Repeal Day Events in Los Angeles

The Varnish
The Varnish | Photo courtesy of Thirsty in LA

It’s that festive time of year when Los Angeles hosts a variety of Holiday Events and the world famous Tournament of Roses. For cocktail enthusiasts around the country, Dec. 5 is nearly as important a date on the calendar as Dec. 25 or Dec. 31. Created by Portland bartender Jeffrey Morgenthaler, Repeal Day is celebrated every Dec. 5 to honor the repeal of the 18th Amendment in 1933, which ended 13 years of Prohibition. The national celebration has grown in popularity every year, and bars across Los Angeles are featuring drink specials and events to commemorate the 82nd anniversary of Repeal. As President Franklin D. Roosevelt said at the end of Prohibition: “What America needs now is a drink.”

NOTE: all Repeal Day events listed take place on Saturday, Dec. 5, 2015 unless otherwise noted.

1933 GROUP

The bar at Sassafras Saloon
The bar at Sassafras Saloon | Photo courtesy of 1933 Group

Named after the year that Prohibition was repealed, 1933 Group owns craft cocktail bars throughout Los Angeles. On Repeal Day, 1933 Group is celebrating the end of the 18th Amendment by featuring a special Repeal Day cocktail for just $1 at seven of its bars: Bigfoot Lodge, Bigfoot West, Harlowe, Oldfield’s Liquor Room, Sassafras Saloon and Thirsty Crow. Six of the participating bars serving $1 Old Fashioneds, while La Cuevita is offering a $1 Tequila Press. The Repeal Day cocktail specials are available from 5-7 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 5.

After the $1 Old Fashioneds are all gone, Sassafras bar manager Karen Grill is throwing a Repeal Day party with cocktail specials featuring Woodford Reserve, Old Forester, Mount Gay Rum and Mixwell Sodas. The event features the Burlesque Vignettes and a special musical performance by D. On Darox and the Melody Joy Bakers. The festivities start at 8 p.m.

ANGEL CITY BREWERY

The Public House at Angel City Brewery
The Public House | Photo courtesy of Angel City Brewery, Facebook

Located in the Arts District of Downtown L.A., Angel City Brewery brews beer for the greater L.A area. The brewery features a 19-tap bar and serves an ever-changing roster of newly inspired beer and classic fan favorites, including Angel City IPA and Angel City Pilsner.

On Dec. 5, the brewery will host a private speakeasy from 8 p.m. to midnight in the Mezzanine Lounge. But just like the Prohibition years, entry is restricted to those in the know - a password has been revealed on Angel City’s Instagram feed. The Speakeasy Lounge will have a specialty flight bar featuring barrel-aged and cellared beers, as well as samples of Angel City’s Sparkling Berliner-Weisse, a twist on the brewery’s regular Berliner-Weisse. This specialty beer, only made at the holidays, is blended with Chardonnay and Viognier grape must, then fermented with a house strain of Belgian yeast and pushed to the limit of carbonation. Jazz Age attire is encouraged. 

Beelman's Pub

Communal table at Beelman's Pub in Downtown L.A.
Photo courtesy of Beelman’s Pub, Facebook

With its full service patio on Spring Street and a comfortably designed interior, Beelman's Pub is a Downtown L.A. favorite for locals and visitors alike. Settle into a leather booth or gather your friends at the communal table for craft cocktails and beers paired with moderately priced pub fare like oysters, fish and chips, pepper crusted steak and gravy fries. On Repeal Day, Beelman’s is offering buy one, get one for $1 Jameson Black Barrel Old Fashioneds and Boardwalk Empire Punch for $4.

Cole’s

Photo courtesy of Cole's, Originators of the French Dip, Facebook

Cole’s is the oldest public house in Los Angeles, opened in 1908 and housed in the landmark Pacific Electric building in Downtown L.A. Along with Philippe the Original, Cole’s claims to be the originator of the French Dip sandwich. One advantage that Cole’s has over its longtime rival is the historic Red Car Bar, the 40-foot mahogany bar that continues to welcome new generations of thirsty imbibers.

On Sunday, Dec. 6, Cole's is offering post-Repeal Day specials from 6 p.m. to midnight. Recover from Saturday’s festivities with $4 Old Fashioneds and $1.90 Lagunitas Pilsner drafts. On Monday, Cole's celebrates its 107th anniversary with a 2 Dips + 2 Sodas special for $19.08 (the year it opened, natch). Note: the special excludes the Lamb Dip and Mac & Cheese side.

