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If you've never noticed the Cindy Club before, it might be because it sits behind a couple of bushy trees on a humdrum stretch of Beverly Boulevard that's not quite Koreatown, not quite East Hollywood. Or maybe it's because owner Nongnuch "Candy" Phimmasone wants it that way. Cindy Club is a classic hostess bar, a largely cultural affair that connects lonely businessmen and low-key locals with bubbly, chatty women that certainly seem interested in you, but are likely eyeing your wallet. Not that this is an expensive hostess bar; the $8 beers and sub-$10 sakes (no hard alcohol is served) are a fraction of what patrons pay elsewhere in Koreatown. If anything, the dingy but expansive space is oddly comfortable, with plates of simple Thai food emerging from the kitchen just long enough to keep you in your $25-an-hour booth.
L.A. hostess bars are often wrapped up in unfamiliar rites (sitting uncomfortably in a booth with women who pretend to like you) and unfamiliar languages. What's more, they're expensive: table-service expensive; C-note-tip expensive. What's more, there's little of this exotica to sample between the high-end clubs of Koreatown and Little Tokyo and the gritty, Latino taxi-dancing venues of downtown. One place, however, has opened up this world to the regular folk and made it not so taboo.... More »
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