I took a week off from drinking last week. And while this hindered my ability to create a column about consuming alcohol in public, it really made me feel terrific… this is a lie, breaks are for quitters, AND I AINT NO QUITER.
Good, now that that’s out of the way let’s get to what I did the other night after three glasses of Rosé (I got that box wine at Trader Joe’s thinking it was a cab and didn’t read the label L)
A childhood friend of mine had a show happening in LA and after plugging in the address I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was less than a mile from my home! Thank god because I have quickly discovered that getting anywhere in LA from Culver takes 30 minutes or the entirety of your mid 20s.
The exterior of The Cinema Bar looks like an old country saloon that the city stole from the Sony lot around the corner and stuck in between two buildings on Sepulveda. It’s wooden paneling and old neon sign were a welcome sight in a city so in love with modernization.
After successfully not being hit on my bird scooter, I met with my friend and headed inside. Once you pass through the gateway of the bar you are struck by the sheer regularity of the décor. While there is nothing wrong with a straight forward vibe, The Cinema bar makes you feel like you just stepped into every single dive bar in the mid-west. But this commonality is quickly abated by the tiny stage in the corner of the bar and the soothing music coming off of it. While I assume the genres differ by the day of the week, I loved to hear the folk music being performed. The sad soothing tunes seemed to meld with the surroundings to create an environment like none I have found in LA. And the discovery of the back patio made me resend my initial judgement of The Cinema Bar’s ordinary setting.
The bartender at CB (THAT’S RIGHT. I ABREVIATED THE CINEMA BAR. DEAL WITH IT) was straightforward and had the necessary tools to open the beer I ordered. With the show going on and the wine in my system, I had no need to focus on the service or order a cocktail. So lucky you CB, you get a 10/10 on service by default.
The prices were LA prices. No crazy costs, but definitely no cheap deals either. Yet nothing reminds you that you aren’t in a quaint Nebraska bar like paying $6 for a beer. I’m serious, go to any mid-western state and order a beer, you will think you’re in a 3rdworld country when they tell you it’s $2.
The bar is perfect for a small show. Once you get your drinks and sit down in the back, you can take in the great music and watch the locals. And when I mean locals I mean grumpy old men who call out requests and take down beers like Joey Chestnut does hot dogs.
The Cinema Bar is a lax dive with no frills but no issues. Without the live band it would be middle of the road. But with the incorporation of the music and the eclectic locals, this standard spot transforms to somewhat of a hidden gem. If you are looking for a new place to hear up and coming bands, or want to find a venue where a drunk 60 year old man might yell “play free bird” like he coined the phrase, then I highly suggest you make a stop here.
(All rankings out of 5)
Bar Flies: *****
Overall score: 80/100