Friday, February 5, 2010

#13 The Well

#30 Hollywood Walk of Fame
#29 Yamashiro
#28 Hollywood Billiards
#27 Genghis Cohen
#26 Piano Bar
#25 Shmutzville
# 24 Loteria
# 23 The Griddle
# 22 Proximity
# 21 Hollywood Freeway
#20 Kitchen 24
# 19 The People
# 18 Sushi Eyaki
#17 Raymond Chandler
# 16 Jumbo's Clown Room
#15 Skooby's
#14 The Arclight

# 13 The Well

It's weird how on this list, of the first seventeen things I will miss about Hollywood, only three have been bars. One would imagine if my roommate, the Honorable Ebright, were drawing this up, we would have seen ten to twelve already. For some reason, I have found that things like eating, fantasizing about an alternate reality, and parking, are on equal footing with bars while rating a neighborhood. Bars are pretty much the standard for how I judge neighborhoods as I travel to them, one would imagine that I would feel the same way about my own neighborhood, after all, one of the draws to downtown is the bar scene. However, I guess that after you live in a neighborhood for eighteen months, and you know what each bar represents, they start to become archetypes. They cease holding meaning unto themselves, and start to mean what they represent as icons in your imagination. Jumbo's represents oddness and half-naked women more than it represents the actual events that may happen on a given visit. Bars like Velvet Margarita and Beauty Bar represent the crowd that drinks there—a crowd I'm not starting any fan clubs for—far more than the bars themselves. This doesn't happen during visits to neighborhoods when the bar represents the particular evening and the framework of what you notice amongst the neighborhood and crowd. This archetypal association is unfortunate considering that in eighteen months, downtown bars that—at least in my imagination—currently stand for the bars themselves and the experiences I've had there will be subject to this same iconic filing-cabinet mentality. However, one bar, more than any other, has eluded this filing away, so far: The Well.

I can't quite categorize The Well. On one hand, it is a sleek, loungy-type bar with hidden status. ("All the cool bars in LA need to be hard to find so that when you tell a girl you've been somewhere it's like you're bragging that you know where it is.") But on the other hand, the crowd can be dramatically down-to-earth (which is a relative of "amazingly average"), the jukebox is world-class, and it may be the most comfortable bar in Hollywood. While I like going to other places a little bit more (you'll see), The Well may be my favorite bar that I like merely for itself. It's the Lost in Translation of bars: no gimmicks, no games, no bullshit; a great jukebox, incredibly hot women, and a super-cool vibe. Furthermore, like I mentioned earlier, it's just avoided being pigeonholed. There's no doubt that it's a chic lounge, but without the arrogance, the hassle at the door, and the attitude, it's just a cool place. What's not to like.

Even the location is cool: right off Sunset east of Vine and across from the Palladium; it's walking distance there, cab distance home. A few months ago, I rolled in there with a few friends. We were well-dressed and eager to forget our hammers at the bar. As we walked in, the aforementioned jukebox was singing the Cold War Kids' "Something is Not Right with Me." Honorable Ebright pointed out that this was akin to a fictional movie (a movie that doesn't exist, as opposed to a movie that tells a story that is not true) scene. The guys, walking into the well-lit lounge, wearing their Friday best, strolling through the doors with the perfect soundtrack. That could only happen at a super-chic place that, admittedly are abundant in Hollywood—but how many are playing cool music and are within walking distance. Fucking great.

And of course, I'd be remissed if I didn't mention the bartender. When talking about a rating system that I mentioned in a previous entry, I noted that an LA girl's rating is multiplied by 1.1 and added to 1 (a 7 in LA is an 8.7 in Cleveland). However, at 8.18 that scale stops as they all become Cleveland 10s. Essentially, the hottest girl in Cleveland is by-law no hotter than an LA 8.18. The bartender at The Well (she knows who she is) is a fucking LA 10. She is the standard by which all other girls should be judged. I have even gone as far as tried to clear it with Katy to make her my celebrity freebie" under the assumption that a girl that hot in this town has at least done some commercial work, if not a feature that I just haven't seen. (This request was denied)

So essentially, you have a cool bar, with great music, good drinks, a rad location, and the world's hottest bartender; and this bar did NOT make the top ten. Hollywood is a good place my friends.

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