The Return of the Speakeasy to Venice – Townhouse Basement to Reopen

How long have you lived in Venice? Long enough to remember beyond the days of that other, more northerly, Basement bar? Long enough to be able to reminisce about the days of slinking down the stairs at the Townhouse to see girls on poles, burlesque and live music? We’re not sorry to say, your reminiscing can soon be shelved.

Rumor has it, the Townhouse has been granted the permits to reopen the bar in the basement which were revoked because of (some bullshit long-time alcohol code non-grandfathered recognizing whatever whatever) codes.

It’s easy to forget a lot about the Townhouse, including what happened after 10 pm last time you were there. But what most people have forgotten is that the Townhouse has been a part of Venice history since 1915, is one of the oldest bars in LA and, frankly, that there’s another full bar and stage down there.

(photo courtesy of chaplin.bfi.org.uk)

So enjoy it when it happens and while it lasts, kids – because this is a part of history you will want to be a part of, heaven forbid we should lose it again. Slip down the stairs that, in 1920, led to a speakeasy below the original tenant, Menotti’s Buffet. A place where Charlie Chaplin used to hang and moonshine was run in underground tunnels between the boardwalk and the speakeasy.

The basement isn’t officially scheduled to reopen for a few weeks, but you have a chance to preview it this weekend (if you keep it on the hush-hush, that is). One of WELO’s favorite KCRW hosts will be DJing and, with others, bringing you a night of “Dirty Jazz, Juke Boogie, Psychedelic Soul and Gutbucket Rhythm & Blues”. Find the details here, and look for us there. We’ll be the ones drinking the moonshine and dancing our faces off.

A few Images of the Townhouse Basement Below:(courtesy of myspace.com/townhouse)

(photo courtesy of myspace.com/townhouse)

(photo courtesy of myspace.com/townhouse)

(photo courtesy of myspace.com/townhouse)

(photo courtesy of myspace.com/townhouse)

About the author

Laura is a lover of all things Westside. As a bike commuter, she is naturally limited to finding everything you need west of Lincoln - and is perfectly happy with that. Laura can almost always be found somewhere between the Farmer's Market and Hinano/Whaler/Baja/Waterfront on any given Sunday.

10 Comments

  1. Matt Xavier says:

    HouseMates Dj’s will be stylin. B-)

  2. jamal says:

    never fuck with the mastrer

  3. jamal says:

    yeah…ah ha….you knnow what it is…….

  4. Joy says:

    Just found out about this place tonight on KCRW. Excited to see the hidden jewel that is the old skool speakeasy. I love the Townhouse! Not much can beat tall boys of PBR, even though shit’s hipster.

  5. Ashley says:

    I’ve been waiting for Venice to step up its bar selection. The Townhouse revamp is not only a pleasant surprise, it’s long overdue to honor Venice’s oldest standing bar, since 1915.

    See full review here:
    http://vspotla.wordpress.com/2011/07/24/jewel-in-the-rough-the-townhousedel-monte-speakeasy/

  6. Leon says:

    Was excited to go to the new “speakeasy” but was appalled by the fat hostess/general managers racist comments. The burlesque show should be fun not filled with vitriol. Can’t believe KCRW would associate themselves with such hatred.

  7. Mangoop says:

    Great bar, horrible staff. Want to be manhandled by piggish goons? Check out Townhouse.

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