The Varnish

118 E. 6th St.
Los Angeles, CA 90013


  • Mon-Sat 6pm-2am
  • Private Party
Even on a block crowded with bars, there is a sense of adventure every time you stumble into this downtown cocktail bar -- a tiny, dimly lit room, which lies behind an unmarked door at the back of Cole's. The wooden booths here are styled after the seats on the old Red Cars, whose tracks still lie directly underneath the building. And the drinks are pretty close to perfect, both the classic Prohibition-era cocktails and the cocktails that could pass for vintage if they didn't include things like chile or mezcal. There is no better place for an Aviation at the end of the night. And if you ask nicely, somebody may show you to the peephole outside in the hallway, looking down onto a cracked-open suitcase, frilly contents spilling down the stairs toward the abandoned subway below.

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