How to meet people in L.A.? Bring cake to all the bars seen in ‘Sitting in Bars With Cake’
Audrey Shulman, an avid baker who was notoriously single, brought a cake she’d baked for her best friend’s birthday to the Silver Lake bar Edendale. Then something straight out of a Hallmark rom-com happened. Her sugary dessert captivated men at the bar who, as a result, became more interested in her romantically.
The 2012 magical moment sparked a wacky but clever idea. Shulman would bake cakes for one year and take them to bars around L.A. to meet guys with the hope of finding a boyfriend. She and her best friend called it “cakebarring.”
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This is the premise of Prime Video’s film “Sitting in Bars With Cake,” which was released in early September. The film was inspired by Shulman’s blog and 2015 book of the same name. The movie stars Yara Shahidi as Audrey’s counterpart Jane, an introverted mailroom assistant and law student whose way of flirting is making jokes about convection ovens, and Odessa A’zion as Jane’s eccentric childhood best friend and roommate, Corinne.
In the film, Jane and Corinne make a handwritten list of the 50 L.A. bars they plan to visit throughout the year. Among the inventive cakes Jane will bake are a chocolate chile cake and a cherry cake infused with THC and CBD.
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Although the names of nearly all 50 bars hang on a list in Jane and Corinne’s apartment — Bigfoot Lodge, Tiki Tuesday, El Cid and Gold Diggers among them — the vast majority of these spots aren’t shown onscreen.
Nonetheless, we rounded up seven SoCal bars — and a rollerskating rink — that serve as backdrops in the movie. We identified these spots by recognizable themes or plain old signage. (One of the bars shown in the film, Pacific Seas within Clifton’s Republic, is currently closed because of a burst pipe, according to a representative.) It turns out that all of these bars allow you to bring your own cake — one way or another — if you want to kick off your own “cakebarring” adventure.
So if you’re looking to amp up your dating strategy or you’re simply interested in putting your baked goods to the ultimate test, here are the L.A. bars (and a rollerskating rink) you should hit up.
Tramp Stamp Granny’s
“We do not allow nonstaff to perform on the bar top for safety purposes,” said Alexx Oddenino, Tramp Stamp Granny’s events manager. “But you can catch our bar staff up there sometimes!”
I’m going to keep it real with you: As a resident of Los Angeles who has never taken a theater class, Tramp Stamp Granny’s is not my kind of hang. Parking is tough — it’s sandwiched between two of the most touristy boulevards in the city — and the bar generally feels like it was made for travelers with Pantages tickets and starry-eyed transplants with “La La Land” aspirations.
But that said, I’m happy that former “Glee” fanatics and locals with theater BFAs have a safe space to belt their favorite showtunes. Drinks range from classic Cosmos and martinis ($14) to house infused shots ($10) and seasonal specials that include surprises like edible glitter. The space also has plenty of mirrors, a backward neon sign (for good mirror selfies, duh), and a modest back patio for smokers. And if you’re looking to celebrate something (or find a partner), TSG’s is a place where you can indulge in your own desserts.
“Guests with table reservations are allowed to bring in cake,” Oddenino said, adding that there’s a $25 cutting fee if you don’t bring your own plates, napkins and utensils.
Los Candiles Night Club
With bright red booths and draped curtains, mirrors that face the dance floor (so you can check yourself out, of course), flashing neon lights and a massive aquarium (I didn’t spot any fish inside; maybe they were hiding), Los Candiles has a kitchsy Vegas vibe that makes for a fun night out with friends. It costs $20 to get into the club, which is open from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday. There aren’t signature cocktails here, but the well drinks are strong. During happy hour from 8 to 10 p.m., you can buy two buckets of beer for $42 and get one for free.
Coincidentally, when I arrived at Los Candiles on a recent Friday night, owner David Torres was watching “Sitting in Bars With Cake” in his office. Cake cuts are welcome here without a fee, but be sure to bring your own utensils.
Cowboy Palace Saloon
Cowboy Palace Saloon is in the far northwest end of Los Angeles, and if you get to that part of the city, you might need to park in the neighborhood and walk a couple of blocks to reach the bar’s entrance. The website reads $10 cover, but at quarter to nine on a Friday, nobody took money or checked IDs. Inside you’ll find horseshoes set in the concrete floor; walls dressed in cow horns, animal skulls and license plates lit up by neon beer signs; the bar awning made entirely of old cowboy boots; and Daisy Duke shorts and Botox around every corner. (You knew it was coming.)
But stay for more than 10 minutes and tell me that you didn’t start tappin’ yer dang foot to the country covers blasted by the band 33 Thunder. Live music plays most nights to dancers skilled from fiery to funereal, but you don’t need to boogie to catch the contagious grins of everyone spinning, clapping and stomping on the hardwood.
Lagunitas IPA is on tap for $9, and a nook right of stage flashes a food menu that includes beef sliders, mozzarella sticks, chef-recommended chicken tenders and more. The pub feed is a touch above meh and costs the same as beer. There’s a two-drink minimum, but don’t ask the bartender for her favorite shot. You could end up with an $8 Elvis, a peanut butter, whiskey, banana rum and cream concoction. Wine corking costs $20, but cake cuts are free at the saloon.
