It was only a matter of time before I was going to write another bar review, and I have to say that I’m quite excited to share this one (for the record, I realize these numerous bar reviews make me look like an alcoholic. I would just like to assure you I have no such problems. My addictions lie in shopping and collecting fox paraphernalia).
Located on 108 W 2nd St., Los Angeles, CA 90012, tucked between an alley and hidden underground, is The Edison.
In downtown Los Angeles, you really can’t judge a venue by it’s exterior. Downtown is old and historic. Because it is so, the streets are chaotic and pockets of downtown are outright dangerous. As soon as my S.O. and I rolled onto W. 2nd street from the 10 freeway, we locked the doors and raised the windows Griswald style. You really have to be careful in downtown at night.
But for all its grittiness, downtown has a magical charm to it if you know where to look. The Edison is an example of that charm. Behold the humble, if a little sketchy, exterior:
It doesn’t look like the kind of place you’d want to hang around at odd hours, but trust me when I say the lines get crazy long around 10:00 PM. Someone on Yelp! mentioned it’s like Disneyland, and I’d have to agree with that assessment. So with that amount of people around, the area is pretty safe.
Upon getting past the bouncer and entering the double doors, a hostess – clad in flapper attire- will greet you and ask if you have any reservations. I should mention that there’s no cover charge to get into the Edison. However, if you want good seats without having to fight for stools at the bar, you can make reservations. Here’s the rub: for a reservation, you have to be willing to shell out at least $25.00 per person at your area, and spend a minimum $50.00. You can’t get reservations otherwise.
Anyhow, once you get past the hostess, you descend two flights of stairs that look like this (please note this is a daytime shot, so the lights are off and the environment is brighter than it should be):
As you walk down the steps, you are welcomed with the sight of the main bar.
Here is the same bar at ground level:
Since The Edison’s venue space is quite large, there are actually two common areas, two bars, five “private” rooms, and a stage. The first common area is by the main bar and is called “The Well.” I believe it is named so since it’s close to the stairwell (correct me if I’m wrong). Like the private rooms, you have to have a reservation to make use of these seats.
The second bar is a standing bar flushed against the wall on the other side of The Edison and it is located in the second common area called “The Lab.” Here it is below:
As you can see, the theme is very turn of the century and steampunk. I personally am in love with the architectural design and lighting. Nerd Alert: For those of you who have played BioShock, you might feel like you are walking right into one of the game levels in Rapture. It’s pretty sweet.
I believe this photo is from “The Lab.” I could be wrong, but the furniture doesn’t look like the kind that’s present in the other rooms.
The stage is in the same area. Unfortunately, I went on a night when there weren’t any special events or a big show happening. There was a vintage peek-show kind of thing, but I didn’t hang around long enough to find out if there was anything else. Apparently, on particular nights, The Edison has entertainment like this:
From these pictures alone, I know I want to go back to watch at least one of these shows. I’m not sure if they happen often or not, but that’s what visiting the website for looking up special events is for.
As I mentioned before, there are five private rooms. They include, in no particular order: The Tesla Lounge, The Ember Parlour, The Game Room, The Music Room, and the Generator Lounge. I couldn’t find pictures for every room, so here is a collection of what I could find online including the washroom:
Lots of pictures, I know, but the ambience and atmosphere are truly The Edison’s strongest points. In addition to burlesque acts, The Edison also plays silent films on two projectors near the bars, and offers absinthe, which may be purchased either at the bars or by the magical Green Fairy.
Many guests love the flapper theme that the employees wear, and they follow that theme accordingly.
Aw, aren’t they cute and pretty?
As for the guys, they come in suits, top hats, steampunk goggles, and, oddly enough, Han Solo attire. The Edison attracts a very particular crowd, which seems to consist of, well, nerds and artists. Being a nerd (and hopefully an artist of some kind), I like the crowd, but it’s not for everyone. Generally speaking, the place draws in people ages 25 and up.
Drinks, food, and pricing. From what I’ve tasted the drinks are quite good. I didn’t order any special cocktails as I already had a well drink and I’m a terrible lightweight. I therefore can’t say how unique their house mixtures are. I did, however, try some absinthe. Absinthe tastes like black licorice, so if that flavor isn’t your cup of tea, you might want to pass. I personally liked it as it had the taste of black licorice without the gummy texture of the actual candy. As for the food, the food certainly smells and looks good, but I only ordered from the appetizer menu. I had a Bavarian Pretzel that came with gourmet mustard and cheese. It was very expensive for a pretzel, as you might surmise, but it was also the most delicious pretzel I’ve had. Next time, I’ll try their famous deviled eggs.
This, of course, leads us to pricing. The Edison is expensive, but not painfully so. In fact, the price range itself is just a little higher than the norm. What’s truly expensive is the seating. If you’re lucky enough to get a seat at the main bar (which won’t happen if you arrive after 9:30PM), you will feel somewhat obligated to buy more drinks or food as everyone else who doesn’t have reservations stands around. If you find yourself without a stool, be prepared to stand most of the night if you intend on hanging around late. If you want a private seat, you have to speak with the hostesses, and they will open an available “reserved” seat for you provided that you have at least one guest and you spend at least $25.00 each. If each of you buy two drinks, say a cocktail and absinthe, then you’ve already met the requirement. The wait and bar service is okay, but because there are so many people that come here, it will take a while to get the bartender’s attention.
There is nearby public parking less than a block away. If memory serves, the public parking grounds charge $5.00 flat at night. If the lot is full, you can take your car to The Edison’s valet. I don’t quite remember the price. I think it was $10.00.
Overall, The Edison is a fun and creative place to visit, but as I’ve mentioned, the crowd isn’t for everyone. I can imagine people who are more into the traditional club scene feeling bored here as the music is mostly jazz instead of techno, pop or hiphop. Also, I’m not sure if this is the kind of scene where you can pick up digits. It feels more like a place to be with friends who have mutual interests.
Scale: OMG I CAN DIE NOW -> Pretty Awesome -> Good -> Okay -> Yikes! -> RUNAWAY!
AMBIANCE: OMG I CAN DIE NOW
WAIT TIME: Yikes!
Disclaimer: None of the pictures above are mine. As usual, I took them from Google images and Yelp!