Old Hollywood is alive and well among the pretty, young things at the Writer’s Room. Hidden alongside Musso & Frank’s back parking lot, the bar—once owned by Tinseltown’s oldest eatery and frequented by the likes of Rudolph Valentino, Raymond Chandler and Dorothy Parker—is bringing back the Golden Age to the 21st century.
There’s the speakeasy feel of nondescript doors and “the list,” but the old-fashioned typewriter and doorman (albeit, friendly) let you know that you’ve come to the right place. Walk the long length of the outdoor patio to a half spiral staircase that leads down to the dimly lit den of vintage (patinated mirrors, Art Deco fixtures) and modern (David Bowie and graffiti paintings). A live DJ and groups tucked away in high-back booth and mingling in the open space make the space feel like a mini night club where dancing is encouraged.
The moderate-sized bar can get quite crowded with one bartender manning the drinks. Your bartender may look like he stepped out of a porn shoot and not care what you order—perhaps because bar-goers are sipping Champagne and vodka sodas—but drinks are expertly made with top-notch ingredients.
Good for: Groups, girls nights out, weekend pick-up. Come early to stake out a booth (or the day bed tucked away in the corner).
The scene: Those that want to come to Hollywood without the rift raft. Enter through the back parking lot behind Musso & Frank’s between Las Palmas and Cherokee. Get your name on the list—bar operates Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights at 10pm—and come dressed to impress.
The playlist: Expect clubby, dance-version beats of hip-hop and pop from live DJs. Monday nights welcome the Toledo Show, a cabaret act of song and dance that fell onto a film noir set.
What to drink: There’s no cocktail menu, so let skilled barkeep Daniel Nelson fix you up something to your liking. What better drink to channel Fairbanks and Fitzergerald than with the Perfect Manhattan? Try the house’s no-too-sweet version served in a vintage-looking coupe. Or brood over a smokey mescal margarita ($13), a clean, perfectly-balanced mix of Del Maguey Vida mescal, ginger, agave and lemon juice.