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Food & Drink Secret Guides

8 Clandestine Bars That Will Transport You To A Bygone Era

By Ashlyn Davis

8 Clandestine Bars That Will Transport You To A Bygone Era

These atmospheric speakeasies are some of the city’s best-kept secrets.

For all the larger-than-life spectacles L.A. is responsible for, sometimes we just long for the simpler times when all we needed was a swig of a bootlegger’s finest moonshine, moody lighting and intoxicating jazz filling the air. Thankfully, the spirit of the 1920s lives on through these alluring, contemporary speakeasies housed in unassuming locations across the city.

Here are our favorite hidden Prohibition-Inspired bars hidden around L.A.:

1. Sunset & Vinyl 

Tucked away behind 800 Degrees Pizza, this speakeasy is a throwback to the 70s. Its retro interiors and disco anthems spinning from the eclectic vinyl library offers the psychedelic refuge we need right now. When times allow, you can also sink into a plush sofa and soak up the surroundings with a live performance.

Location: 1521 Vine St, Los Angeles, CA 90028

2. The Varnish Bar

Wander through the iconic Cole’s French Dip and step through an obscure oak door with a picture to find L.A.’s oldest public house. You’ll find yourself in this refurbished storage room, clad with wooden panels, intricate tiling, cozy leather-seated booths and dimly-lit lanterns, with the most acclaimed cocktail craftsmen in the brewing up potent libations.

Location: 118 E 6th St, Los Angeles, CA 90014

3. The Blind Barber

This trendy barbershop secretly houses elegant speakeasies with locations in NYC and Chicago and two outposts in L.A. — one in Culver City and another in Highland Park. Here, you can have your grooming done day and sip on cocktails in a swanky setting by night. The concept is centered around creating a community where ideas can flow freely in a relaxed and inspiring environment.

Locations: 5715 N Figueroa St, Highland Park, CA 90042 / 10797 Washington Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232

4. Good Times at Davey Wayne’s

At this unique spot, an old refrigerator door acts as a portal to a 70s-themed spot that’s like stepping into the Foreman’s living room. Every available surface is filled with vintage trinkets and collectible paraphernalia, including old soda cans. In the backyard decked out with garage sale items you’ll find an old trailer that serves great drinks. It has all the retro nostalgia you could ask for to make you feel at home in the heart of Hollywood. Plus, it’s also lightly perfumed with cannabis thanks to the dispensary next door.

Location: 1611 N El Centro Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90028

5. Old Lightning 

Behind classic industrial walls in Venice, you’ll find this incredibly intimate space with chic Mid-Century furniture and tiki accents. Old Lightning can host just 25 people and to be one of them, you’ll need to enquire with staff at Scopa Italian Roots (where this cocktail den is hidden) or make a reservation via email. Note, that when you enter you will have to fully submit to a bygone era—which means giving up your phone.

Location: 2905 Washington Blvd, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292

6. Death & Co. LA

The famed NYC-based hotspot brings its lauded world-class cocktails to L.A.’s Arts District. Head down a staircase into a sleek subterranean den where the bustling 3rd Street above can hardly be heard. You’ll have two indoor rooms to enjoy, the Standing Room with just 8 cocktails or the main glowing main room with elegant brass accents illuminated, romantic amber lighting, a full menu and 25 seasonal cocktails centered around local agricultural bounty.

Location: 818 E. 3rd St., Los Angeles 90013

7. In Sheep’s Clothing

This Arts District pizza parlor is a gateway to Japan. Taking inspiration from the sleek kissatens, this hi-fi bar is a haven for audiophiles. It serves up incredible cocktails and coffees with jazz records spinning on the decks. It’s a bit like having ultra an hipster friend that has curated every detail of the place for a flawless experience. While it’s currently closed, it’s scheduled to reopen in July 2021.

Location: 710 E 4th Pl, Los Angeles, CA 90013, United States

8. Adults Only

Often described as a Boogie Night’s-style bar, Adults Only is an elevated dive bar scene where guests walk into a fake video store on the Hollywood Strip, through a gallery lined with old-school VHS tapes and movie posters illuminating with a red glow. The rest of the space is an ostentatious mashup of decor, consisting of boudoir accents, decorative sofas, stained glass, and billiards rooms. You can sip on delicious cocktails with classic films playing in the background while you contemplate how pop culture has shaped the world we live in today.

Location: 7065 1/2 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028

Featured Image: Blind Barber via Facebook