Townhouse Bar and Speakeasy – Los Angeles, California - Atlas Obscura

Townhouse Bar and Speakeasy

From pre-war whiskey cocktails to prohibition-era speakeasy secrecy, this bar has seen it all. 


A part of Venice history since 1915, the Townhouse is one of the oldest bars in Los Angeles, and boasts that its use as a local watering hole was never once interrupted by war, temperance, or those pesky prohibition laws.

During the prohibition, the resourceful owners ran a successful speakeasy in the basement called The Del Monte (hidden by the grocery store upstairs), and kept the locals in clandestine liquor throughout the entire prohibition era.

Small ships carrying illegal shipments of rum and whiskey from Canada would sail underneath the former Abbot Kinney pier en route to their destiny as the saviors of thirsty Los Angeleno souls. From there, the hootch would be smuggled through catacombs and underground tunnels and funneled into the city, with it’s first stop right off of the pier being The Del Monte.

Today, the Townhouse has kept much of its historical charm, and recently, after much hoopla with grandfathered liquor laws, managed to reopen the speakeasy portion of the bar. While The Del Monte is only open on select nights of the week, not unlike the hush-hush nature of a real, live speakeasy, the Townhouse portion of the building keeps typical bar hours.

The bar is proud to honor the “golden age of drinking,” with mixologists using classic bartending techniques and recipes combined with a modern flair. The nightly conjuring of classic Whiskey Sours and, of course, delightful Old Fashioneds hearkens back to a time when drinking was a serious and risky business, but never one without style.

Know Before You Go

There is metered parking on Windward and in surrounding areas, and is free after 6 p.m.

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July 25, 2011

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