Before the night’s over, you might want to slip away from the action and take in the smoker’s bench out back. “Bro, check this out,” a biker says on a recent night, leaning over with his phone. He plays a video of one of his buddies wheelie-ing a Harley-Davidson Sportster with sparks flying off the tail. The biker’s helmet read “Flash your boobs” on one side and “Send nudes” on the other. Didn’t see that coming.
If you drive past Lowboy on a typical night, you’ll likely find a crowd of people hanging out and drinking on the front patio. The moody bar is usually packed inside as well. That’s where you can expect to take in a vibey playlist — think Frank Ocean, Drake and Earth, Wind & Fire — while a Dodgers game is on TV screens near the bar. Lowboy is the perfect spot to start or end your bar-hopping night in Echo Park. It has an extensive beer menu, along with classic cocktails including old-fashioneds ($15) and pink margaritas ($13). You can also order the Go Blue Go Jell-O shot (made with mezcal and blueberries) for $7.
Beverage director Karla Flores-Mercado is also owner of neighboring spot Bar Flores. But a true star of the show at Lowboy is its surprisingly delicious smashburger, known as the Lowburger (a juicy beef patty layered with 2,000 Island dressing, red pepper jam, American cheese and grilled onions on a buttery toasted potato bun for $9). There’s also a vegan version. Lowboy offers happy hour from 4 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.
In the film, we’re given only a quick montage of a man devouring slices of Jane’s cake while sitting in front of Bar Flores’ picturesque bar area, which is adorned with palm plants and vibrant flowers, ceramic bowls filled with citrus fruits and fragrant burning candles — all of which could easily trick you into thinking that you’re in Mexico City rather than L.A. Also, in the film, there’s also a shot of another man eating the dessert on Bar Flores’ stunning patio, which is covered by umbrellas and draped bright-colored papel picado (a traditional Mexican craft).
Whether it’s an early Monday evening or a buzzy Saturday night, the lively cocktail bar is one of those spots that you can count on to be a vibe. Usually a DJ is spinning banda, soul, funk and other dance music, and on Melody Tuesdays, there’s live music from local artists from 9 to 10 p.m. Also, margaritas are $8 on Margarita Wednesdays from 4 p.m. to midnight, and aperol spritz cocktails are $9 until 6 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
Owner Karla Flores-Mercado’s thoughtful drink menu features options such as a fruity Tequila Sundown with grapefruit and pomegranate, Clarified Coconut Punch made with cognac and the Green Lagoon (Bimini gin, kiwi and pineapple). Drinks mostly range from $14 to $16.
As for cake, you’re allowed to bring your own to the venue as long as you come with your own utensils. On a recent visit, a large group of people, all of whom were wearing sunglasses with “3-0” on the frames, had a cake to celebrate someone’s 30th birthday on the back patio, and no one seemed to mind.
The Redwood Bar & Grill
Cocktails range from a Swashbuckler — a lovely take on a French gimlet — to a classic Mai Tai and a Pirate’s Penicillin. Though the cocktails are a bit pricy relative to your average dive bar (they’re currently $13 to $18), well drinks are $8 during happy hour (4 to 7 p.m. weekdays). There’s a full food menu with burgers, tacos, appetizers and the like, but if you’re hoping to drink and B.Y.O.C. (Bring Your Own Cake), the staff is totally fine with that.
De Buena Planta
It feels so easygoing and relaxing, and it’s probably why, in the movie, Jane decides to bring her only THC- and CBD-infused cake to this restaurant and bar. (We don’t recommend that you offer strangers cake with ingredients other than butter and sugar.)
De Buena Planta’s menu includes a standard flaguita margarita, which can be served with mezcal or tequila; frozen cocktails such as the Cococolada (with mezcal, rum, coconut cream and pineapple); a beverage known as the Sugar Baby with green-pea-infused gin; and a Garden Mojito (rum, cilantro syrup, lemon thyme, mint and coconut water). Drinks here range from $15 to $17. Cocktails and wine are half off during happy hour from 4 to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Friday. The restaurant also hosts a cocktail and tarot reading night on Thursdays from 6 to 9 p.m. (Readings are $35.) If you’re hungry, De Buena Planta has shareable small plates such as delicious buenitas (crispy corn and queso fritters), tacos, and chips and salsa or guacamole.
If you want to bring a cake, it’s A-OK to do so, and there’s no fee. Just bring your own utensils.
In the movie, Jane and her friends celebrate Halloween by catching a drag performance and serving a candy corn-inspired cake at this cherished rollerskating rink in Glendale, one of L.A. County’s last indoor rinks. Unlike the other spots on this list, you can’t just show up here with a cake unless you’ve purchased a party package in advance; they start at $300.
At the well-preserved 1950s-era rink, you can expect to find people of all ages lacing up their skates before hitting the disco ball-lit wooden floor as funk anthems ring out from the speakers and rainbow lights flash throughout the space. Although you can’t purchase cocktails here, Moonlight Rollerway sells snack-bar goodies such as cheese and pepperoni pizza, corn dogs, chicken nuggets, nachos and funnel cakes. The skating rink regularly hosts themed events including a recent “Barbie” skate night and Swiftie Skate Bash in which Taylor Swift songs were played all night.
If you’re visiting Moonlight Rollerway from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m., you have to pay the admission fee ($20 before taxes) online before you arrive. Tickets tend to sell out quickly. Also, you have to buy a ticket whether or not you’re skating.
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