Written by Kara King
You notice the place for the first time and then wonder how you’ve never seen it before. A stone cottage sitting humbly among the glaring fluorescents of Sunset Blvd? It seems oddly placed. The sign says “Eat. Drink. Play.” At first, you may not be sure what to expect. Eating and drinking seem self-explanatory enough, but “play” could mean anything. If you are turning to the cottage, chances are you are done with the abundant adult-play found just about anywhere else on this street-to-rule-all-streets. You are hoping “play” is not a child-hood ruining misuse of the word. This seven-dwarf-abode is either a safe haven, or simply being ironic. Does anyone cool come here? After all, there is no obnoxious sign asking you to join the party.
The Den of Hollywood does not ask. It is perfectly content to go without seeing you tonight.
You take a look at the clientele to make sure all is safe (and because you are extremely judgmental). It is a well-dressed but eclectic group. No two people look alike, yet they all share the same knowledge. Nobody else is deciding whether to go inside or not. They all know where they are going. Walking up through the neighborhood, they congregate in front of the door and flash their I.D’s. Is it a secret club? If it is, you want to be part of it, because beauty after beauty is passing on to the inside.
Once inside, your eyes may have to adjust to the dim candle lighting. You have entered a strangely well-kept version of a huntsman’s den. Things are a little too perfectly placed to showcase true ruggedness. It is a bit staged, but still produces the right effect. If you look closely you will notice the details. An oddly placed pepper shaker sitting on a shelf, old books and a variety of canisters create a homey ambiance.
People are congregated in a civilized manner around tables. Some dance, but this is no college frat party. No matter the closeness of the partners, they remain somewhat reserved. Since the unique décor distracts the eye, the actual bar is understated. It is not the first thing you notice even though upon walking in you are looking straight at it. The bar provides everything you need (except mint – no mojitos here!). Most visitors hold relatively simple drinks – gin and tonics, whiskey sours. Some snack on fries or munch on mac & cheese.
It is a “hang” – casual, calm and collected with a little alcohol mixed in to make things interesting.
The Den of Hollywood is chill. It is not that place where you are going to have the best drink of your life or live out a crazy LA fantasy. It does, however, provide a consistency that is refreshing. You know what to expect and you get that same service each time without fail. On a Saturday night it gets crowded, there is the occasional creepster and the occasional belligerent individual. But all in all, it is a safe haven – a place you go to be among friends, talk, laugh and maybe play a board game (yes they have a plethora of board games on the right-hand side of the bar stacked in a corner). It is also a great place to soak up culture and fashion. There are interesting people rocking fabulous looks on any given night.
The people of The Den know what they want. They have found a sweet spot between Hollywood hustle and homespun harmony.
Kara King is an LA local, serial blogger and bookworm extraordinaire. She has a unique passion for life, constantly quotes the words of Hemingway and strives to simply “live” in the most honest way possible. She firmly believes in the mantra “Observe. Write. Repeat.”. Be sure to check out her personal blog, Menial Musings. Chat her up on Twitter @KaraTillie.
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