Welcome to the kind of bar your cool best friend would say you’ve got to try. It’s called Prank, and it’s LA’s first walk up bar. Let’s explain: You don’t have to pass any gate to get in, you just pull up with immediate access from the street. Aside from excellent drinks, food and atmosphere, the question guests need to figure out, as they keep coming back, is why a reasonably-priced, upscale-looking place bears its eccentric name. Dave Whitton, the owner, renowned barman and “cocktail purist” says the name is something he “wants people to interpret for themselves.” The hint he gives us is the word “playful,” with some hidden gems both upstairs and downstairs you have to experience first-hand. Noteworthy is a prank call phone booth that doubles as a private karaoke booth that may or may not broadcast you to the rest of the bar at a moment’s notice.
The cocktails are well prepared, flavorful and super fresh. A good staple is a colorful concoction known as “Rebellious.” Described by the creative owner as “house-made with tequila and agave,” and “double carbonated.” So good you might even splurge and get the friend that brought you in here a drink.
Prank prides itself on using non-inflammatory, non-GMO, organic and locally-sourced ingredients for its drinks as well as their food, offering something for omnivore, vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free people alike. Despite the perception of skeptics over such buzzwords, the difference truly is noticeable in practice. After experiencing your evening out, expect to feel satisfied instead of stuffed. And definitely try the fries that accompany the veggie Fatflower Burgette, a cauliflower “burger” with sriracha sweet chili sauce and caramelized onions paired up with those fries we just told you about — a combination of traditional and sweet potato fries that are simultaneously crispy, chewy and salty. They’ll be sure to satisfy any bar hopper who knows that kickass fries distinguish a good bar from a great one. Designed by the famous Ricki Kline, you will walk into the bar and feel like you really are in a modern day Friends or Seinfeld in an era where you can enjoy and take pictures of your stylish and substantial meal paired with artistically crafted drinks complete with the Instagram hashtag #foodporn. The perfectly geometrical pattern printed neatly on the staircase balances out its austere blue walls, which makes it an especially good environment to take your next profile picture. Set in the heart of Downtown LA, next to five parking lots, and the Pico station so there’s really no excuse — go check it out.
Written by Alexandra Bender
Photographed by Stephen LaMarche