Darkroom Perfects the Neighborhod Bar
By Josh Richman and Hartwell
Having been the auteurs of more than our fair share of the most successful nightly promotions in Los Angeles for the last 15 years, we’ve always been asked, “When are you going to open your own place?” Last year we decided to seize the opportunity to invest in something that would complement the events, promotions and marketing for which The Alliance is renowned. We were allured by the idea of doing something that was the antithesis of what we are known for, and the result is the Darkroom—a no-pretense neighborhood bar with a great jukebox. No velvet rope, no bottle service—just bring your ID and soak up the atmosphere. Getting a liquor license on Melrose has always been next to impossible, but it’s such a great neighborhood, so we—along with our main partner/operator Jeffrey Best—felt this was too good a prospect to pass up. To most guys, having their own “home base” bar might be a dream come true, but this scenario just seemed a natural progression for us. Certainly we are very proud of it, sometimes too proud, as we are overanalytical about even the most minute details.
Being in the position to decide on every detail and pay attention to even the smallest minutia was a challenge, not only in creating something from a blank, raw canvas but also—when you’re financially committed—everything takes on a different meaning. And we quickly found that a group of successful people creating a new business together does not always make for constant harmony and compatible opinions. Nothing special comes easily. We literally opened the bar with no “official” name for what seemed like forever. We all agreed that we (The Alliance) couldn’t promote any nights there, as making it a “hot spot” of the moment surely wouldn’t impart the longevity and local commitment we recognize as the keys to the Darkroom’s success. One of the more interesting things for us was the reality that a place we are responsible for is open every night, and most of those nights we are working somewhere else.
Truth is, it’s been great to have an alternative to loud, crowded nightclubs and lounges to send the people who constantly look to us for a place to libate and recreate. On just about any given night, we might chance by and watch a game and play some Soundgarden on the juke. It’s almost as if we have to turn off our “work” impulses when we hang out in our own place. It’s not rocket science—we just have to enjoy it in the same manner we hope others will. In the end, we’re pleased the neighborhood has gravitated to the Darkroom naturally and that it’s become a staple for its loyal following. 7302 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, 323-931-3800
LAC celebrates the women of its May/June 2013 issue at Palihouse in West Hollywood.