You can thank — or blame — Swingers for putting the Los Angeles bar scene back on the map. Now the town known for power lunches, not cocktail hours, is swizzling into the millennium. Here are some current City of Angels hot spots.
8440 SUNSET BLVD.
LOCALE: In the haute hotel Mondrian
CLAIM TO FAME: It’s an A-lister: George Clooney, Ellen DeGeneres, and Sandra Bullock have all taken in Skybar’s poolside vista grande.
WHAT THEY’RE DRINKING: Wine, red, red wine
ATMOSPHERE: Velvet ropes swag the entrance, reservations are required, and pretense is thick. A gigantic community bed gives this outdoor deluxe lounge a Less Than Zero aura of excess. Careful not to spill your drink on the pillow shams, or you’ll be banished to Bar Marmont.
PARTING SHOT: Hate the bartenders because they’re beautiful, though remember it takes a strong sense of self to serve the most self-serving crowd in Hollywood.
2 J. SLOAN’S
8623 MELROSE AVE.
Locale: A sleepy West Hollywood section of Melrose Amanda Woodward wouldn’t be caught dead in
CLAIM TO FAME: Sloan’s bartender Troy Duffy, 25, recently sold a script he’d written, The Boondock Saints, to Miramax for six figures. But here’s the chaser: Duffy was so attached to the bar that he persuaded Harvey and Bob Weinstein to buy it. Soon to be a part owner, he’ll likely hold the wrap party here.
WHAT THEY’RE DRINKING: $4.25 pitchers during happy hour — this is an indie bar, after all!
ATMOSPHERE: Jack Rabbit Slim’s it’s not. More like your fave rathskeller, with deep-fried food, sticky floors, and videogames.
PARTING SHOT: The new place to hear ”Should I start a tab or show you my script?”
945 N. FAIRFAX AVE.
LOCALE: A slicked-back spot in the primarily blue-haired Fairfax district
CLAIM TO FAME: Drew Barrymore threw her 22nd birthday party here in February.
WHAT THEY’RE DRINKING: Nothin’ like a Cosmopolitan (known here as the Flaming Colossus Martini) to wash down the bar/eatery’s down-home recipes.
ATMOSPHERE: Shabby chic. Next to the crowd of would-be starlets, the leopard-skin chairs are Lola’s best accessory.
PARTING SHOT: ”There are no real rules here, per se,” says bartender Eric Burke. ”There’s lots of interaction among the boys and girls.” (In other words, you might get lucky.)
7205 SANTA MONICA BLVD.
LOCALE: The hopelessly hetero section of West Hollywood
CLAIM TO FAME: Owned by Sean MacPherson, who has a star-friendly rep from running Bar Marmont. Celeb sightings include potential brawler Shannen Doherty and party boy Leonardo DiCaprio.
WHAT THEY’RE DRINKING: Lemon Drops (vodka, lemon, and a sugared rim)
ATMOSPHERE: Way more chichi than the so five-minutes-ago Formosa Cafe across the street.
PARTING SHOT: After last year’s devastating fire, Jones miraculously reopened about six weeks later. Now, that’s staying power.