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 thirteen 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 80th 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 Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013, unless otherwise noted.
Cole’s celebrates its 105th anniversary by hosting the 5th Annual Jimmy Barella Bartending Competition on Repeal Day. The competition honors the legendary bartender who worked at the Red Car Bar from 1918 to 1983. The competition features LA’s top bartenders going head-to-head for the top prize. The event features a live jazz band, ice luge, and a $5 Old Overholt Rye Whiskey punch. Repeal Day at Cole’s takes place from 6:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. No cover, 1930s attire is encouraged.
The Comme Ça cocktail menu has been named “18A” (for the 18th Amendment, natch) since Sam Ross launched the debut list in 2007. On Repeal Day, the West Hollywood brasserie is offering these classic gin and rye cocktails for $6 at the bar: Gin Rickey, Sazerac, Manhattan and Negroni.
All three locations of chef/owner David Lentz’s The Hungry Cat seafood restaurant - Hollywood, Santa Monica and Santa Barbara - are celebrating Repeal Day with an All-Day Happy Hour. On Dec. 5, The Hungry Cat is offering half priced draft beers and specialty cocktails like Hollywood’s Greyhound Proper (Plymouth gin, grapefruit, candied grapefruit) and Santa Monica’s barrel-aged Boulevardier (Wild Turkey, Campari, Carpano Antica).
Dirty Laundry is the latest venture from the Houston brothers, the nightlife impresarios behind No Vacancy, Pour Vous, Harvard & Stone, and La Descarga. Dirty Laundry occupies the basement of the historic Hudson apartment building, which was built in 1917. During Prohibition, a speakeasy reportedly existed in the basement, a hideaway for Hollywood legends such as Rudolph Valentino and Mae West. On Repeal Day, the Los Angeles Times Flight Night series takes over Dirty Laundry from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Enjoy different whiskeys and craft cocktails, paired with gourmet bites. Online tickets are $28.
Neat, the popular Glendale neighborhood bar owned by Aidan Demarest, is showcasing the four “B”s on Repeal Day: BBQ, beers, a band and burlesque. Bring an unwrapped toy (retail value at least $10) for the bar's Toys for Tots drive, and you’ll get a free drink. How neat is that? The Repeal Day festivities start at 6:00 p.m.
Since Oct. 29, Next Door Lounge has been celebrating Prohibition Days, a series of daily deals that ends, appropriately enough, on Repeal Day. The final week of specials at the Highland Avenue speakeasy includes: Black Tuesday (“Soup Kitchen” prices all night), Bourbon Wednesday*, and Ladies Night Thursday (“dames” get a glass of bubbly for a dime).
*Bourbon Wednesday features a guided tasting of a bourbon flight with paired bites for $30. Event starts at 8:00 p.m. To RSVP, email: [email protected].
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 The Del Monte Speakeasy downstairs 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 Speakeasy features a variety of live performances, from bands and DJs to comedy and burlesque.
On Repeal Day, The Del Monte Speakeasy hosts the first of its Public Events Series, featuring guest speaker Richard Foss (author of “Rum: A Global History”) and music by The Brad Kay Regressive Jazz Quartet. The all-inclusive $25 ticket includes complimentary Prohibition era punch, three cocktails inspired by Richard's seminar, and a roast pig with Prohibition sides. Upstairs, the Townhouse is serving $5 Repeal Day punch and $9 Repeal Day cocktails. From 10:00 to 11:00 p.m., both the Townhouse and The Del Monte Speakeasy are toasting Repeal Day with $1 Prohibition-priced cocktails. The Del Monte Speakeasy is a private event for ticket holders from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m., and then opens to the public. The Townhouse is free and open to the public all night.
1933 Group, named after the year that Prohibition was repealed, owns several of LA’s favorite craft cocktail bars. To commemorate the “death” of the 18th Amendment, 1933 Group is featuring a special Repeal Day cocktail for just $1 at all of its bars: Bigfoot Lodge, Bigfoot West, La Cuevita, Oldfield’s Liquor Room, Sassafras and Thirsty Crow. The Repeal Day Cocktail Special is available from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Dec. 5. Funeral attire is “appreciated.”