Which is Downtown Los Angeles’ Oldest Bar? You Decide

Sep 30, 2010 by Lindsay Pullin

Los Angeles is old–to-a-point–and there’s no debate about that. But there does seem to be a bit of controversy as to which is the oldest bar in Los Angeles.

Doling out that honor carries with it much debate, so it seems to be broken up into categories. At Bordello
this past weekend, one of the bartenders said something (barely audible over the music) about "the Bordello being the oldest bar in downtown Los Angeles".

As I was looking around, it struck me that the Bordello didn’t look that old, so with some online snooping, I later found out that the Bordello is actually the same location of Little Pedro’s, which they’re using as the basis for claiming theirs is the oldest bar in downtown LA.

Now, I don’t know why this gives them credit toward having the oldest bar, but the Bordello is certainly a fun place to hang out, and it does feel like there’s history there.

The bar is lush and decadent, with mirrors behind the bar, deep red walls, and antique furniture.

Located at 901 1st Street, the Bordello opened its doors on December 23rd 2006, and boasts the history of what was there before–the oldest bar downtown and apparently, a brothel.

In the good-natured theme of this original brothel, Bordello features burlesque shows and go-go dancers to get you in the mood. On Saturday night, in between sets, Daisy Meadows performs to her skivvies and purple tassels, much to the appreciation of those present– while two go-go dancers worked through the entire set of two bands. I have to give credit where credit’s due, those girls danced hard; and after I had to sit out a few sets, due to my aching feet, they were still going strong.

I arrived after 9pm on Saturday for Haunted House au Go-Go, to see The Finksville 5, and The Woggles.

The first band went on after 10 (maybe after 11), and were a self described "60’s dance band".

The Finksville 5 is a really great surf guitar band that was performing together for the first time, and they certainly rocked their set. Everyone was dancing and into it, and it was fun to do the mashed potato and every other goofy dance move you could think up. The audience was certainly theme appropriate, which really made the whole place a blast from the past.

During the break was when Miss Daisy Meadows performed her art of burlesque, it was not lost on this crowd. Gentlemen in suits, and ladies in knee high boots cheered for her sweet moves.

After Miss Daisy came The Woggles all dressed up in wool confederate army uniforms. Their band is 60’s rock along with surf guitar fusion.

Although their energy was fantastic, their set dragged on, and by the end they had emptied out most of the dance floor. If you had to walk a mile in my shoes, (actually high heels), a lot of my discomfort was due to me standing for so long (I’m sure some other guests agreed, because I saw some other women wearing immense high heels on Saturday night also).

Bordello boasts live music every night, from different genres, with burlesque and other performers. The bartenders are scantily clad, and this is a place you can dress up or dress down to come to.

To look at the Bordello’s picture Gallery, click here.

Before 10pm is happy hour, with $5 well drinks. Street parking is very do-able, but make sure you don’t screw up and drive over the 1st street Bridge, as it’s under construction and you definitely don’t want to be caught driving around in detour hell.

I went, I saw, I danced, I drank, and I enjoyed!

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