Hollywood bars. Just the mere mention of them makes everyone in this town cringe. Despite all of us at some point or other having a great time at one in this great city, the mention of “Hollywood bars” in general brings up immediate negative emotions… Being on “the list” to get into the place. $15 drinks. Cheesy people. $700 bottle service. Unfriendly people trying their hardest to look bored. The list goes on and on.
I had lost hope. Sure, that didn’t mean that I was going to become a shut-in hermit. But in a town where it is so easy and justifiable to be jaded (about everything), I and many of my friends had become jaded to the bar scene. Hollywood bars had become a necessary evil to go out and unwind at night, but not something you praise.
And then along came the Houston Hospitality Group. The guys behind No Vacancy, Dirty Laundry, and the subject of this article, the greatest gem of all, Good Times at Davey Wayne’s, have changed the landscape. They are the first people in a long time to do what had long been forgotten in a lot of ways. They make bars (gasp!) fun again.
As you’ve may or may not have heard, Good Times At Davey Wayne’s is a bar modeled after a really cool party house from the 70s. The crowd is super casual and comfortably dressed. You enter through a refrigerator door.
Once you get in, it is like a giant living room. The only thing that tells you you’re not in a living room from the 70s is the DJ and the MacBook spinning the most fun 70s party music (think Cheap Trick, REO Speedwagon). And guess what? People are actually dancing (double gasp!). And not the “check out how good looking I am while I try to look bored” dancing that you see in other bars/clubs. It’s more of a “I have to get out of my seat because the music and vibe is so fun in here” variety of dancing… you know, like at a good house party.
And to make things even better, there is a large soundstage at the back of this “living room” where live local acts play throughout the night. What’s better than live music?
The back patio is my favorite area. You order drinks (mind-erasing, life-altering drinks) from a trailer hitch bar. We had vodka snow cones and craft cocktails with Mezcal. Many of them. Just you, your friends, a crowd of scruffy locals (Hollywood scruffy), a magic cocktail making trailer, and the great outdoors. Sometimes there are even surprise performances on the rooftop above the trailer, like wild roller skate performers.It is the perfect recipe for a fun and unpretentious night under the smog and stars of this city.
Finally there is a back bar with some of the coolest items from the 70-80s. Soda can displays (think Tab and Fresca), soda machine, cigarette machine, foos ball, and the main bar area where you can get the full menu of available drinks. Be careful with these drinks – powerful stuff.
The game is changing in LA because of these Houston brothers and the bars that they are opening. The old formula of bottle service + old rich dudes + the young over-yet-underdressed Hollywood girls is being challenged and defeated. GTADW’s is just a place for fun, happy people to go and make a night of it with their friends and really, that’s what everyone wants when they go out.
So kudos to Houston Hospitality. Good Times At Davey Wayne’s is a must see this summer and hopefully beyond. Most importantly, the Houston brothers have made Hollywood bars fun again. See you at Davey’s!
1611 N El Centro Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90028
Brian Lee is a transplant from Canada who has been out here since 2000 to attend grad school. After all of these years, there is no Canadian left. Only Los Angelino remains and he couldn’t be happier.