You’re walking down a dark street on a hot night see? It’s the part of town that is called the part of town. A car approaches and stops dead at the corner in front of you. Taillights glow as the car door opens and a dame hops out. From her silhouette you can see she’s the kind of broad who knows a good saloon when she sees one. In the loft above, a curtain drops; a fella hides his mug from view. If you didn’t have bigger fish to fry, you’d go up and give him a piece of your mind see? But there’s fish to fry here, really big fish you follow? So you slink around the corner and WHAM! Right there square in front of your eyes is a bar, a glorious bar. And in the twinkling light the dame looks over her shoulder and smiles daring you to follow her into Villains Tavern.
Villains Tavern harks back to drinking establishments from the days of yore. You half expect Bonnie and Clyde to sidle up the bar with a wink throw back a shot and toss you their Tommy. Don’t fret, there’s no danger; because the joint is swank. And the person winking at you is a talented barkeep who’s asking you to pick your poison. And boy oh boy if you’re going to be poisoned the drinks at Villains Tavern are the way to go.
The main bar has a hearty beer list sorted by Blondes and Brunettes. A rare find is a Framboise Lambic on tap. There’s liquor too so if you add a shot you’d be well on your way, if you know what I mean. But the main attractions here are the specialty cocktails. Try the Belladonna. It’s a blend of Maker’s Mark, citrus, mint, and muddled blackberries over ice in a Mason jar, yum. Try the Russian Mule, a kicky blend of Russian Standard, mango, ginger and fresh lime. Try them all.
The crowd’s a dapper bunch, but Villains Tavern ain’t about rubber necking my friend. Villains Tavern is about what’s good in life, right here, right now. The mastermind behind Villains is one Dana Hollister. You may know her as the woman behind other great outfits such as Cliff’s Edge, 4100, Bordello and The Brite Spot. If you need to grab a bite, a breather or your inner voyeur needs to be let loose; hit the seating area above the main bar. When you do, look out over the room below. Notice the beautiful antique dark wood bar and mirror. See that the big glass windows in front are lined with hundreds of brightly colored bottles. It’s a snappy apothecary and obvious a lot of care went into giving you the party-goer a pleasant place to pass the time.
Outside there are two patios. One has a bar with a fine selection of beers, liquor and live music every night on a small stage in the back. The other side has table top shuffle board. The players there are wicked sharp but it’s all in good fun see and if you beat them they might even buy you a drink.
The food’s simple but savory. Burgers, sandwiches and snacks, so bad it’s good kind of eating. Keeps the fuzz at bay you follow? You know what I mean pal? I’m sure you and your empty stomach do, I’m sure you do.
The Sweet Low Down:
What: Villains Tavern, 213-613-0766, http://villainstavern.com/
Who: Dames and Gents
Where: 1356 Palmetto Ave Los Angeles, CA 90013 (Downtown Loft District)
When: Wednesday through Saturday 5:30PM-2:00AM.
Why: Can’t you read?
Beers and Shots – $8 and above
Specialty Cocktails – $13 – 16
Food – $7-22