The Prince is one of the most special restaurants in L.A. The magical mix of midcentury Americana and Korean-inspired bar food works seamlessly, the staff is quirky and delightful, and the drink menu is so odd it could be performance art — but it's not, because the place has no self-consciousness.
The restaurant first opened in the 1920s, when it was called the Windsor. It became the Prince in the 1960s, and there's a good chance the decor hasn't changed much since then. And if you've never been but think you recognize the space, that's because it's been in a number of movies, as well as serving as a stand-in for a number of restaurants and bars on Mad Men. And it's in almost every episode of New Girl. The circular bar and semicircular booths are great for blocking.
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The menu is a hedonist's delight, organized by categories including "small but not so small," "fried cocktail" and "dry cocktail" — the better to pair with your liquid calories, which can be purchased by the bottle, at prices from $30 to $500. They also have a mid-'80s drink menu of improperly made Long Island iced teas, mai tais, Blue Hawaiians and the like. If you're looking for a bit of whimsy with your buzz, this is the place for it.
The staff is very kind to first-timers, explaining what the buzzers at every table are for. Though it's not gourmet, the food is good enough (and your inhibitions will soon be low enough) that you'll probably make good use of that buzzer. You might even order two whole fried chickens by the end of the night. They really are that good.
3198½ W. Seventh St., Koreatown. (213) 389-1586, theprincela.com.