Photos: Mattachine Is The Gay Craft Cocktail Bar You've Been Waiting For
When it comes to gay bars in L.A., we've got plenty of options. But as much we love a good dive bar or dance club, the gay craft cocktail bar has been elusive. Where's our Thirsty Crow?
Enter Bar Mattachine. Located at 7th Street and Broadway, Mattachine opens today and joins Precinct and Redline as new gay options in downtown.
Mattachine sets itself apart from the pack with its mixology cocktails, created by co-owner Garrett McKechnie. The bar name pays tribute to the Mattachine Society, a pre-Stonewall gay activist group in Los Angeles founded by Harry Hay. Nearby Pershing Square was historically a hub for gay cruising.
The bar features nine signature cocktails, plus a couple of frozen drinks, classics, wine, and bottled and canned beer. We may have tried one or four of those signature cocktails at a pre-opening party and can tell you McKechnie and co. pour 'em stiff.
There’s the Harry Hay, a kind of twist on the Old Fashioned with nice kick from the Dolin Rouge vermouth. There’s also the sweet ‘n’ foamy Stawberry Banke Fizz and the mild but potent Pershing Square Fix, a citrus and vodka drink with homemade curacao and crushed raspberries. And we could probably have drunk our weight in The Hartwood, which pairs sweet pineapple juice, sugar, lime and bitters with a savory dose of mezcal.
McKechnie, the former head bartender at 1886 and Cole’s, co-owns the bar with Vianey Vee Delgadillo and Jigger Mercado of Bar 107, The Down and Out and The Little Easy, as the L.A. Times points out. McKechnie said Delgadillo told him about the space while the two were at CrossFit and suggested they partner up and open a gay bar there. McKechnie decided he could marry his more recent craft cocktail experience with his years of work at New York gay dives.
“I had to ask the question, ‘why a gay bar? Why now?’” McKechnie said. “You know what? I kind of want to go to a fucking gay bar once in a while. I think we as a culture kind of got to a point where we can go anywhere, but sometimes you want to go to a gay bar and be around [gay] people.”
In the bar’s first level, cute, beardy bartenders sling drinks while upstairs there’s a small dancefloor (on this particular night, the DJ spun dance remixes of The Smiths and Pet Shop Boys) and a mini second bar serves a couple of those frozen drinks you end up regretting the next day. Décor-wise, you’ll see smart wood paneling, a mural by McKechnie partner, Andrew Campbell, and original industrial fixtures made by Campbell’s sister, Charlie. And while you won’t find gay porn playing on loop like you will at the Eagle or Faultline, an artist’s photo framed upstairs prominently features an erect penis.
McKechnie plans to hold drag shows at Mattachine and has a nice mix of Eastside and WeHo personalities slated to DJ the coming nights. Tonight, Mattachine’s opening party is hosted by Jackie Beat with Billy Francesca and DJ Aaron Elvis.
Bar Mattachine is located at 221 West Seventh Street in Downtown.