"Oh, crap! I don't know whether it's cooler to hate this place or to have fun while making it clear I'm in on the joke." That's the quandary that Stinkers has always presented to the asymmetrical haircut crowd.
Opened in Silver Lake a little over a year ago -- well after trucker caps and handlebar mustaches had peaked -- the truck stop-themed bar was adorned with vintage beer cans, skunk figurines that blew steam out of their hindquarters and more Burt Reynolds memorabilia than Loni Anderson's garbage bin circa 1993. Working-class middle-America as a theme park attraction? The post-post-irony of the Stinkers concept is now ending.
"The whole concept kind of came out of an over-the-top joke, and a lot of people really got it," says Bobby Green, the bar's designer and co-owner. "A lot of people didn't." Either way, after Feb, 15, they won't have Stinkers to kick around. The faux dive bar will shut its doors for two weeks while the 1933 Group (which also owns Bigfoot Lodge, the Little Cave and Saints and Sinners) revamps it into "a place for a more discerning, sophisticated crowd." That's how Green describes the upcoming bar, which he's designing. He's hoping to open it the first week of March. It doesn't yet have a name, or if it does, he's not telling. But the intended vibe will be distinctly different.
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"I think that, unfortunately, the majority of bars in Silver Lake are on the rattier side of the bar spectrum," Green says. "And there's a definitely population in Silver Lake that is craving a more sophisticated environment. A lot of those people are going to downtown or Hollywood, so I'm going to bring it to them."
The bar will still serve beer, wine and liquor but will have more American bourbons and whiskeys and will shift its focus from canned beers to a larger selection of bottled beers. The new concept won't involve food.
Paying homage to Stinkers first and last year, the bar will auction off much of its custom-designed skunk, truck stop and 1970s -themed paraphernalia on Tuesday, Feb. 9 at 9 p.m. (Preview beings at 8 p.m.; part of the proceeds will go to Santé D'Or Foundation, a local animal rescue and adoption organization.) That includes a replica of the hood of the Pontiac Trans Am from "Smokey and the Bandit," loads of Burt Reynolds posters and a life-size cutout of the man, the smoking skunk butts, plenty of 1970s movie posters and the cologne machine from the bathroom.
To officially say "goodbye," Stinkers will host a farewell party on Monday, Feb. 15 featuring DJs Jimmy James and Eden Knievel as well as $2 Colt 45 tall boys. The weekend leading up to the bar's demise, the bar will host giveaways of all remaining souvenirs.