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Category: The Enabler

The Enabler: Organic beer, self-hypnosis are king at Grateful Fridays at Bardot


This week The Enabler visits Grateful Fridays, a new metaphysical club night at Bardot in Hollywood. The evening features massage, healing, raw food and lots of organic beer, wine and Veev, which the night's founders are happy to point out contributes profits to saving the rain forests.

The Enabler stuck with whiskey, but was tempted by the "shapeshifter latte with handmade local organic coconut cream" that was for sale at the Shaman Shack beside the bar.

We were somewhere around the Shaman Shack on the edge of the dance floor when the self-love began to take hold. The Enabler remembers saying something like, "I feel a bit enlightened; maybe we should dance..." and suddenly there was a hypnotic beat all around and the room was full of what looked like liberated hippies, all swooping and screeching and diving around the dance floor, which was grooving at about a million beats per minute with the lights flashing at Grateful Fridays, a metaphysical club night at Bardot in Hollywood.

To read the full story, click here.


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--Jessica Gelt

Photo:V Nixie dances with Evie Voutsina at Bardot during a new metaphysical club night called Grateful Fridays. Credit: Arkasha Stevenson / Los Angeles Times.

The Enabler: Tony's bar and the tale of the mighty Manhattan

Tonys-bar Bar designer Ricki Kline, a Vietnamese general and Miss Senior America walk into a bar. Or rather, Kline walks into a bar — Tony’s, his 3-month-old Cedd Moses collaboration in downtown’s warehouse district — effusive about the story of how he had recently met both of the latter at a party.

“It was in deep Orange County,” he said, and his drinking companion nodded knowingly. Kline pulled out his digital camera to show off a giddy picture of himself with Miss Senior America, a silver fox if the Enabler ever saw one.

The Tuesday night scene was surreal in that distinct L.A. way in which various strains of humdrum collide into something majestically weird. But it befits Tony’s, which is surely the only nightspot serving quarter-cask Laphroaig Scotch within earshot of the Amtrak lines running along a desolate stretch of the L.A. River. Tony’s is a far-flung province of Moses’ downtown archipelago — the walk from the historic core quickly turns from noirish to genuinely spooky, and except for nearby American Apparel employees and the Downtown Rehearsal rabble, it’s a lonely hike.

But as anyone who’s fought through packs of handsy USC bros at the Golden Gopher lately can attest, its remoteness could be an asset. It also might be Moses’ best bar yet. A barely-lighted Chandlerian fever dream of unpronounceable whiskeys and wood trim, Tony’s renders the recent spate of hyper-male bars as pimply, furtive teenagers by comparison. This may be in large part due to bartender Skyler Reeves. With his close-cropped black hair, 10 o’clock shadow and jungle-cat muscular form, he cuts a visage that could melt the rocks in your bourbon. He knows his whiskey and Scotch lexicon, and can recommend something “peaty and earthy” or “sweet with a quick finish” faster than you can say “Um, both please, if you’re serving them.”

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The Enabler: King Eddy Saloon and liver regicide


On a recent Wednesday, as the noontime sun slanted through the dusty wooden doors of King Eddy Saloon in Skid Row, the Enabler sat nursing a cold whiskey and soda. Frank Sinatra crooned “My Way” on the jukebox, and it did indeed seem that most of the bar’s sodden midday drinkers were doing it their way.

The dive on the ground floor of the King Edward Hotel, which both John Fante and Charles Bukowski favored, is the last of the original skid row bars (outliving even Craby Joe’s, which shut its doors two Christmas Eves ago).  The place appears to be held together with wood glue and paper sports flags. The bar is a large square in the middle of the room, and just behind it a genially beleaguered woman in an apron makes ham and cheese sandwiches and chicken nuggets for a few bucks.

The back corner of the bar houses a glass enclosure for smokers, which looks like the most carcinogenic sportscaster’s booth in history. If Fante’s Arturo Bandini had brought one of his oranges there, it would have been the most organic object in the place (and that includes the bodies of the well-seasoned regulars). 

On the Enabler’s latest visit, a lone suitcase stood by the door. Was someone enjoying a cocktail before his inaugural trip up the King Edward Hotel’s stairs? After a long spell, a bearded man grabbed it and began to walk away. “You comin’ back, Jose?” asked a tiny Asian man with giant glasses. 

“I ain’t comin’ back no more,” replied Jose, disappearing into the swell of traffic and wind outside. The little man saluted him before returning to his tumbler of warm Jaeger. The King Eddy had come to Jose the way he came to it, his feet over its sticky floorboards, and Jose had seen enough of this sad flower in the sand.

-- Jessica Gelt and August Brown

Photo of John Fante by the Los Angeles Times


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