Cities / Los Angeles / LA's Hidden Speakeasies

LA's Hidden Speakeasies

By Los Angeles Bucket List

Secrets spread fast in LA. Exception: These 10 hidden bars 🤫

Published January 30, 2020

In a city where new bars and restaurants transform into hot spots overnight – often through nothing more than the tepid tap of a social media geo-tag – there’s a silent satisfaction that comes from knowing a hidden gem that isn’t talked about, or rather shouldn’t be talked about. Between hidden walls, under obscure neon signs and beyond timeworn household appliances (just stick with us here), you’ll discover some of Los Angeles’s best kept secrets – ones TMZ hasn't even broken yet.  

Adults Only

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Long are the days of strolling through your neighborhood Blockbuster, searching for the perfect Orlando Bloom sleepover flick. Though picking out a rom-com or period piece on VHS may be a thing of the past, you can still enter the ‘Adults Only’ section of this Hollywood speakeasy. Disregard the NSFW archives and you’ll find yourself stepping into an upscale dive bar. Sink into one of their plush couches (craft cocktail in hand, obviously) or challenge a friend to pool while cult-classics play on the big screen.  

How to get in: Look for a fake video store in this Hollywood strip mall and follow the glow from the pink neon sign reading ‘Adults Only’ – scandalous.
Where: Adults Only at 7065 1/2 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028

For more information.

Blind Barber

(Photo Courtesy of Blind Barber)

A buzzcut and a buzz. This barbershop kills two birds with one stone, offering shaves and trims in addition to a backdoor bar with craft cocktails and 15 unbrielievable grilled cheeses. Though the Culver City shop has been open for business since 2012, try out Highland Park’s new mid-century den locale, fit with cozy booths and a retro ambiance. We’re talking palm-printed wallpaper and a warm-toned light up bar perfect for your next Instagram post, Jessica.

How to get in: Enter through the door at the back of the barbershop.
Where: Blind Barber at 5715 North Figueroa, Los Angeles CA 90042 (Highland Park)

For more information.

The Varnish 

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Though LA seems to be booming with contemporary speakeasies these days, The Varnish is a tried and true hidden classic. Tucked behind the iconic Cole’s French Dip, you’ll discover this cozy joint that has stood the test of time – all the way back to the Prohibition. With intimate wooden booths, demasque-detailed walls and live jazz after 9PM (Sunday through Tuesday), pop in for one of their top-shelf cocktails or tell the bartender your libation inclination for an off-menu surprise.
Pro Tip: Seating is limited so it’s best to arrive early.

How to get in: Head to the back of Cole’s French Dip, where you’ll find an oak door marked with a framed picture of a cocktail.
Where: 118 E 6th St, Los Angeles, CA 90014

For more information.

Good Times at Davey Wayne’s




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We’ve yet to encounter a hot tub time machine, but Davey Wayne’s refrigerator is undoubtedly the next best thing – teleporting patrons to a 70’s-themed speakeasy. Shrouded by groovy decor and a back patio with live music, GTADW (unofficial acronym created for the purposes of this article) is totally bitch’n

How to get in: Find the alleyway garage sale and inspect that refrigerator a little closer.
Where: Eric Foreman’s Basement (mostly kidding) at 1611 N El Centro Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90028

For more information.  

Break Room 86

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Take a blast to the past inside the ‘80s-themed bar tucked within The Line Hotel. Complete with ‘80s memorabilia, private karaoke booths, DJs, nightly performances and enough disco balls to make ABBA proud.

How to get in: Look for the line near the loading dock on the side of The Line Hotel.
Where: The Line Hotel at 630 S Ardmore Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90010

For more information.  

Lock and Key

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Don’t let the nondescript exterior fool you. Wait out the oft lengthy line and you’ll be rewarded with a swanky, upscale cocktail bar – that is, if you’re able to detect which doorknob will let you in. With an outdoor patio blanketed in green vines, blanket yourself with a nice buzz and show ‘em the ol’ razzle dazzle (or rather, order  their ‘Razzle Dazzle’ craft cocktail).

How to get in: Step inside the front room and find the door knob that will grant you access.
Where: Lock and Key at 239 S Vermont Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90004

For more information.  

Seventy7 Lounge

(Photo Courtesy of Seventy7 Lounge)

We’ll always have Paris Seventy7 Lounge. Exploring back alleys aren’t always recommended…unless they lead to this Parisian-themed speakeasy, completed avec velvet wallpaper, antique chandeliers, an absinthe fountain (plus delicious bar bites to offset said absinthe), and live jazz and burlesque performances. 
Pro Tip: Absinthe. Fountain. That’s all.

How to get in: Follow the neon cocktails signs down the alley to a wooden door. C’est si bon!
Where: Seventy7 Lounge at 3843 Main St, Culver City, CA 90232

For more information. 

No Vacancy

(Photo Courtesy of No Vacancy)

Contrary to what the name suggests, this popular speakeasy – once the historic Janes House, where Charlie Chaplin and other entertainment greats sent their kids to school – welcomes guests in for an evening on Prohibition-inspired indulgence. Saunter through the Golden Age of Hollywood, grab a cocktail from their rotating 12-item menu and sink into a red leather couch under some string lights on their baroque fireplace-adorned garden patio. 

How to get in: The doorman in the back of the building will guide you toward a bed...We’ll just leave you with that. 
Where: Hotel Juniper at 1727 N Hudson Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90028

For more information. 

Old Lightning 

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Walking into Old Lightning can only accurately be compared to the scene in The Wizard of Oz, when suddenly we (quite alarmingly) shift from black-and-white to technicolor. What on the outside appears to be a nondescript black wall, is simply just a barrier to an eclectically colorful world within. You surely won’t be in Kansas the 21st century anymore, but rather a 1960s-esque mid-century living room, enriched with liquor ads lining the walls and subtle tiki accents.
Pro Tip: Prepare to go off the grid – quite literally. You’ll have to hand over your phone at the door.
Pro Pro Tip: That means you won’t be able to send any risky drunk texts. Petition for more bars to do this please.

How to get in: Make a reservation for Old Lightning and head to the hostess stand at Scopa Italian Roots. The host will lead you back outside to the entrance, an unassuming black wall in the parking lot you just came from.
Where: Scopa Italian Roots at 2905 Washington Blvd, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292

For more information.

In Sheep’s Clothing

(Photo Courtesy of In Sheep's Clothing)

Everything about In Sheep’s Clothing is music to our ears. Mainly because a heightened listening sesh is this speakeasy’s M.O. With a focus on music – an expansive vinyl collection replaces alcohol bottles behind the bar – their motto is “To Hear More Say Less.” So although your cocktails will undoubtedly be strong, keep your conversations light and to a soft whisper. 
Pro Tip: Phone junkies beware, you’ll have to leave your beloved electronic at this entrance as well.

How to get in: Inside Pizza Lupetti, you’ll find an unmarked wooden door. If you see a small white sign reading “Please keep your conversations below the music,” you’ve come to the right place.
Where: Pizza Lupetti at 710 E 4th Pl, Los Angeles, CA 90013

For more information.

(Cover Image Courtesy of Adults Only)

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