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Downtown's Bordello to reopen Friday as One Eyed Gypsy

October 6, 2011 |  2:37 pm

Bartop
The historic downtown bar formerly known as Little Pedro's and then as Bordello, which possesses one of L.A.'s oldest liquor licenses, will reopen Friday as One Eyed Gypsy.

Owned by designer and restaurateur Dana Hollister, One Eyed Gypsy is Bordello (Hollister owned that too) reimagined along the lines of a 1930s carnival. Gone are the plush crimson touches that paid homage to the building's first incarnation as the Santa Fe Hotel (with an upstairs brothel), and in their place are vintage carnival games including a Fortune Teller machine, a Love-O-Meter, a toy grab and a 1970s photo booth.

There is also a jukebox that plays real 45s and two vintage boardwalk Skee-Ball machines located where the backstage area once was. Tickets from these machines can be used to redeem food and drink from the bar, and eventually, says manager Dave Young, 7-inches made by local bands that play shows at the bar.

"We want this to be the bar that gives back," said Young at Wednesday night's preview party. "If we can avoid charging a cover, we will do that as well. We want this to be a low-key neighborhood hang."

Skee-Ball The drink menu is split into two parts, $11 "high rollers" cocktails like "the Surly Sailor" made with dark and light rum, Bacardi 151, blackberries and fresh pineapple and lime juices; and $8 "cheap dates" like "Gypsy Juice" made with gin, sloe gin, fresh citrus juice and hard apple cider.

There is a full kitchen, but the food is designed to be utensil-free, so expect lots of grab-and-eat items like individual thin-crust pizzas with mushrooms, corned beef and Italian meats; juicy sliders with caramelized onions; corn dogs; crispy sweet potato tater tots; and battered, deep-fried Oreos (trust us, you should really only eat one of these).

One of the more arresting design aspects of the bar is the row of 19th and early 20th century gilt mirrors behind the bar. They are arranged so that the super-lazy among us can watch the entertainment onstage (which might be a dancer, a juggler, a violinist or an indie rock band) without twisting our bodies around in our bar stools.

One Eyed Gypsy, 901 E. 1st St., Los Angeles

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-- Jessica Gelt

Photos: Top, the main bar; bottom, vintage Skee-Ball machines. Credit: John Ales

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