The Place: Library Bar, 611 W. 6th St. (the entrance is on Hope St.), Los Angeles; 213-614-0053
The Hours: 3 p.m.-2 a.m. Mon.-Fri.; 7 p.m.-2 a.m. Sat.-Sun.
The Digs: Unlike actual libraries, which tend to be silent and often sparsely populated, this one is dark and crowded, presided over by a cigar-chewing bouncer instead of a prim cliche in horn-rimmed glasses. Plush brown leather couches curl around block-like tables in the lounge area. If you're lucky enough to snag a section of one, your evening will improve. Unless you would prefer to push up against the bar and be constantly bumped, ogled, and squished by office dudes toasting the end of their work days.
The Verdict: There are actually books stacked up on the shelves lining the walls at one end, but the theme is thinly wrought, cheesy yet not authoritatively so. You almost expect the books to be fakes, just covers pasted onto flimsy cardboard slabs. A library bar in Tokyo would be an actual library. The books would be thoroughly catalogued and so would the drinks. The bartenders would come hiss at you if you were being too loud. To heighten the atmosphere, employees would “study” at the bar. Maybe you'd even be able to check out a bottle of whiskey for free and return it a couple of weeks later. With its $6 draft beers and $12 cucumber martinis and pear lemondrops, Library Bar is not as cheap as a real library. On the other hand, you can get drunk there, possibly make out with someone, and suck down some roast marrow bones ($9) and pork belly skewers ($7) to boot, all things that only the very brave try at real libraries.
Overall Grade: C+