NOW OPEN TO DELIGHT OLD HOLLYWOOD STYLE
While Hollywood Boulevard is loaded with clubs galore to enthrall the scenesters, jetsetters and club kids, what has been missing is a good old fashioned bar. While I love a cool dive bar, there’s something to be said about time well spent in an upscale bar where first rate cocktails are front and center…throw in a fun atmosphere, pretty eye candy, burlesque and live music and you’ve got yourself a setting for a good time.
Courtesy of the Houston Brothers, the powers-that-be behind La Descarga, Pour Vous, and Harvard & Stone, their latest venture, No Vacancy is a wonderful trip down Prohibition lane. And just like La Descarga, their popular Cuban themed rum bar, the fun begins as soon as you walk in the door and let me tell you, the brothers Houston have managed to top themselves and have created the coolest entry in town. Think nostalgic bordello, but the space soon gives way to a grand Victorian house built in 1902 that’s more speak-easy in tone.
“We restored the house as much as we could and brought it back to life with every little detail from the knobs to the antique wallpapers from the 1930s,” Mark Houston explains. “The redesign and restoration was a history lesson of L.A. and its culture throughout the years. It feels like you walked into Old Hollywood with classic cocktails and old-school entertainment.”
Once inside, you’ll want to belly up to the bar (there are two downstairs, one inside and one outside) and order a cocktail or two. The No Vacancy specialty cocktail menu is called the "Dirty Dozen" and features 12 handcrafted drinks created by well known mixologists like Marcos Tello of 1886 Bar, Dave Fernie, and Julian Cox, as well as cocktail master Simon Ford, Jim Meehan and Dushan Zarick from NYC. The full dozen is slowly being rolled out, but the first five drinks proved instant crowd pleasers.
The Gin and Jameson, a Dave Fernie concoction, aptly mixes Jameson, Beefeater, lime, grapefruit, orgeat and honey into a frothy and refreshing $10 drink. Honestly, I can have this one all night long.
The Professor, my personal favorite, is a serious drink ala an Old Fashioned or Manhattan. Mixing Bols Genever (gin), Solerno Blood Orange liqueur, Aperol, and a dash of fig bitters, No Vacancy bartender Francois Vera has come up with a drink to be reckoned with. At $12 a drink, this is a great deal for a no-nonsense cocktail that’s made for sipping in a good old fashioned setting. Sip this one outside under the stars, take in the live music and burlesque on weekends, and good times will follow.
There is no cover at No Vacancy, although reservations are recommended as the house and lovely backyard are guaranteed to be packed. A table reservation begins at $300 and includes a bottle of booze or a cocktail punch bowl.
While it might be hard to find at first, the entrance is actually around the back along Hudson, just off Hollywood Boulevard. Finding the place and making your way inside are actually part of the fun.
Now giving the lovely Sadie Kitchen and Lounge a run for her money as the best place to get quality cocktails in Hollywood, No Vacancy’s festive and throwback setting can’t be beat, and the vibe is a lot calmer and chill than at the neighboring nightclubs, where pounding music and subpar drinks lead the way.
No Vacancy is located at 1727 N. Hudson Ave. Open Tuesday thru Saturday, 8pm to 2am. Upscale attire preferred; shorts, sports gear, flip flops and loud colors are highly discouraged. Valet available.
Photography by: Frank Ishman
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