Bar 107 in Downtown LA is by far the most eclectic dive bar I have ever been to. The entrance off of 4th street is completely modest and suggests that this is an average pub where white bearded men come to play billiards while listening to their favorite throw backs on the coin operated jukebox. Luckily, Bar 107 is anything BUT ordinary. I will begin with the interior decorations since these are what set this bar apart from any other. As you walk through the threshold, your eye is immediately drawn to the huge rearing stallion standing atop the bar donning knit leg warmers. After a moment of observing the stallion as if it is an art installation, your brain experiences sensory overload as you realize you are standing inside of the most bizarre treasure chest. Bar 107 is divided into two areas. The front room is set up like a typical pub with tables, booths, and bar stools lining the long wooden bar. The walls are adorned with animal heads of all different sizes (one wearing a football helmet), framed paintings of historic figures, celebrities, and religious icons, an official (and most probably stolen) “Welcome to Disneyland” sign, Jack Daniel’s tapestries, and a plastic Christmas decoration of Santa’s face, to name a few. The lax nature of this bar, unique to the uptight LA standard, is not only reflected in the wall hangings, but in the young and friendly staff as well. The bouncer greeted us as we approached the front door and after recognizing our LA Dodger gear, jokingly asked us to refrain from jumping anyone inside of his bar.
I came armed with my camera, ready to document this location as best I could. Before whipping out my trigger finger, I asked the bar tender if it was okay that I be taking pictures, to which she replied, “of course, this place is a f—ing circus”. My first subject, Babs:
The best part about photographing this place was that within each picture that I took, something new appeared that had gone unnoticed with the scan of my naked eye. For example, there are countless “No Smoking” signs inside of the bar and my favorite one is pictured below.
It was not until I reviewed this photo that I noticed both Pope John Paul II and the Virgin Mother in the background. It was like hitting the Holy Jackpot. I also had to snap a picture of the lawn gnome sitting on a swing with a squirrel running up his foot, which then revealed a vibrantly red headed doll wearing a lavish purple and white ball gown.
There are so many hidden gems in this place that even if you look under every nook and cranny, you are sure to miss something. Also, take a gander at the aged television sets scattered around the bar. I was fortunate enough to be there this past week during a showing of Jem and the Holograms.
The following arrangement contains so many iconic characters that it’s just too hard to choose a favorite. The leg lamp from A Christmas Story, a chicken wearing a Mexican wrestling mask, a leprechaun AND Mr. Peanut… I’ll have to let the viewers decide for themselves…
My one and only distraction from the mesmerizing decor: the greatest hits of the 80’s and beyond. Within the first fifteen minutes we heard/sang along to “Africa“ by Toto, “These Boots Are Made for Walking“, and “Escape (The Pina Colada Song)” by Rupert Holmes. Need I say more?
After enjoying a Guinness and taking in most of what the front room/bar area had to offer, we moseyed on back to check out the DJ’s lair. This room houses a stage for karaoke, the dance floor, a photo booth, and is complete with a disco ball and strobe lights. The photo booth is alive and kickin’ and we took full advantage of this fun feature before we checked out for the night. Bar 107 is an unparalleled spectacle (universe) that should be on everyone’s LA Bucket List.