Sunday, September 14, 2008

1881

The sign pointing you to the 1881 Club on Washington Blvd. is a classic old beauty. The club itself, however, looks like the kind of night spot I wouldn't enter on my own.

So although I can't review it I googled some links for you:
Yelp reviews.
A review from ClubPlanet.com.
And here's a rave from SleazyBars.com.

So my guess was right, but it's all relative.

I'm not saying I've never been in a sleazy bar. I'm saying...well, I'm not saying. I'm sure the owners of the 1881 Club would understand. One doesn't get to be a classic old beauty without some wear and tear.

38 comments:

JM said...

I like that sign! It has a 50s look. I wonder what the colours are when it's turned on at night...

Bernie K. said...

Shades of John Hiatt:

"Now, do I really have to be responsible
For what I did between those tavern walls?
I was just mixing up some chemicals …
You coulda heard a pin drop—
You coulda heard time crawl …"

(shiver)

altadenahiker said...

wonder how long it took them to come up with that name?

Vanda said...

Great sign! LA has a bunch of cool old signs. I don't remember seeing many in the midwest.

Barbara Rahal said...

mm yes at night it must be such a cool thing to photograph!?? do they light it up?

Katie said...

Oooh I love old signage like this! I was surprised how many old signs there are in LA. Lots in the Bay Area too. I don't think I'd hang out here, but I'd go just to look at the sign!

Laurie said...

Petrea, this is a cool shot! I used to go to dive bars like this back in my 20s with my decidedly unhipster friends. Those were the days of those awful places like the China Club -- remember? Back then, Bukowski-inspired bars were definitely a preferable spot to grab a beer and play the jukebox and wax existential. (One favorite back then was the Continental Club on Sunset.) Then, I remember all the dive bars becaming hip themselves and you'd see famous young actors bellying up next to the old barfly types.

I can't imagine going into any bar like this now! Actually, I really can't imagine going into any bar at all. (Sigh. I'm old.)

pasadenaadjacent.com said...

I'll go! do they offer the early bird special?

pasadenaadjacent.com said...

Emi Loo, Atomic Cafe, Galleria by the Water, 7th Grade, Al's Bar, Anti-Club. Ah, sweet youth (I remember Laurie)

Ted Thompson said...

It looks old, but not *that* old.

Oh wait... ^_^

USelaine said...

Little lambsey divey?

I confess, I missed the dive bar phase. The people I hung out with in my twenties tended toward the new wave dance clubs/bars with lightshow dance floors. I shall always regret my twenties occurring in the eighties. What a waste of youth. Ugly fashion, forgettable music, conspicuous consumption, hilarious hair. A gay guy friend did take me to a notorious bar that looked like a dive on the outside in daylight, but was a huge men's dance club at night - Bojangles. Then there was the punk rock band, Tales of Terror, that performed in an industrial gargage, whose bass player I knew, so I could witness the scene from the relative safety up on the side of the stage.

I'm sorry. What were we talking about? Oh. I'm still afraid of dive bars.

Benjamin Madison said...

One review says it's the oldest continuously operating bar in the neighborhood...since 1881? What does the 1881 stand for? Is it the address? Anyway, it's ladies' night tonight after 6pm and you get half price beer and/or wine and a probably a full helping for free of "cheesy dorkiness" (that's a quote from one reviewer).

Nice capture - the sign and the skewed spotlight. I wonder if the tan paint on the signs was originally a nice bright red or if it was always that faded adobe color.

ben wideman said...

Awesome picture. It may need to be featured in a Pasadena neon post some day.

marley said...

Cool sign. I think we've all experienced a bar thats a bit dodgey!

Petrea said...

Not sure, JM, but I think I'll go back at night and see what I can find out.

Bernie, you coulda felt your skin crawl...

Altadenahiker, it's the address on Washington. Or maybe the year the club opened.

Vanda, you have to get to the small towns along the Midwestern two-lane highways to find them. They're out there.

Barbara, I've gotta go back. I'm not sure, but the spotlight tells me they're lighting something.

There are more in town, Katie. I've got a few on my agenda.

