Enter through the loading dock off Ardmore then walk through an employee entrance. From there, you're directed down a grey, glossy-walled hallway past the hotel kitchens and ice machines. The end of your destination is what was originally designed as the hotel employee break room, now transformed into L.A.'s newest '80s bar.
Like most Houston Hospitality properties, there is an element of surprise to the entrance. We won't ruin it for you.
Once inside, you're in an underground New York dance club from the '80s. There are old stacked TVs playing "Garfield," "The Ghostbusters" and "Rainbow Brite" highlighting the dance floor, a DJ booth with a special area for friends — and a wall completely covered in tapes.
Houston Hospitality Beverage Director Joe Swifka created a cocktail menu inspired by his childhood. The "Rock-It Pop," named after the old Herbie Hancock song, is made to look like a red, white and blue Turbo Rocket popsicle. There's a bottom red layer of raspberry black tea syrup, a middle layer of lemon juice and vodka, and blue Curacao on top.
The Dr.J! cocktail was named after basketball player Julius Erving, and is also an homage to Swifka's love of Orange Julius. His tiki version of the mall favorite incorporates lime, orange and pineapple juice, vanilla liqueur, overproof rum, Irish whiskey and a dash of bitters.
"Each drink is loosely based on a fruit, with lemon, cherry, etc., then they get the modern craft cocktail treatment to make them more palatable for adults," said Swifka. "The drinks are simple and straight-forward but with enough complexity to mix it up."
Behind the bar, the shelves are on hydraulics, which makes it easy to move them up or down, and flush with the floor to create a stage area. On some nights, you may find break dancers performing.