Tunnel Vision

July 17, 2014 10:00 AM

(credit: Acuna-Hansen)

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Credit: acuna-hansen

Credit: acuna-hansen

Tunnel Bar
14633 Ventura Blvd.
Sherman Oaks, CA 91403
(818) 528-3434

When you’re thirsty in this heat, you’re pretty gosh-darn thirsty. So, let’s make sure you stay properly hydrated by introducing you to Tunnel Bar, a 70s throwback of a cocktail lounge that opened earlier this summer in Downtown Sherman Oaks.

First, you’ll have to find the secret entrance – just forget everything your mother ever taught you and walk down a dark back alley behind Tipple & Brine on Ventura in search of a dim blue light. Once you’re in, take a moment to appreciate the Big Apple ambiance: the arched brick bar replicates the look of the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, there’s a subway service elevator, and walls are covered with framed photos of New York rockers like Iggy Pop, Lou Reed, Johnny Ramon and Patti Smith.

More: Best Rum Cocktails in Los Angeles

Of course, any hidden bar is sure to have a hint of a speakeasy vibe and while there are tons of Edison lightbulbs and vintage decorative accents, the red leather banquettes and leather-covered bar stools create more of a forgotten glam rock hangout vibe, played up by a soundtrack of 70s rock and a slightly raw and gritty attitude. Think of Max’s Kansas City, the legendary rock club your parents told/warned you about.

But you’re thirsty, we get it. We recommend ordering a drink from a cocktail list created by barmen from hotspots like Varnish and Honeycut. Divided into four-parts, you can order reimagined classics, celebratory drinks, originals and punches. There’s the Elder Fashioned, a gin-and-citrus based take on an Old Fashioned that’s topped off with St. Germain or the Pacific Profiteer, a blend of pisco, absinthe and nutmeg.

To truly honor the retro punk vibe, order a drink that some may think has gone out-of-fashion, like a Hurricane jazzed up with passion fruit puree and 3 types of rum, or a two-to-six person bowl of Fish House Punch, a brain-scrambling mix of cognac, rum, crème peche, lemon and seltzer that’s served over a giant block of ice.

More: E.S.P. Eat. See. Play. Los Angeles

It’s the type of drink and the type of place that makes you feel like a legend, with a little help from the legends on the walls.

By Arielle Sachar

Arielle Sachar writes and edits E.S.P. Eat. See. Play. lifestyle content for CBS Los Angeles.

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