Loading...

Nightlife 

Wednesday, Sep 23 1998
Comments
WHERE EVERYBODY KNOWS YOUR BAND’S NAME

Akbar. Open only since New Year’s Eve 1996, this friendly enclave with Moorish décor and a jukebox full of local faves (Extra Fancy, Kristian Hoffman, Glue — plus cool "oldies" like Bowie, Siouxsie, Blondie, etc.) has fast become a Silver Lake institution. The bartenders are friendly and pour mean libations — check out their blue margaritas. The place is always packed with cute young folks — from club trash to Eurotrash, alternative rockers, drag queens, entertainment-industry types, babeliscious boys and girls with shaved heads and tattoos. Happy hour is from 6 to 8 p.m. every night, with dollar-off drinks, but every hour in here seems to be happy. Akbar has a "drink of the month" and also sponsors events, such as its Day at the Races (a bus to Santa Anita). Although it seems to be the hot bar of the moment in the Silver Lake scene (on one night, we spotted El Vez, Canadian singer Rufus Wainwright, Hole’s Melissa Auf Der Mauer, Jay Johnston, David Cross and members of the cast of Heliotrope Lane 90026), this place is cool enough to weather any trendiness, because there’s no "hipper-than-thou" attitude or bogus door policy. You probably really could spend 1,001 nights here — there’s never a dull moment! 4356 Sunset Blvd.; (213) 665-6810. (Pleasant Gehman)

THE VELVETEEN TOUCH OF A DANDY GOTHIC TONE

Opium Den. Nothing like a good ol’ gritty, dingy Hollywood club, a place you can wander into, order yourself a bottle of American swill and check out a little-known band playing its collective heart out. Like the Opium Den. Now there’s a place to hang your skull cap. In the space once filled by Hollywood’s late, great Gaslight, the 2-year-old Opium Den doesn’t just retain its predecessor’s muy casual, cavelike vibe — it builds on it. There’s now velvety color and gothic tones spread warmly throughout; plus someone got smart and did a bit of demo work on a wall and expanded the stage — finally, you can see the band! But the highlight, for me, is the Far Eastern–statue thingy on the back counter of the bar. You know the kind — busty, shiny and curvaceous, with enough arms to handle a 12-pack? (Hindu? Buddhist? Moonie?) The totem watches over the room, looking out for folks who have come in from the mean streets in search of the next saving grace of rock & roll. 1605½ N. Ivar Ave., Hollywood; (213) 466-7800. (Neal Weiss)

BEST ORGAN BAR ON A PAR-3 GOLF COURSE

Billingsley’s. Owner Drew Billingsley’s mother, Barbara, may have played June Cleaver on television, but there are better reasons than a brush with "The Beav" to visit Billingsley’s restaurant and lounge. Reminiscent of a ’60s-era ski chalet with its wood paneling and cathedral ceiling, Billingsley’s also sports glass walls overlooking the Van Nuys golf course. It doesn’t get much better than feasting on meat and martinis while watching some poor duffer fight his way out of a sand trap. But the crowning jewel of the place is organist Graydon Wayne, who actually did some time with the legendary music group Three Suns before becoming the house lounge act some 17 years ago. 6550 Odessa Ave., Van Nuys; (818) 785-7457. (Joe Sehee)

Related Stories

  • Best L.A. Tacos 18

    We’re blessed, living in L.A., at least as far as tacos go. You can be struck by a hankering at most anywhere in the city at most anytime of the day or night, and be able to find more than one supremely satisfying taco truck or joint within a mile...
  • Mayoral F-Bomb 11

    Mayor Eric Garcetti is a fairly mild-mannered mayor. Despite his hipster tendencies (he's a fan of superstar DJ Steve Aoki), the guy certainly has a more conservative personal reputation than, say, former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who was caught on-camera partying in Baja with Charlie Sheen. See also: Here's the 411 on...
  • L.A. Kings Hilarity 2

    Game four of the 2014 Stanley Cup finals is tonight, and the L.A. Kings could complete a sweep of the New York Rangers. Though Kings players like goalie Jonathan Quick and defenseman Drew Doughty receive a lot of attention, one of the biggest stars of the team, Pat Donahue Jr., is...
  • El Condor Review: An Old Silver Lake Mexican Joint Gets Tarted Up — But at What Cost? 4

    My oxtail taco has alfalfa sprouts on it. In many ways, this is just about everything you need to know about El Condor, the new Mexican spot in the old El Conquistador space, from the folks behind L&E Oyster Bar and Covell Wine Bar. How you feel about El Condor...
  • Sunny Sushi Becomes WTF Sushi in Silver Lake

    Sunny Sushi on Hyperion Ave. in Silver Lake was a little bit sad. Tiny, rather dingy and usually empty, the restaurant was a place to go when you wanted easy affordable sushi and didn't care too much about ambiance. And then it went away.  Last week, a new sushi spot...

BEST LATE-NIGHT CHESS

Chess at 5th Street Dick’s. It isn’t easy being a chess junkie, especially when you’re suddenly smitten with insomnia and need a late-night fix. Of course, there’s always that well-known doughnut shop in the Silver Lake area, but for variety and atmosphere, you can’t beat this jazz club that’s right in the heart of Leimert Park. Tables and chairs are set up outside, and there are always players hanging around ready to match wits over the board. Java and pastries are available at the counter, and there’s music to soothe the pain of that humiliating defeat. 3347½ W. 43rd Place, Leimert Park; (213) 296-3970. (Lovell Estell III)

BEST STRIP BAR

Argyle Patio Bar. I don’t know about you, but standing ass-to-ass with a bunch of self-involved beautiful people at an overglorified, guest-list-only-policy Sunset Strip bar (see "The Big White Ride") is not my idea of cool. I mean, with your designer martinis and bootlegged Cuban cigars, thinking that because you’re in the same room as some pretty-boy actors you’re somehow more important — get over yourself. Walk away from the Sky Bar (I know, it takes some free thinking and a little self-esteem — maybe your therapist can help) and head on down the street to the Argyle. Have a seat on the back patio, overlooking the pool and the twinkling lights of the L.A. basin. You’ll be surrounded by the hotel’s Deco beauty, illuminated by the most happening metal-palm-tree lamps around. You’ll have room to stretch out, feel cosmopolitan, drink Cosmopolitans, and actually be in a position to have meaningful conversations with your friends — maybe your therapist can help. 8358 Sunset Blvd., W. Hollywood; (213) 654-7100. (Neal Weiss)

Related Content

Now Trending

Los Angeles Concert Tickets