Good Times at Davey Wayne's Is a 1970s House Party and Garage Sale in Hollywood
On a quiet stretch of residential El Centro Ave. in Hollywood last night,
Jimmy Buffett's Rupert Holmes' "If You Like Pina Coladas" could be heard from inside a garage sale as the smell of weed floated in the air outside. It was 6 p.m. and the UHaul truck had just pulled away, leaving several vintage motorcycles unloaded on the sidewalk. The dumpster out front contained the remnants of moving day, which had begun at 1 a.m. that morning and was just beginning to wind down.
"It's like Disneyland, but we waft the smell of marijuana," says the man throwing the garage sale, Christian Marcus, comparing the wayward aromas to the vanilla and peppermint scents that are reportedly pumped into Disney's Main Street.
Marcus' Disneyland metaphor is an apt one, because this garage sale is actually an elaborate and highly-curated facade. Behind it is Jonnie and Mark Houston's new 1970s-themed bar, Good Times at Davey Wayne's. The details are straight out of your parents' house circa 1977; the entrance even requires walking through a refrigerator door.
While the garage sale is a construct meant to evoke 1970s nostalgia, every item, from a pair of roller skates to a pack of smiley face stickers, can actually be purchased and even bartered for.
"I know what I paid for t
hings and how much I can mark them up. It's standard flea market procedure," says Marcus, who resembles Christian Bale's character from American Hustle, right down to his crushed velvet blazer and yellow-tinted glasses.
He's been collecting 1970s-era records, clothing and tchotchkes for this garage sale for four months. But his retail expertise doesn't end there: he also runs the turn-of-the-century gift shop at Jonnie and Mark Houston's pre-Prohibition-themed No Vacancy bar half a mile away.
"I really enjoy having that element of a retail store in our venues," Jonnie Houston tells the Weekly. He and identical twin brother Mark own a string of thematic and increasingly multi-faceted cocktail lounges including No Vacancy, Dirty Laundry and Piano Bar in the heart of Hollywood, Harvard & Stone and La Descarga in East Hollywood and Pour Vous near Larchmont.
Each bar has a secret entrance more sophisticated than the next, a hidden smoking patio and a bathroom whose cheeky wallpaper is in accordance with the bar's intricate theme.
With its Victorian chandeliers, a circa-1902 fireplace and tight rope walkers gracing the the back patio, No Vacancy is the Houston brothers' most sophisticated lounge. Good Times at Davey Wayne's, however, is their most lowbrow concept, with dome-shaped lighting fixtures, white brick faux-fireplace and roller skaters who perform on a glass rooftop.
Photo: J Swann
Good Times is named after Jonnie and Mark's father, the late David Wayne Houston, and mementos of his life are hidden throughout the bar's decor. His favorite albums, from Eric Clapton, Cat Stevens and the Steve Miller Band, are plastered on the walls of the dance floor, which looks more like a Midwestern basement.
Vintage photos of Houston family and friends are hung in mismatched gaudy frames on wood-paneled walls. Even the cocktail menu - a vinyl photo album with plastic sleeves - contains 1970s-era Houston family photos in between descriptions of rum drinks like Mai Tai's, Painkillers and Hurricanes.
What would David Wayne have ordered? Probably a traditional Old Fashioned, says Mark Houston, who himself sipped an Old Fashioned at the bar on opening night.
But aside from the sweet, stiff cocktails and the eight beer taps installed in what looks like a refrigerator door, the best part about Good Times at Davey Wayne's is its house party feel, even if it's a completely fabricated one. From the striped couches and shag rugs to the Monte Carlo pinball machine and the trailer-shaped pop-up bar and barbecue in the light-strewn back patio, Good Times contains all the best elements of a tremendous rager in a good friend's home.
In true house party form, the dance party really picked up around midnight. Twenty-somethings in shiny high-waisted disco pants grooved to a playlist their parents would've boogied to back in the day: classics from Fleetwood Mac, Kiss, Marvin Gaye and T-Rex as well as sitcom theme songs from Laverne and Shirley and The Jeffersons. Only the DJ's Macbook shattered the illusion that we were all doing the hustle in a much simpler time, but nobody seemed to mind.
Editor's note: As many people wrote in to tell us, a previous version of this story wrongly IDed Jimmy Buffett as the artist who recorded "If You Like Pina Coladas." D'oh! It's actually Rupert Holmes. We regret the error about as deeply as the song's would-be adulterous lovers regret their attempt to cheat on each other.
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