With the exception of the occasional jaunt to Blowfish for sushi in a future Tokyo pop anime setting, I very rarely go to that section of Sunset Blvd. in West Hollywood.
You know. That section. It was our Thursday night, Friday night, Saturday night destination, early arrival by 9 pm to secure ridiculously expensive parking, strutting down the boulevard on the north side like a flock of pigeons to Billboard Live (remember when it was Billboard Live?!?!), making an appearance, then twirling off to the next jungle. We made the rounds. Roxy. The Whisky. Miyagi's. Bar Marmont. Dublin's (R.I.P.). Barfly (R.I.P.). It was ridiculous. By the end of the night, we were barefeet swinging our skyhigh stilettos from our fingers, hanging on the arms of boys, wobbling our way to Mel's to sober up on tuna melts and waffles. Everyone has the same history of "doing the Sunset thing."
It got really old, really fast.
(Of course, I think I actually made my way to Mel's just last year.)
However, as I've said, there are occasions that I do go back to the area for an evening out. We stopped in at Red Rock for a cocktail before going to support a friend's band at the Viper Room. I didn't think so either, but yes, people do still play at the Viper Room. :)
Supposedly, Red Rock has an anti-Sunset vibe because there is no big burly doorman clad in all-black and sunglasses-at-night with a curly wire connecting his ear to a radio as if he stepped right out of The Matrix, no velvet rope, and no lines. The patio looks lovely enough, with lounging patrons enjoying the weather, watching the scene on the street, and preening because they know they're being watched, too. That's not "Sunset," that's just human nature, and exists even at the purest of Church picnics. It was refreshing to sashay right through the front door, sidle up to the bar, and order cocktails without any sort of hassle.
I had a Citron/soda.
However, Red Rock feels as if they have taken "anti-Sunset" a little too far on the surface to the point that it felt like a dive on purpose. As if they were trying to make a point.
Once inside, Red Rock feels like it needs a solid spray-down with a fire hose on the strongest setting. It's dark and grungy, floors feel sticky, the walls look like they've been shellacked with last night's sweat. As much as Red Rock is anti-Sunset, it hasn’t really rid itself of pretense from the inside. If you sit at the bar there long enough and just watch, you will see that attitude does infiltrate and lingers as faint undertone of pretense. Premium vodkas (the first time I saw Effen Vodka, it made me laugh) line the shelves and cocktails are rather expensive, even without naming a vodka. If I'm sitting in what feels like a neighborhood dive, I'd like to pay neighborhood dive prices for drinks. There were beautiful people there, and they knew it. Attitude in jeans, t-shirts, and sunglasses indoors at night is the same as it is in designer mini-dresses, trendy ankle booties, and sunglasses indoors at night.
We stayed at Red Rock only long enough to finish one cocktail before we headed across the street to the Viper Room. Though Red Rock is a decent enough bar, and it's nice that it tries to avoid the hype of Sunset, it's not quite my style.
If I go as far as Sunset, I guess I'd actually prefer the Sunset-ness, and if I really wanted to go to a neighborhood dive that goes undercoverlover as a "scene," I've got plenty of those close enough on the Westside that I don'thave to worry about sobriety checkpoints. :)
Red Rock Bar & Eatery
8782 W Sunset Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90069
** a year ago today, there were 12 angry men in 5 days, 4 RiFWoLs, and I was 1 naughty girl **