I remember when I first stumbled into the Mountain Bar. I was so grateful that it was there. In such an unlikely place for a hip bar: Chinatown’s Gin Ling Way, right across from the wishing well with all the turtles. Sure, there’s Grand Star around the corner but that hot club only happens every other Friday night, leaving Chinatown only a place most consider for bobas, dim sum and cheap trinkets.
Jumpstarted by Brad Pitt’s appearance at its grand opening, the Mountain Bar has an art-gallery-meets-dive-bar feel to it in that it’s usually dead and its furniture looks like untouchable albeit uncomfortable art. I’ve gone to the bar on different nights and the crowd varies from nonexistent to not-so-dead. So I was really intrigued when my friend dj Merlin told me he was throwing a huge holiday party there.
This night promised four djs, bands, drink specials, a light show and even a huge Christmas tree. And when I got there, all the things that usually annoy me about driving all the way to downtown on a Saturday night were never an issue: no traffic and I found parking right out in front.
At first, I worried for Merlin. At 10, you could still see the dance floor cuz there was no one on it. At 10:30, I worried that my friends who I dissuaded from going to the Bigfoot Lodge would hate me.
<p> I asked the bartender when this place usually picks up. He said it was hit or miss but usually around 11. Sure enough, the bar filled up. Not crazy “filled up” but there were people dancing. And the scene was very Eastside hip without any Hollywood attitude. </p> <p> Upstairs, there was a band performing Christmas songs while groups lounged around in the plush couches and big ol’ bed. I have to say, though, that the upstairs bartender really sucked. Well, she sucked in that she tried to make up for her lack of knowledge about drink ingredients by heavy-handed pouring. She didn’t suck if you like cocktails without all the mixers. </p> <p> So after tonight, I still wouldn’t put the Mountain Bar on my roster of places to barhop on a Saturday night (unless there was a party). It’s so out of the way that you couldn’t exactly “barhop.” You could think about starting the evening there, but why would you? And its hit-or-miss nights make it tricky to commit to since you have to drive all the way to Chinatown and you won’t know if you’re in for a dead night or a hot night until you get there. </p> <p> From <a href="https://losangeles.citysearch.com/profile/37949123/los_angeles_ca/mountain_bar.html">CitySearch</a>: </p> <blockquote> <p> The product of three longtime Chung King Road art-scene collaborators, Mountain Bar is a respite from cutthroat Hollywood guest lists and dress codes. The owners encourage more than drinking–they occasionally host creative forums for their core crowd of cronies and other independent thinkers. </p> </blockquote> <p> <em>475 Gin Ling Way<br /> Los Angeles, CA 90012-1712<br /> (213) 625-7500<br /> Cross Street: Hill Street</em> </p>