8Eightyeight Cigar Merchants serves delectable libations and cultivates cigar-chomping camaraderie within a private facility that fuses elements of a cigar lounge, pool hall, and sports bar. The club's massive walk-in humidor houses brand-name cigars for members to puff away on while monitoring news and sports such as pay-per-view UFC fights on a cluster of flat-screen TVs arranged in front of comfy leather chairs or while shooting pool within the white-brick billiards room. In addition to members-only cigar and alcohol tastings, 8Eightyeight Cigar Merchants hosts a plentitude of private fundraisers, corporate events, and parties for Groucho Marx enthusiasts.
It all began with a young wanderer named Ernest Gantt. Inspired by the culture of the South Pacific, where he sometimes worked on film sets, he opened a small watering hole just off Hollywood Boulevard in the mid-1930s. He decorated it with old fishing nets and trinkets he’d picked up during his travels to the South Pacific and created a menu of exotic rum drinks, which he etched onto a board hanging behind the thatched tiki bar. Back then, drinks cost a quarter, or five wooden nickels.
Today, Don The Beachcomber still serves some of Ernest’s original rum cocktails—including his signature mai tai—in a tiki lounge inspired by that 1930s watering hole. A few things have changed over the years, however; the joint now serves a full menu of Hawaiian specialties such as ahi-tuna tacos and Kalua pulled pork piled on sweet a hawaiian bun. On Friday nights, live musicians perform Hawaiian tunes next to an indoor waterfall.
The well-regarded executive chef at Zimzala, Vincent Muraco, worked with menu expert and cookbook author Joyce Goldstein to develop a creative menu of Mediterranean cuisine with a California tinge. They researched the 22 countries of the region, incorporating the flavors of Spain, Greece, Italy, Northern Africa, the Middle East, Alabama, and more into a collection of healthful, exotic delights built from fresh, top-quality ingredients.
Effortlessly blending upscale good times and a MMA-centric sports bar environment, Ringside Lounge maintains a classy environment equally suited to a delicious meal or to cheering on fights. Low lighting, red leather seating, and a menu of borderline gourmet American fusion cuisine such as the grilled strawberry lime burger lend themselves well to fine dining and quiet drinks. The bar also boasts a massive 100" projector which they use to great effect on fight nights, as well as eight flatscreen TVs which line the bar to broadcast big games and commercials loaded with subliminal messages.
From falafel sandwiches and housemade hummus to chicken kebabs smothered in garlic sauce, Mirage Grill and Hookah Lounge treats palates to a full spectrum of classic Mediterranean flavors. But even the generous food menu—complete with daily-squeezed juices and fruit smoothies—pales in comparison to Mirage's massive hookah selection. After fastening hookahs with regular or clay heads, guests can sample more than 100 flavors of shisha, including cactus fruit, absinthe, and blueberry muffin. Mirage even stocks more than 35 e-juice flavors, such as watermelon mist and caramel apple. There's lots of time to try everything—Mirage stays open until at least 2 a.m., and live DJs and musicians are always on hand to lure guests to the dance floor.
At Kitsch Bar, "Happy Hour" is both a daily occurence and a multivalent term. Some nights, it means special discounts for industry workers; on Phresh Wednesdays, it means cocktails crafted with fresh-squeezed fruits and veggies. Outside of Happy Hour, the bar is equally festive, with DJs spinning on weekends, and regular bartending classes for anyone who have always wanted to climb onto the other side of the bar gracefully.