Not a Pete Wentz fan, let's get that out of the way up front. He may be a nice guy and we've got nothing against guyliner or fellas who know their way around a flat-iron (or even his lip-synching wifey), but having to endure his band Fall Out Boy's pop-"punk" schmaltz once for an assigned live review was so tedious, we ended up writing more about FOB's freaking, shrieking fans than the band itself.
That said, the guy knows a thing or two when it comes to bars. Last night, we checked out Angels & Kings, the sister slosher to Wentz, Jonathan Daniel and Bob McLynn's NYC drinking hole (the later two head Crush band management, but were once in bands called Electric Angels and The Step Kings, hence the bar's name). There are also A&K outlets in Chicago and Barcelona, Spain.
The LA location, which just opened last month, is a joint venture with the Dolce Group (Les Deux, Geisha House) in the space that used to be their Italian hot spot Bella. On Wednesdays at least, they've got two of their best DJs rolling out rock tunes: Rock Mondays at Les Deux's Tuesdae (Huntress, former Chelsea Girls) and DJ Casper (former doorman and DJ at Viper Room, and like a zillion other rockin' haps of yore).
Bar décor is a delicate thing. You've got your dives. You've got your luxe lairs. And you've got your kitschy themed spots. Drinking dens get into trouble when the minds behind them either can't decide what they want to be or go too over the top in pursuing the desired identity (Rokbar and Stinkers, both now defunct, come to mind).
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Angels & Kings somehow pulls off a mix of campy and classy, the theme being a sort of homage to bad behavior. Wentz himself is said to have picked out the artistic focal point, an antelope head with machine gun antlers above the bar shrine. The bathrooms' wall-to-wall chalkboard interiors encourage graffiti and surely make the wait time longer for the loos on crowded nights. Chalk is provided inside a cowbell nailed next to the door, inciting howls of "more cowbell!" all night.
Our favorite piece is the giant mugshot collage featuring busted pics of Sid Vicious, Jimi Hendrix, and Axl Rose to name few (see first photo). There's also a mock line-up room (with obligatory black and white sign) where anyone can channel their inner Lindsay Lohan or god forbid, Nick Nolte. Of course, you kinda forget that you could potentially end up posing for a real mugshot if you partake in too many of the other type of shots. And that might be easy to do here because the drinks are all shockingly cheap for a Dolce spot: $3 draft specials, $4 bottled beer and $5 well drinks. No cover charge, either.