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Power House Reopens As A Totally Different, Fancier Bar

Quaint booth with newspaper holders line one side (Juliet Bennett Rylah/LAist)
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It seemed like the last place to get a cheap beer in the heart of Hollywood. The new Power House quietly opened last week and officially on Monday, and we made an effort to check it out with optimism. So, it's different. It's really different. It's hard to even imagine its former dinginess or battered dart boards. The jukebox is gone, and there's no alley of smokers hanging out by the adjacent Chinese restaurant's dumpsters. The redesign by Matt Winter (Melrose Umbrella Co.) is rustic brick walls and old-timey fixtures, with a neat row of booths boasting vintage newspaper holders, and a polished bar backed by hexagonal tiles where neatly dressed bartenders muddle and shake craft cocktails. They do not even serve PBR. All that's really left of the old dive is the neon sign.

The Alley Oop (Photo by Rob Stark via Power House)
As far as being a mixology bar with a classic feel goes, the new Power House seems to nail it. The cocktails come from Damian Windsor (of Hollywood's Warwick), and the combinations are interesting with complex flavors. There are classics—flips, shandies, sours and a dry martini—and innovative twists. The bartenders will happily discuss the finer pleasures of imbibing with you while making thoughtful recommendations. Some of their suggestions include:The Continental Cup with Double Cross, cucumber, lime, Chai, and sea salt ($13) or the Alley Oop with Arette Reposado tequila, agave, lime and cucumber marshmallow ($13). They have a hearty stock of canned, bottled and draft beers, all craft and complex. Two interesting tap options are the Peanut Butter Milk Stout from Belching Beaver or Waupoos' Semi-Sweet Sparkling Cider on tap. I tried the apple soda shandy, made with a lager and apple soda made in-house. It was refreshing and not too sweet, and cost $8. My drinking companion enjoyed a Japanese beer, the Tokyo Black Porter from YoHo for $9.

As one might expect, a craft cocktail runs you at least $8, but expect to pay $13 for most. The beers all average about $7 each. There is no happy hour. There are no specials. The cheapest beer is $6—San Tan's Mr. Pineapple.

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As we talked to the bartenders about the new digs, we noticed several regulars of the old Power House stop by. Some seemed disappointed and left without ordering anything, others seemed more optimistic and willing to give it a shot.

The bar (Photo by Juliet Bennett Rylah/LAist)
When Power House first closed, we recommended that the regulars check out Whiskey Blu, a new bar that had opened on Las Palmas and Hollywood behind Rusty Mullet. They were serving $2 cans of PBR every night of the week. When we left Power House to go see what the old regulars thought of their former haunt, we found that Whiskey Blu, too, had closed. It's not the only dive bar in the area that's faded away lately either. The White Horse on Western and Hollywood was a comfy red room for neighborhood drinkers, and the bartender there was always offering you snacks in a motherly fashion—chips, crackers, cookies, sometimes hot dogs. And although it wasn't a dive, Hollywood favorite Cat & Fiddle recently announced that they were being ousted from their space in favor of a tenant willing to pay the landlords three times as much.

So, we suggest trying Power House's new look when you're feeling fancy. And for your cheap drinks, we'd suggest checking out The Well. This Hollywood bar has happy hour daily from 5 to 9 p.m. Domestics like PBR and Amstel are $3 and there are also deals on tacos and cocktails. Of course, it's more than just a price point that turns a bar into a Cheers.

Power House is located at 1714 Highland Ave. in Hollywood. Open daily from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m.

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