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Sandwiched in between a Mobil gas station and a small hotel on the corner of Bronson and Sunset, the Bar rises like a neon-lit beacon in the East Hollywood drinking landscape. The location, once a notorious dive known as the Ski Room, was renovated in 2004 by the design team behind Hollywood's Avalon nightclub, and the result is a cozy drinking room whose downtrodden exterior belies a well-appointed interior, regularly packed with a good-looking crowd of club kids and party people. The Bar hosts regular DJ nights, where you can rock out to a well-curated selection of sounds, from Joy Division to hair metal. Drinks are stiffer than a board, and prices tend more toward "Hollywood" than "dive." Be warned: It can get crowded on popular nights, so if things get a little too snug for your liking, take a breather outside on the smoking patio or make like the party girls and climb up on a table.
I can't do most Hollywood bars anymore - I'm over "the scene" and I can't handle worrying about being on the list or hassling with a doorman. However, sometimes I want to listen to some good tunes and get my groove on - and when I do, I head to The Bar. Yes, it's just called "The Bar" and it's a blink-and-you-miss-it little place next to a gas station (and a parking lot - just in case you drive there). There's a doorman to check ID but it's not a velvet rope thing, and they always have a fun DJ spinning. I'll admit, there isn't some huge dance floor, but there's just enough space to work it out like you're at a great house party. The crowd is usually hip enough for good people watching and mingling, there's booths to set up base camp with your crew, and a smoking patio out back for those who still do that. Like I said, I've never struggled to get in here, but if you want to celebrate your birthday on the weekend, the owner Lauri (who also runs Magnolia Restaurant down the block) is really accommodating about letting people have guest lists to ensure admission.
A great place to go when you are sick of the guest list heavy bars in L.A. The Bar has the best jukebox in town and they pour strong drinks. The crowd constantly varies and you never know who you are going to meet there. I suggest taking a cab though because it can be hard to find a parking space.
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