During Prohibition, speakeasy bars sold alcohol even when alcohol was not legal. Getting in was often not all that easy unless you knew the tricks of that particular trade too. Today’s versions are on the side of the law but still hold some secret seductions to be enjoyed with your friends or simply a large crowd. The following are five of the best speakeasy bars thriving in Los Angeles. Want more options? Visit our other list of the Best Speakeasies In Los Angeles.
1519 Wilshire Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90403
New to the speakeasy bar scene, Guest Room in Santa Monica, comes to us by way of mixologist Greg Bryson, who is bringing Angelenos back to the days of bootlegging and the sounds of jazz. Open Thursdays from 7-11:30pm, Friday and Saturday nights from 7pm to 1am, this secretive speakeasy bar mixes it up with cocktail classics, but with new and fun versions of familiar drinks. The team behind Estate Restaurant brings this prohibition style bar with a cocktail menu including drinks like the “Smart Little Feller” with brandy, Demerara sugar, lemon and soda, a “Devil’s Candy’ with rye, sherry and sour cherry bitters, as well as “Ive Still Got 99” with gin, strawberry cordial, lemon and cava and a Tom Collins drink with superfine sugar and soda. Once you’ve gotten past the hidden door, the art deco style speakeasy setting will make you feel as if you’ve time traveled back to the era of prohibition in the 20’s and serve up drinks to you and your friends that you won’t soon forget. Like any good speakeasy though, there is some sort of interesting way of trying to find a way in. In this particular case, simply step into the alleyway next to the Estate restaurant.
Lock & Key
239 S. Vermont Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90004
If you don’t have your coordinates ready via a savvy GPS system, you might drive right by this particular speakeasy in Koreatown. The signage is nearly nonexistent except for a small neon key. Then there’s the secret to getting into Lock & Key. After you pass through the front door you are then faced with a wall holding a number of door knobs covering a compact wall that actually will let you into this joint. It’s your task to find out which one will turn. A signature cocktail menu of craft concoctions dominates the premises, as do memorable decor. This includes ornate mirrors that cover a bigger wall than the one with the door knobs. This place is a gem.
Del Monte Speakeasy
52 Windward Ave.
Venice, CA 90291
Open every night until 2 a.m. this captivating outpost was an authentic speakeasy back in the day. To avoid being raided, a grocery store operated on the ground floor so nobody suspected what was happening below. Today the Del Monte operates in the basement of the Townhouse Bar in Venice. If you get lost while trying to find Del Monte Speakeasy on a Friday, just listen for some jazz and then head downstairs. This bar offers burlesque and comedy shows and some of the best hand crafted cocktails in this part of town.
The Blind Barber
10797 Washington Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90232
You’ll need to walk through a Culver City barber shop to get to the back door and then into your destination which is a surprise even for those who know they will eventually be treated to the bounty made at a cool bar. The drinks are superb like Strawberry Fields based with Russian Standard Vodka and a dash of honey, lemon, and, of course, strawberries. The snacks are inventive like truffle popcorn, sloppy joe sliders, and veggie quesadillas. This is the perfect place to go where you’ll not only be able to receive a suave shave and a seductive haircut but you’ll also be able to conveniently take advantage of the in-house parlor for more feisty traditions with alcohol.
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1727 N Hudson Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90028
The entrance to this enticing and mysterious place, once reportedly owned by Charlie Chaplin and then allegedly turned into a brothel, gives you a dose of a back-to-the-future reality inside. When you get here, a lady meets you to explain what goes on at No Vacancy. At that point her bed splits in half and you’re free to walk down the stairs and into a Victorian fantasy space. There you are privy to a large bar and all kinds of libations while listening to a lively jazz band playing on the porch or by staying inside where a burlesque show is constantly revisited for the each guest. A tight rope walker performs in the yard after the midnight hour. What other bar can you find that sort of treat in the always entertaining City of Angels?
1725 N Hudson Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90028
Next door to No Vacancy, Dirty Laundry operates in its own unique way. This modern day speakeasy rocks a Victorian/Flintstones crossover vibe offering strong drinks and friendly bouncers at the door. Within this establishment, once the place where romeo Rudolph Valentino was said to have ruled, you’ll come across a number of tiny rooms and discreet passageways. The place offers two bars. One of which is operation central for the house DJ. Expect rather gaudy chandeliers and soft sofas that scream comfort before style. You’ll get cozy before you know it at Dirty Laundry.
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