With the recent blow-it-outta-the-water opening of Good Times at Davey Wayne's, "secret" and "hidden" bars are about to start coming up in every conversation again. To help ensure you've got your secret bar basics down, here's a beginner's guide to every LA bar that's -- in some way (hidden entrance!) or another (no address!) -- secret. Shhhhhh.
The LA secret bar primer
1. The Blind Barber10797 Washington Blvd, Culver City
2. Lock & Key239 S Vermont Ave, Los Angeles
3. Seventy 7 Lounge3843 Main St; Culver City,
4. The Red Door10057 Riverside Dr, San Francisco
5. Jackalope Bar515 W 7th St, Los Angeles
6. The Writers Room6685 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles
7. La Descarga1159 Western Ave, Los Angeles
8. The Varnish118 E 6th St, Los Angeles
9. R Bar3331 W 8th St, Los Angeles
10. No Vacancy1717 N Hudson Ave, Los Angeles
11. Good Times at Davey Wayne's1611 N El Centro Ave, Hollywood
At the Blind Barber, a barbershop & cocktail bar combo spot, you can chase that refreshing slap of alcohol on your neck after a fresh haircut with actual alcohol once you're out of the chair.
On such a bizarre stretch of Vermont that the only way to describe it is "across from the Vons", Lock & Key is a speakeasy totally hidden behind this unassuming/terrifying unmarked red door. Knock on said door and a dude wearing a bowler and ascot will answer and let you in. PRO TIP: Don't ask him if he's in Mumford & Sons.
Opening tonight, Seventy 7 Lounge's an LA speakeasy in the neo-classic sense: the only marking's a glowing "Cocktails" sign, and the only way in is to tell the doorman the password, accessible every day on their Twitter, which is now finally useful for something other than following @GloriaSteinem.
Look for the red door to get into this hidden speakeasy, where prime cocktails take center stage.
In the back of Seven Grand is the bodacious, lustful Bar Jackalope -- seducing you with delicious whiskey flights, serious ambiance points, and a rowdy crowd.
Though writers' rooms are normally sad holes filled with depleted beanbags and inspirational quotes from Chuck Palahniuk, this one aims to capture the much less depressing vibe of the "back room" of Musso and Frank, where, in the '30s, people like Fitzgerald and Hemingway would sip cocktails and talk ish about Faulkner to his face. The intimate bar (from the dude behind Gramercy Park's Rose Bar in NY, as well as a crew of Hollywood peeps) is in an alleyway off Hollywood Blvd, and features a garden patio and, inside, a Parisian-style elevator cage VIP area & brown leather booths opposite the bar, where the redheaded dude from The Doheny will make you drinks like a Kaffir Rickey w/ lemongrass syrup, carbonated coconut water & gin, and the Cho Sun One with Cork whiskey, Korean pear, perilla leaf, lemon, dates, and sesame.
From a former Doheny barman and the guys behind Piano Bar, La Descarga's a painstakingly-designed, secret-entrance'd, two-story ode to pre-Fidel Havana, complete with a weathered ceiling/walls, a felt-banquetted, dark-lit boudoir, bathrooms festooned with reprints of old, Cuban newspaper articles, and a bar made of white carrera marble, which gets significantly less dirty than Asia Carrera marble.
In the back of Cole's (behind an oak door marked only with a framed drawing of a cocktail), this tiny bar from the vaunted mixologist minds behind Manhattan's Milk & Honey and Little Branch delivers handcrafted cocktails.
This password-protected speakeasy (check their Facebook before you go) is the perfect hipster/dive bar to lose time playing bingo or throwing back a few while listening to a live band rock out.
An old Victorian house belies the next-level cocktail bar inside from the folks behind Pour Vous.
Straight out of The Brady Bunch set, this bar not only has the most epic secret entrance, but it's hooked up with hammocks, outdoor couches, an Airstream Trailer bar, and a DJ spinning beats on top of a retro, '50s TV table. Basically, this is your new home.