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Vintage chandeliers hovering above deep red wall panels ooze a sinister vibe inside Villains Tavern. The 1,600-square-foot restaurant and music venue opened in Los Angeles’ Arts District two years ago as part of interior designer Dana Hollister’s growing empire of baroque boîtes. The attention to design is a stark contrast to the bar’s gritty downtown location demarcated by railroad tracks and industrial buildings. Patrons can chat while sitting outside on Argentinean wrought-iron patio furniture dating from the 1900s or play a game of shuffleboard. Inside, a glass window displays 600 jewel-tone antique bottles and a Gothic church window is repurposed into a massive mirror.
Hollister, who owns the business with Dave Whitton, placed as much attention on the nibbles and libations as she did on the decor. For example, there’s the $12 Demon Burger topped with cheddar and a bacon-cherry marmalade sauce. To help wash the food down, Villains Tavern offers as many as 28 beers on tap, ranging from $4 Pabst Blue Ribbon to a Belgian triple ale called Maredsous 10 that costs up to $24 a serving, all poured into homey mason jars. Cocktails are also served in chilled jars with shaved ice, like the $9 Sno Cone Fix that’s mixed from a choice of fruit and spirits.
The cocktail menu was designed to continually entice guests. As Whitton explained, the inspiration was “to create two cocktails for every kind of palate, so anyone that walks in there will find at least two cocktails that they absolutely love.” — Subrina Hudson
1356 Palmetto Street
Hours: Monday to Wednesday, 5 p.m. to 1 a.m.; Thursday, 5 p.m. to 2 a.m.; Friday, 4 p.m. to 2 a.m.; Saturday, 3 p.m. to 2 a.m.; Sunday, 7 p.m. to 1 a.m.