Laurie, mine's the same story except I was in Chicago in my 20s. I can't imagine going to a bar now, at least not a dive. But they served my purposes for a time.

PA, they have ladies' nights if you don't mind cheesy dorkiness (see Benjamin Madison's comment).

How old do you want it to be, Ted?

USElaine, you didn't miss anything.

Address. I should have put that in the copy, Benjamin.

Ben W, I don't know if it lights up but I'll check it out.

Dodgey. Good word, Marley.

altadenahiker said...

I had checked into one of your links. It's the address.

Bar Observer said...

I was with a few girlfriends Fryday at Lucky Baldwins Pub in Sierra Madre. It was packed in/out! The main reason you won't see me as a regular barpatron is the $5+ a glass fee & my luv of the cup 'o joe.

Otherwise, visit your loco bar when you need a little time to get away from the hubby & kids. Make a new friend. Let your true trash-talking self free again. Imagine you're bak in the 60's.

btw, tea drinkers, especially, will welcome the more budget friendly pricing.

elizabeth said...

I'm young enough to still enjoy a bar (or dive bar!) but am old enough to have squeaked in to see the Dickies at Al's Bar before it closed.

I haven't been to the 1881 yet, though!

Christie said...

I've never been to a bar, so I wouldn't know if it was a dive from anything else, but I do know that I would probably have a better night at home with a few friends.

Hope you all have a great week!

Miss Havisham said...

I feel dirty.

Bar Observer said...

Christine, who knows what the original definition of a dive bar was.
My best working def of a db would be: a bar where you see bunch of drinkers who remind you of some of your fellow blogers here.

At that point you need to make a decision....

Bernie K. said...

Havisham, please stay on topic …

Petrea said...

Christie, you'd know a dive, even if you've never been to a bar. Just look at Miss Havisham's comment that follows yours.

Susan C said...

I guess it's time for me to dive in here.

I came of age during the height of the single bar. A former LA gal I met in Columbus warned me that I would be asked two things: "What's your sign?" and "Do you get high?" I laughed out loud the first time someone asked me my sign.

I wonder if I could get a perfect Maker's Mark Manhattan at the 1881.

Kris said...

C’mon, slow dancing to The Eagles’ Desperado on the jukebox with an out for work dry wall contractor named Karl who loves his momma just a little too much? It sounds like heaven.

USelaine said...

Bernie made me knock my wineglass over. Quit it!

Miss H, there's a sandwich and smoothies cafe in Willits that, only in my mind, is called Slow and Dirty.

Anonymous said...

ginab: I'm with you, Kris (from a classic old beauty)!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Bernie K. said...

"You're burning with your last desire
And every memory haunts you
You write it down in alcohol fire
'Cause that's the only thing that wants you …

"And every once in a while
You could hear your own heart pound
Maybe some paper doll with a pasted-on smile
Would let you write her number down …"

(JH)

Virginia said...

Great old sign and I don't blame you for admiring from afar.

Petrea said...

Virginia, you crack me up.

Miss Havisham said...

Yes, I am still on a Hendrix bender from the Purple Haze post. I will never get anything done.

On topic: I feel dirty. I've been to the 1881. I went there with the bride and the Maid of Honor just before the wedding. It was a Caltechian avocado tree extravaganza in Sierra Madre. The bride wore a vintage chiffon dress with butterflies all over.

We sat there in the hot stench of cigarettes, beer, and dirty leafy green. The bartender wore a tube top.

Bernie K. said...

Was he at least cute?

Miss Havisham said...

It's hard to say.. chest hair and tube tops. I don't know.

Bernie K. said...

Hmm—lemme check. (ducks into bathroom) Yeah, looks like you're right.

Petrea said...

Eeuw.

mayra.taphoto said...

Its more of a "Locals" bar.. everybody knows everybody.. my friend lives around the area and brought me there.. the ppl seem nice.. few young ppl.. mostly older crowd. or few of those that dont like the crowded hip bars in colorado will b in this bar. despite its rugged look, this is not such a bad place to go.

Petrea said...

Thanks for that, Mayra. I hadn't talked to anyone who'd been there so it's nice to get a personal report.