At the edge of the Arts District and just kissing the LA River, rests Villain’s Tavern - a bar marked with vaudevillian terror. Gothic wooden arches and hundreds of glass potion bottles fill the window as if they’re proudly displaying the dismay of mixologists gone mad. Five years ago Villain’s Tavern was the only bar in the neighborhood to offer refuge to Arts District night crawlers. Today, it has proven to serve as the Arts District no-fuss-watering-hole, night after night.
Villain’s Tavern is dark, dingy, obscure - just the way we like it. Every night of the week, the outdoor patio transforms into a honkytonk stage where feet stomp to the rhythm of hillbilly bluegrass or barbershop quartets. When the stage isn’t set, the patio acts like a loud neighbor’s backyard - pétanque tournaments, shrimp boils and smoky BBQs are regularly held for all to get rowdy with.
Drinks here are stirred and shaken with grit. Pay respect and keep those pinkies down - manhandle that Mason jar and pound. Try the Belladonna, a glass full of Maker’s Mark, mint, citrus and bitters. It’s tart, tangy and goes down all too nicely. New meaning is given to double fisting because for $10, the beer and shot combo is the best deal on the menu. For the hungry drunk in all of us, the kitchen stays open late - Greek style hot dogs and chicken skewers aim to soak up the fun.
Be wary of the weekend line and head to Villain’s Tavern during the week when the crowd temperature is just right. Come by for one drink or stay all night, you’ll be sure to have a delightfully sinful time.
Janica de Guzman