Looking for a Unicorn? Place for a casual, friendly, drop-by sort of affair

I’ll be celebrating my wife’s birthday with a dinner for two out on a Saturday. I’m certainly looking forward to that. However, I thought it might be nice if she could be surrounded by a group of friends and family so she can feel the love a little bit.
Nonna and nonno will take the kiddo, but I think it would be better to have this get together out rather than in our place.
The idea would be to kind hole up at a place and have people come by for a drink (and perhaps a bite) when they could and for however long they could.
So . . . I guess I’m looking for a place:

  1. That has drinks.
  2. That is large enough for about 20 people to maybe claim and carve out a corner of our own for a couple of hours.
  3. That doesn’t require a deposit or minimum or financial outlay from me since . . . ahem . . . I’m poor.
  4. That has some food available for people who are hungry. This is not a deal breaker.
  5. That isn’t stupid loud. A bit of volume is fine, but I think people right next to each other should be able to be heard with raised voices, not shouting.

I’ve had a great time when a friend rented out the back room at The Pikey. But he’s more flush than I.

Any ideas?

The Red Lion Tavern on Glendale is a friendly pub, ample room, and a beer garden/patio upstairs. I dunno what the crowd is like on the weekends, but they serve some awfully tasty german sausages which are orderable both as dinners and as sampler platters, so that might actually work well for the ‘casual grazing’ sort of thing.

And needless to say, they have booze, emphasis on german beers. They also serve ‘cola-weizen’, which is apparently a german thing of beer + cola as a lighter lunchtime lunchtime beverage. Mmy german coworkers were always stoked when this place got picked as a lunch spot.

They even have a (smallish) parking lot.




Vinoteque on melrose? maybe go early and see if you can claim space on their nice patio

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Seconded. It can be loud though…


dunno what neighborhood you want, but have been to sucessful events like yours at fin mc cools on main st. in santa monica
set up camp for your group in the northwest corner of the restaurant.

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Thank you, friends!
I’m liking these options!
I would add that the woman of the hour is a cocktail girl. Likes the aromatic and served up. So if the place has something like that, it would be a plus.

What area or hood you have in mind?

I am going to throw this out here but The Prince in Koreatown.

Drinks, food, and that wonderful decor.


Next Door Lounge in Hollywood hits all of those except for maybe 5.

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In lieu of Vinotheque, which has horrible wine and even worse food, check out Marvin in Weho. Fantastic wine list and serviceable French bistro-ish food. I think the place is big enough that you’d be able to carve out space.

Bar Covell also has a private room next to the bar, but you have to hit a minimum, which may or may not be easy depending on the number of people you have stopping by.

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As far as location, fairly open, but west side is most convenient for most people. Trying to keep it easy so more people will show.

Liking these suggestions so far.

Has anyone been to the Old Man Bar at Hatchet Hall? I really like Hatchet Hall’s food and drink. Is the Old Man Bar a place that we can kind of “own” for a bit if we get a nucleus there early enough?

just thought of another place,
Settebello in the Marina.

if the weather is nice you can grab a nice seating area on the patio that surrounds two sides of the restaurant.
they do a good job with cocktails, with this one caveat:
they don’t stock many of the megabrands.
this means, for instance, for gin you would not expect to find bombay sapphire, instead you’d find fords.


If you’re okay with just beer and wine, DeSano Pizza Bakery might just fit the bill.

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20 people is close to the entire capacity of the Old Man Bar. I think the stated capacity is like 33 people in there, and that seems like more of a legal estimate than anything else. It feels full whenever there’s 20 people there.

So yes, if you show up, you will pretty much own the entire bar, and maybe even create a line out the door at some point later in the night!

There is, however, no food other than some wonderful roasted peanuts there.

[quote]they do a good job with cocktails, with this one caveat:
they don’t stock many of the megabrands.
this means, for instance, for gin you would not expect to find bombay sapphire, instead you’d find fords.[/quote]

How is this a caveat? Fords is a far superior gin to bomaby sapphire…is this like a sarcastic remark about how infinitely superior they are to other trashy places mentioned, or a covert jab at OP who might not have high-brow enough friends to handle the superior quality? Or just a roundabout way of saying it will be exceptionally expensive?

A few years ago we had a Chowhound get-together at O’Briens Pub that worked out well.

We took over the end of the bar and area just right inside the entrance, and had anywhere from a handful to close to two dozen people there over the course of the evening.

Could have your dinner at Rustic Canyon or Wilshire or …

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Understood. I just picked up a bottle of Fords for home. I’m about 15 years into a deep dive into cocktail geekery so this is an endorsement.
Thank you.

That would be rad. I’m thinking of something different this time, but The Prince is really fun