Rich Schmutzler and Nick Leonard, co-owners of GYM Sportsbar, had a lot in common: they were both varsity athletes in college, loved to watch sports, and felt left out as sports fans in the gay community. To fix that, they founded GYM Sportsbar in New York City—a dedicated sports bar that played video and audio simultaneously. The concept caught on so quickly that they decided to open a second hub in L.A. “When we first started, I got a lot of Scooby Doo faces, like, ‘huh?’” Schmutzler told the Los Angeles Times in a 2009 article about the business. But soon, those questioning looks turned into smiles as mostly male crowds began flooding to the West Hollywood GYM. Today, they host weekday happy hours along with gatherings for recreational sports teams, alumni associations, and other local groups.
Trunks Bar has been serving LA’s gay community for 25 years, and it might just feel like it’s the ‘80s as live DJs pump out oldies and pop hits from the halcyon days of dance music. This club and sports bar mixes drinks such as the Trunks Cooler, a tropical blend of Svedka vodka, Malibu, and juice, to get the crowd ready for the nightly DJ sets. On Mondays and Tuesdays, music from the ‘70s and ‘80s echoes throughout the bar. On Thursdays, DJ Draven takes requests and guests can “Spin the Wheel” to win hot shot specials. And weekends belong to DJ Bobby Spins and DJ Carlos, who understand that a fun night entails great tunes from the days before MacBooks learned to write music criticism.
One night at a bar in Devlin, Ireland, a fight broke out, a baby was born, and that same child immediately entered into the scuffle. As the story goes, in the years that followed, this incredible boy would lose his left eye and travel to America, where he found a nation in the throes of Prohibition. So the young man took his family's whiskey recipe and started delivering the libation to people's front doors, becoming the world's most renowned bootlegger. He also found some time to invent rock 'n' roll.
These are just a few of the incredible feats attributed to Reilly, the namesake folk hero of Rock & Reilly's. While the young man's legend might be questionable, the rock pub that's plastered with his eye-patched visage has earned a very real reputation for its whiskeys and brews. Surrounded by exposed-brick walls, bartenders pour Guinness and concoct dozens of mixed drinks with names like Dead Beat Dad and Spicy Slapper—a vodka drink with watermelon, jalapeño, lime, and cranberry. The libations pair well with a lineup of pub food, including five kinds of grilled cheese.
Since the pub opened in 2011, its selection of drinks and grub have attracted the attention of numerous news outlets and celebrities; starlets including Nicole Richie and Zooey Deschanel have attended parties there.
Although it now has more than 430 locations in 28 countries, Hooters wasn’t always welcomed by the public. In fact, when it opened in October 1983 in Clearwater, Florida, the founders of the restaurant were “quickly detained for impersonating restaurateurs,” according to the company's website. But the restaurant was able to prove it was more than just a pretty face—that it was serious about serving tasty American food and frosty brews—and its popularity exploded in the decades to follow.
Amid its beach-themed vibe and flat-screen TVs, Hooters still fuels appetites with original chicken wings, burgers, sandwiches, and fresh salads. Of course, nobody carries those casual eats and icy pitchers better than the Hooters girls. To complement their friendly smiles, their uniforms harken back to the ones the original waitresses wore in 1983: orange hot shorts and white tank tops with the emblematic owl on the front—though that owl has lost its Lionel Richie perm.