. Explore the city's hidden corners, discover unmarked doors, and immerse yourself in the captivating ambiance of these exclusive establishments. Whether you're a cocktail enthusiast, a fan of live entertainment, or simply seeking an unforgettable night out, L.A.'s speakeasies promise an experience like no other.
Frequently Asked Questions and Answers (FAQs)
1. How do I find the entrance to a speakeasy in Los Angeles? Finding the entrance to a speakeasy in Los Angeles can be part of the adventure. Look for unmarked doors, hidden entrances within established businesses, or follow clues provided on their websites or social media pages.
2. Do I need a reservation to visit a speakeasy in Los Angeles? While some speakeasies may require reservations, others operate on a first-come, first-served basis. It is advisable to check the specific speakeasy's website or contact them directly to inquire about their reservation policy.
3. Is there a dress code for speakeasies in Los Angeles? Many speakeasies in Los Angeles have a smart casual or business casual dress code. It's best to dress up a bit to match the sophisticated ambiance of these establishments.
4. Can I bring a large group of people to a speakeasy? Speakeasies typically have limited seating due to their intimate atmosphere. It's advisable to check with the speakeasy beforehand if you plan to visit with a large group to ensure they can accommodate you.
5. Are speakeasies in Los Angeles expensive? The prices at speakeasies in Los Angeles can vary depending on the establishment and the quality of their craft cocktails. While some drinks may be on the pricier side, the experience and attention to detail are often worth the cost.
6. Are speakeasies in Los Angeles open every night? Most speakeasies in Los Angeles operate on specific days and hours. It's recommended to check their operating hours on their websites or social media pages to plan your visit accordingly.
7. Can I order food at a speakeasy in Los Angeles? While not all speakeasies serve food, some may have a limited food menu available. It's best to check with the specific speakeasy beforehand to see if they offer any dining options.
8. Are there age restrictions for entering a speakeasy in Los Angeles? Most speakeasies in Los Angeles are 21 and over establishments due to the serving of alcoholic beverages. Make sure to bring a valid ID proving your age if you plan to visit a speakeasy.
9. Do speakeasies in Los Angeles have live entertainment? Yes, many speakeasies in Los Angeles feature live entertainment, such as burlesque performances, live bands, or DJ sets. Check the individual speakeasy's schedule or events page to see what they have planned during your visit.
10. Can I take photos inside a speakeasy in Los Angeles? Some speakeasies may have restrictions on photography to maintain the ambiance and protect the privacy of their guests. It's best to inquire with the staff or refer to any posted guidelines regarding photography.
11. Can I bring a friend who doesn't drink alcohol to a speakeasy? Yes, non-alcoholic beverage options are usually available at speakeasies in Los Angeles. So, even if your friend doesn't drink alcohol, they can still enjoy the atmosphere and socialize with you.
12. Are speakeasies in Los Angeles wheelchair accessible? Accessibility may vary from speakeasy to speakeasy. Some may have wheelchair ramps or elevators, while others may have limited accessibility due to their historic or hidden nature. It's advisable to check with the specific speakeasy regarding their accessibility features.