When it comes to nightlife, all that glitters isn’t gold. There is more to Los Angeles beyond Hollywood and Sunset Boulevard if you know where to look. A plethora of hidden nightlife bounty exists, offering more than just a place to have a drink.
The real treasures create an experience rich environment with the power to transport people to another place. Behind unassuming exteriors and in off-the-beaten-path locations are where the diamonds in the rough lie. If the idea of a night out on the town has lost its sparkle, here are a few places that will help reignite the flame.
1233 N Vine St
Los Angeles, CA 90038
What do you get when you fill a space featuring an unremarkable exterior with a reconstructed Savannah townhouse? A grown up version of Disneyland’s “Haunted Mansion” ride, that’s what. Within multiple rooms, interesting Southern details abound. You can’t miss the dry cleaners rack above the bar, refashioned as a glass bottle holder, and a visit to the lavatory will be greeted by an old-fashioned toilet with a chain pull flush.
Sassafras is bringing back barrel aged cocktails from the 1880’s. It’s said that the aging process mutes harsh tones, allowing faint notes to sing their high notes on the tongue. You’ll be much obliged to sip on other southern roots inspired concoctions on the menu, if you’re looking for something less (or more) potent to sip on as you enjoy live music coming from the terrace. A conversation with one of the resident bartenders, Aaron, reveals that he’s felt the presence of spirits beyond the drinkable kind that call this saloon home. Come experience both for yourself.
7746 Santa Monica Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA 90046
Say hello to the new nightlife kid on the block in West Hollywood. Sixty Six draws inspiration from a nostalgic era that is oft described as a time of irresponsible excess. Gold glowing decorations that resemble jet engine fans line the walls, replacing all traces of its predecessor. As for that circular booth in the middle of the room, it’s perfectly positioned for DJ’s to serve beats to bottle popping clientele.
1601 N. Cahuenga Boulevard
Hollywood, CA. 90028
Through a side building entrance and behind a lion knocker ornamented doorway, partygoers delight in the seductive ballerina filled music box known as AV. The sound system is incredible (As is their resident and guest DJ lineup) with bass so powerful it will make your eyelashes dance. They run a tough door which helps maintain the not too crowded comfort for those already inside.
Expect an elevated experience with a layout designed for bottle service, a striking central chandelier and digital works of interactive art that changes throughout the night. Having a tutu and fishnet stocking clad woman descend from the ceiling from an aerial silk to deliver bottles more than qualifies as a good reason to make a table reservation.
1356 Palmetto St
Los Angeles, CA 90013
With a location amidst industrial warehouses adjacent to the Los Angeles River, finding this place is like a dirty secret waiting to be revealed. If you think you’re going the wrong way, you probably are, until you approach the oasis of sparkly lights that, like a flare in the inky darkness of night, lets you know you’ve arrived.
Villain’s Tavern is an indoor/outdoor venue that features live music to enjoy while imbibing on house libations served in Mason jars. The design elements serve as eye candy to suit a variety of tastes from apothecary to gothic to western outlaw and punk. Inside of this perceived chaos lies a well-orchestrated stroke of genius that makes this bar a true destination worth making the journey for.
1533 N La Brea Ave
Hollywood, CA 90028
If you find yourself in Hollywood with a hankering for the great outdoors, head over to a nondescript strip mall on La Brea where you’ll discover The Woods. By the looks of things, it is by far a contradiction in its classification as a dive bar. The scene? Cabin chic. Cedar planks stacked up like Lincoln Logs from yesteryear, antler chandeliers overhead and tree trunk tables beside rich earth hued banquettes. It’s even got fiber optic “stars” glittering on the ceiling, adding to a setting ripe with conversation sparking ammunition for first date goers.