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L.A.’s Underground Nightlife

Dive into hipster chic in an underground speakeasy and former bank vault

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Dirty Laundry Bar, the trendy subterranean speakeasy on Hollywood Boulevard dubbed by Thrillist as “one of the sexiest bars in L.A.,” makes you feel like you’ve slipped into L.A.’s underworld. Dimly lit below-ground spaces aim to make you feel like you’ve time-warped to Prohibition; in fact, the basement-level warren is rumored to have once been the secret bar of silent-era actor Rudolph Valentino, with forbidden liquor smuggled around in laundry baskets. The bar, created by twins Jonnie and Mark Houston (owners of some of L.A.’s hottest after-dark watering holes), includes suspender-clad bartenders and zero cell service (just like Prohibition). Finding Dirty Laundry—hidden beneath another bar called No Vacancy—is only half the challenge; to get in, you have to know the daily password via the bar’s Twitter account (@dirtylaundrybar).

For another subterranean after-dark retreat in L.A., head to the Crocker Club. A century ago it was the basement-level vault room of Crocker Citizens National Bank. Now it’s a swankified bar, restaurant, and DJ-driven nightclub. Walk through a maze of rooms still sporting Deco-era designs and features, including the bank’s original vault and its still-working multiton door. (Don’t worry, it’s permanently wedged open.) Sidle up to the Ghost Bar—rumored to have spirits both in and out of the bottle—and order The Brinks Job, with Hendrick’s Gin, St. Germain, lime juice, simple syrup, and fresh muddled basil, mint, ginger, and cucumber. Then relax in one of the club’s chamber rooms, where decades ago wealthy bank patrons stashed gems and secret valuables in their safe deposit boxes.

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