For cocktail enthusiasts around the country, December 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 83rd 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 Monday, Dec. 5, 2016 unless otherwise noted.
Named after the year that Prohibition was repealed, 1933 Group owns craft cocktail bars throughout Los Angeles.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 all nine of their bars: Bigfoot Lodge, Bigfoot West, Harlowe, Highland Park Bowl, Idle Hour, La Cuevita, Oldfield’s Liquor Room, Sassafras Saloon and Thirsty Crow.
Eight of the participating bars are serving $1 Old Fashioneds, while La Cuevita in Highland Park is offering a $1 Tequila Press. The Repeal Day cocktail specials are available from 5-7 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 5.
A popular spot for Los Feliz locals and cocktail aficionados alike, Big Bar kicked off Repeal Day celebrations during its weekend brunch with the Scofflaw, made with Redemption Rye, Gancia Dry Vermouth, Grenadine, lemon, and orange bitters. Named after the Prohibition term for "lawless drinkers" of illegal hooch, the Scofflaw debuted at Harry's Bar in Paris in 1924. The Scofflaw will be featured as an $8 Happy Hour special on Monday, Dec. 5 from 2-7 p.m.
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 Repeal Day, Cole's will be offering a $19.08 special - two French Dips and two side orders from 11 a.m. to close. Special cocktails for the day include:
- Beam Collins ($6): Jim Beam, lemon juice, sugar, soda water.
- Bee's Knees ($11): gin, honey, lemon juice.
- Ward Eight ($11): rye whiskey, lemon juice, orange juice, grenadine.
- Hanky Panky ($11): dry gin, Italian vermouth, Fernet-Branca.
- Mary Pickford ($11): white rum, pineapple juice, grenadine, Maraschino Liqueur.
Helmed by "the Godfather" of the L.A. cocktail scene, Vincenzo Marianella, Copa d'Oro was in the vanguard of L.A. craft cocktail bars when it opened in January 2009 and continues to showcase fresh ingredients sourced from the Santa Monica Farmers Market.
For Repeal Day, Marianella is making you an offer you can't refuse: $5 off the entire cocktail menu. Select from classics like the Ward 8, Jack Rose, Tommy's Margarita and Moscow Mule, or go all in with "Just Because" cocktails like the 5th Avenue Manhattan: Pappy Van Winkle 23-Year Family Reserve, Martini & Rossi Gran Lusso, and Angostura Bitters.
Beau du Bois has built a dedicated following at The Corner Door, which opened in June 2012 and continues to attract cocktail enthusiasts from well beyond its Culver City neighborhood. Du Bois showcases his creative, classically driven cocktails with seasonal menus centered on themes like "The Goonies" and Stephen King novels. For Repeal Day, du Bois is offering a $6 Old Fashioned special all night. In more good news, his inspired boozy eggnog, the Christmas Milk, is back for the holidays.
A newcomer to the thriving Downtown L.A. cocktail scene, El Dorado is a 6,100 square-foot subterranean lounge located beneath the El Dorado lofts. Follow the bright "El Dorado Bar" sign down the staircase and you'll enter the handsomely designed bar, which features an Art Deco design, dark wood, leather booths and a stamped tin ceiling.
From 8 p.m. to midnight, El Dorado is hosting a Repeal Day celebration with loft & bear Artisanal Vodka cocktails and live jazz. Dress to impress with black and white attire - "sequins and feathers are optional." Proceeds benefit PATH (People Assisting The Homeless), a family of agencies working together to end homelessness for individuals, families, and communities.
Since its opening in April 2014, Faith & Flower has become one of Downtown L.A.’s top dining destinations. Located just a few blocks from STAPLES Center, the expansive restaurant features an ornate design inspired by L.A. history - the nearby Broadway theatre district, Grand Avenue mansions and more.
On Repeal Day, Faith & Flower is offering a $1 Havana Club Puerto Rico Punch with smooth flavors of tropical fruit combined with oak and vanilla. Ryan Wainwright (Terrine) and Darwin Pornel (Faith & Flower Lead Bartender) will serve their versions of classic cocktails like the Gibson, Daiquiri, Sazerac and Old Fashioned, priced from $9-12.
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 ratification of the 21st Amendment.
The third annual Repeal Day Under the Umbrella is taking place all day on Dec. 5 from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. The celebration features daytime coffee specials, $7 Old Fashioneds all day and a classics-inspired menu. At 6 p.m. the house Old Fashioneds will be just 38 cents for half an hour! The festivities also include live music, complimentary barber service, bartenders in period attire, "folksy sensibilities" and "use of dated terminology."
Located on Melrose Avenue across from Paramount Studios, Pour Vous is a sexy Parisian-themed lounge, part of the Houston Hospitality portfolio of craft cocktail bars. On Tuesday, Dec. 6, bar manager François Vera is featuring a $5 Hanky Panky as a tribute to Ada Coleman, the legendary head bartender of the American Bar at The Savoy Hotel in London. Coleman was the head bartender for 23 years and one of only two women to hold that position. 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!”
Michael Neff recently made a welcome return at the helm of Three Clubs, a classic Hollywood cocktail lounge on Vine Street with a wide range of entertainment including live music, theatre, cabaret and burlesque. Fans will recognize Three Clubs from its appearances in Mad Men, Swingers, L.A. Confidential, and Parks and Recreation.
The $5 Happy Hour from 5-7 p.m. includes classics like the Old Fashioned, Martini and Daiquiri. Starting at 7:30 p.m. in the Three Clubs performance room, Babylon Cabaret features singing, dancing, hot jazz and burlesque accompanied by live music. The one-hour show takes the audience to Golden Age Hollywood, the French Quarter of New Orleans and Berlin of the 1920s and 30s. Tickets to Babylon Cabaret are $10 for presale and $12 at the door.
Located on Windward Avenue just steps from Venice Beach, the historic Townhouse and The Del Monte 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 like 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.
The Townhouse 101-Year Anniversary / Repeal Day Celebration kicks off at 7 p.m. with music performances in The Del Monte, featuring Dustbowl Revival, Mudbug Brass Band, Brad Kay's Regressive Jazz Trio, plus DJs Mark Maxwell and Vinyl Don. There's a free pig roast at 6 p.m. as well as Prohibition stories and Venice history with bar historian George Czarnecki at 8:30 p.m. Listen for the bell to ring at the bar and enjoy one hour of 1933 pricing on all cocktails. The Repeal Day Celebration starts at 7 p.m. No cover.
Hidden inside Cole's, The Varnish is widely acknowledged as one of the pioneering bars that helped establish Los Angeles as a world-class cocktail city. Seven years after it opened, the acclaimed neo-speakeasy continues to be one of L.A.'s cocktail standard bearers. On Repeal Day, The Varnish is serving Scofflaw shooters for $4 each, or two for $8. Split into two shooters, each Prohibition-era cocktail is made with Rittenhouse 100, Dolin Dry Vermouth, fresh lemon, pomegranate grenadine, and orange bitters. To enhance the vintage vibe, there's live jazz after 9 p.m.
Located in the heart of Downtown Culver City, The Wallace is offering a special Repeal Day menu featuring Beverage Director Greg Bryson's whiskey-focused cocktails and bar bites by Executive Chef Joel Miller.
The special menu includes:
- $8 classic cocktails (Buck, Rose, Manhattan, Fix and Boilermaker)
- $1 oysters (half or full dozen)
- $6 fried calamari
- $2 nuts and $2 olives
The Repeal Day menu is available during dinner service at the bar only from 5:30–10 p.m.