The term “Goth” became a dirty word about a decade ago (maybe longer), but that hasn’t stopped night-crawlers beguiled by all things gloomy and decadent from searching out macabre environments to haunt. Gothic clubs in L.A. are, in fact, more popular than ever. “Bewitched bashes, fetishy fetes, death-rock dungeons” — call them what you will, when it comes to destinations for black-garbed boys and glamorous ghouls, one of the oldest in Los Angeles still reigns: Bar Sinister. Tricia LaBelle’s 12-year-old bacchanal continues to thrive amidst the often-douchey Hollywood velvet-rope scene for a few reasons: its atmospheric location (the LaBelle-owned landmark Boardner’s, which has an adjacent two-level dance room and the best New Orleans–style outdoor patio anywhere), diverse — but always dark — live band bookings, and patrons who are more interesting (and often more seasoned) than your typical Hot Topic mall tart. Sinister is where L.A.’s OG’s dwell and play: Human Drama, Kommunity FK and 45 Grave have all risen from the dead on its outdoor stage in recent years. DJs spin a bewitching mix of new industrial and old school and upstairs, and there’s also a bondage-play “purgatory” lair. Another thing that keeps the wicked wonderland from ever being watered down: the dress code. Those who enter down its candlelit alley entrance must be dressed appropriately (no jeans or sneakers) or be prepared to pay more. Often, the casual masses don’t get in at all. 1652 N. Cherokee Ave., Hlywd. (323) 462-1934, barsinister.net. —Lina Lecaro
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