March 7th, 2012: Living Room

WEDNESDAY, March 7th, 2012

Living Room
2636 Crenshaw Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90016

My mother used to scold me for not taking off my shoes when entering a home. “It’s disrespectful to wear them inside,” she would say.

This week at the Living Room we have to tread carefully and be mindful of the fact that we are visitors in someone else’s home. A home to blues hounds and karaoke singers, church-goers and old-timers, many of whom date their first drink at the West Adams establishment to the 1950’s when scores of African Americans left the south and headed west. Nowadays, if you spend a Sunday evening at the bar with Chu Chu and the Lovely Band, you’ll hear an undercurrent of accents – Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas – beneath the steady flow of bourbon and blues. Legendary R&B singer, Miss Mickey Champion belts out her soulful sound on the bar’s postage stamp-sized stage – a sound that’s been described as “a cross between a smooth shot of Hennessy and an acetylene blowtorch.” And it’s precisely that mixture of refinement and raucousness that makes the Living Room so interesting, and why it demands respect from all who pay it a visit.

Located a short drive south of the Rosa Parks (10) freeway on Crenshaw, the Living Room is best accessed through the rear alley parking lot that it shares with Chef Marilyn’s Soul Food. Walk up to the back gate and ring the buzzer; “Big John” will come get you. As you walk through the smoking cage and enter the boxcar-width bar, you’ll be transported in time. The anachronistic décor harkens back to an era when alternating wood and mirror panels were considered “swanky”. Snag an open seat on one of the tweed couches and play a slow jam on the juke box; you may get an elderly couple to do the two-step. The Wednesday crowd is less lively than the weekend’s, but this jook joint is worth a visit any night of the week. So show some respect by tipping your caps (and Kim, the bartender) – and don’t forget to wipe your feet.

As usual, the casual debauchery starts around 9PM and gets really interesting by 10:00. Come for one drink, or stay for one too many. Bring anyone and everyone, and join us for a great time in the middle of the week. If you arrive early or late, look for the people having a damn good time (it’ll be us), or start having a damn good time on your own (we’ll find you).

Carpe Drink’em,

Neil, host

for the World Dive Bar Tour Executive Committee

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The World Dive Bar Tour is your bi- weekly, Wednesday night stop for adventure, drinks, and professional networking in Los Angeles. 2012 will offer an eclectic lineup of seedy and swanky joints to soften your liver and relax your inhibitions, and an in-your-face assortment of auxiliary events, just in case 25 different bars in one year wasn't enough.

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