Yes, Koreatown’s R Bar is essentially unmarked, and yes, you’ll have to give the bouncer the password through a window in the thick wooden door if you want to enter (call ahead or check their Twitter feed before you go to find out the open-sesame phrase of the day), but once inside, the vibe is pretty much the exact opposite of the chichi, retro–cocktail speakeasy scene. (Disgruntled former patrons on Yelp insist R Bar is trying to keep out non-white, decidedly non-hipster locals; a female bartender once told me they ask for a password at the door to protect gals like her, who often man the place solo.) With decor a cross between a rec room and an abandoned pirate ship, raucous karaoke and sweaty dance nights, drink specials with names like the “Sweaty Mexican Lumberjack” and a Saturday night crowd that looks barely old enough to have taken their SATs, it’s the ideal place to party like you’re still 19, without being seen by anyone you actually know. And yes, last call is early (they’ll kick you out at midnight during the week, 1 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays), but you’ve been there since happy hour started at 7, so unless you’re actually 19, it’s probably time for you to go home. 3331 W. 8th St., Koreatown. (213) 387-7227, —Karina Longworth

LA Weekly