After spending a considerable amount of time in LA, one quickly accepts the fact that people are probably lying to you in 90 percent of your interactions with them. Once you realize this, it becomes much easier for you in turn to become a purveyor of half-truths with very little weight on your conscience. I’m not saying I’ve become Pinocchio, but I may have exaggerated (a lot) to land a commercial audition a couple of weeks ago and I’ve mastered the art of looking background wranglers in the eye and convincing them that I most definitely do not have a cell phone right here, in my pocket even though I’m really not supposed to have it on this closed set…
In this town of smoke and mirrors however, sometimes one stumbles upon a not-so-hidden gem that is more of a delight than an affront to your intelligence. On a recent outing, my friend’s dogged search for a random hookup led us to Laurel Hardware and aside from my fleeting disappointment at not finding a wrench or gasket in the place, it turned out to be a spot I wouldn’t mind being dragged to again.
I was initially annoyed by the line that stretched along the building, only because it was a nod not to the number of people inside but the attempt to make the place seem more exclusive than it actually is. This did however give us more time to note the cool sliding glass doors in the front of the restaurant and ponder on what exactly the people behind the counter were doing. They were literally handing stacks of plates to each other but no one was eating or cooking. They never stopped moving though. Like I said, smoke and mirrors.
Once we got inside and made it past the front dining room, the rather large bar area with booths, casual seating and a large communal table were more than precious. This place is faintly lit but it also has a great patio, which besides closing at midnight and being freaking freezing, was charming. And as much as I like my nightlife to be devoid of any references to the holidays, the unabashed Christmas décor was surprisingly inviting rather than kitschy. My friends and I spent most of the night name-dropping, ducking various studio execs, and pointing out agents to our East Coast visitor. While we debated the validity of the new Blacklist service, she was mostly disappointed that the place wasn’t brimming with Hollywood’s Chosen. We explained that duh, it was the first night of Hanukkah and what did she expect, and immediately shared the collective realization that we’ve been here far too long and have indeed drunk the Kool-Aid, or the Manischewitz rather.
But oh how I thoroughly appreciate this place! The vintage storefront and the discreet bar in the rear made me feel as if I had stumbled across a speakeasy in West Hollywood, missing only passwords and hidden doors. I half expected to walk in and hear someone decrying the advent of “talkies.” And here was a place with adults, actual adults who were both not creepy and not feigning importance, mostly because nobody here had to pretend. Apparently this is a place that even industry heavies have trouble getting reservations on certain nights.
As for our friend’s pursuit of le sex, I’m not quite sure if she was successful, as I’m not one for sticking around once the lights come on and quickly made my escape. But this reconstituted hardware store is definitely one of my new favorite things. I mean who doesn’t like a modern speakeasy? It’s pretty much the cat’s pajamas- yeah, I’m bringing that back.
Venue: 5 (Did I mention it’s like a speakeasy?)
Alcohol Situation: 5
Actual Beneficial Networking Achieved:0 (Does seeing people who could advance your career count?)
Personal Victory/Dignity Retained: 5