The Hungry Cat Hollywood

Hanky Panky cocktail by Thirsty in LA
Hanky Panky cocktail | Photo by Daniel Djang, courtesy of Thirsty in LA

The Hungry Cat in Hollywood is featuring three classic cocktails for Repeal Day: the Scofflaw (Rittenhouse 100, Dolin Dry, fresh lemon juice, grenadine), the Jack Rose (apple brandy, lime, grenadine) and the Hanky Panky, created by Ada Coleman, the legendary head bartender of the American Bar at The Savoy Hotel in London. Made with gin, Cocchi Vermouth di Torino and Fernet-Branca, the Hanky Panky was created for one of Coleman’s regulars, actor Sir Charles Hawtrey, who drank her new creation and exclaimed, “By jove! That is the real hanky-panky!” The Repeal Day cocktails are priced at $7 each or two for $12.

THE INDEPENDENCE

The Independence in Santa Monica
Photo courtesy of The Independence, Facebook

Located in the heart of Santa Monica, The Independence is a modern American tavern featuring a bar program created by “The Godfather” of the L.A. cocktail scene, Vincenzo Marianella. On Repeal Day, The Independence is featuring the WTFDR (What The Franklin Delano Roosevelt), made with dark rum, honey ginger syrup, fresh lime, organic pineapple juice and Jerry Thomas Bitters. This variation on a Bermuda Rum Swizzle (FDR’s favorite cocktail to sip while sailing) is priced at $4 on Dec. 5.

MELROSE UMBRELLA COMPANY

Interior of Melrose Umbrella Co.
Photo courtesy of Melrose Umbrella Co., Facebook

The warm and distinctive interior of Melrose Umbrella Co. features 13 umbrellas hanging on one wall, representing the dry years of Prohibition and the many “wet” days that followed. The second annual Repeal Day Under the Umbrella is taking place all day on Dec. 5 from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. Toast the end of the “noble experiment” with $5 Old Forester Old Fashioneds, along with Melrose Umbrella friends from Woodford Reserve, Mixwell, West Coast Ice Provisions and Goorin Bros.

TERRINE

Bar at Terrine
Photo by Jesus Banuelos, courtesy of Terrine

To celebrate Repeal Day, Terrine head bartender Ryan Wainwright is mixing a wide range of classics all night at the lively brasserie. Wainwright is featuring his signature Plymouth Gin Martini along with Manhattans, Daisies and Hot Toddies, all priced at $9 each. There’s also an Ancient Age Bourbon Old Fashioned available for $6.

TOWNHOUSE - THE DEL MONTE SPEAKEASY

Townhouse and The Del Monte Speakeasy
Photo courtesy of Townhouse and The Del Monte Speakeasy

Located on Windward Avenue just steps from Venice Beach, the historic Townhouse and The Del Monte Speakeasy opened as Menotti’s in 1915. The bar became a “grocery store” during the Prohibition era, while downstairs The Del Monte became a hub for rum runners. After the repeal of Prohibition, the above-ground bar re-opened and boasted regular patrons such as Charlie Chaplin and Venice resident Jim Morrison of The Doors. Today, both floors serve craft cocktails and The Del Monte features a variety of live performances, from bands and DJs to comedy and burlesque. Current owners, Louie and Netty Ryan are only the third proprietors of the establishment and have continued their mission to preserve the saloon’s vintage aesthetic that local denizens have enjoyed as a neighborhood hub for generations.

On Saturday, Dec. 5, Townhouse and The Del Monte Speakeasy is hosting a 100th Anniversary Celebration with drink specials, live music, DJs and catering by Hatchet Hall. Louie says, “We won’t tell you exactly when, but we’ll ring the bar bell to announce Prohibition-era prices on all cocktails for one hour.” Music performances in The Del Monte start at 5 p.m. with Brad Kay's Regressive Jazz Quartet. DJ sets by Vinyl Don and Mark Maxwell kick off at 6 p.m. at the Townhouse bar. The 100th Anniversary Celebration starts at noon and admission is free.

Next door, Menotti’s Coffee Stop - also owned by the Ryans and named in honor of Townhouse’s original owner - will reopen at 6 p.m. on Repeal Day via a never-before-used connecting door and serve coffee-based cocktails such as Grand Marnier Mocha, Iced Spanish Rum Latte and Irish Coffee.