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A scene from the show "Sitting in Bars With Cake."
(Saeed Adyani / Prime Video)

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.

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Tramp Stamp Granny's logo is displayed on a bar with liquor bottles on either side.
(Julia Carmel / Los Angeles Times)

Tramp Stamp Granny’s

Hollywood Piano Bar
The main bar that Jane and Corinne frequent in the movie is Tramp Stamp Granny’s, a Hollywood piano bar owned by actor Darren Criss and his wife, writer-producer Mia Swier. Onscreen, the bar has a thinned-out crowd and a cleared-off bar for everyone to stand on while they perform, but in real life, TSG’s is best known for hosting rowdy piano karaoke nights.

“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.
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A colorfully lighted bar with tables and chairs, a dance floor and people performing onstage.
(Kailyn Brown / Los Angeles Times)

Los Candiles Night Club

Glassell Park Bar
Perhaps one of the liveliest scenes in the movie is when Jane and her crew go to Los Candiles Night Club, where they watch a group of dancers do a striptease on a checkered LED dance floor as a woman plays a rendition of Blu Cantrell’s “Hit ‘Em Up Style (Oops!)” on an accordion. There isn’t much difference between the film and the vibe that you’ll catch at the Latin nightclub on a typical Friday or Saturday night. Los Candiles regularly features performances from male strippers and drag performers who impersonate stars such as Shakira, Ricky Martin and Selena. There’s usually a mixture of merengue, cumbia and salsa music playing at the club as well as performances from a live band, and the best part is people actually dance here. Becky G and Gabito Ballesteros recently shot a music video for their song “La Nena” at the club, which has been around since 1979.

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.
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People at Cowboy Palace Saloon, with lots of neon beer signs and license plates on the walls.
(George LeVines / Los Angeles Times)

Cowboy Palace Saloon

Chatsworth Bar
You know what’s coming at the Cowboy Palace Saloon when a man wearing a black cowboy hat, matching boots and a white tee tucked into impossibly tight jeans fills your nostrils with the waft of his cologne before you even reach the door. Get ready to dance at this self-proclaimed “last true honky-tonk.” In the film, Jane gets twirled onto the dance floor by a jean shirt- and cowboy hat-wearing man after barflies get a bite of her apple stack cake.

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.
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Lowboy, with groups of people sitting at bar tables and shelves full of books.
(Kailyn Brown / Los Angeles Times)


Echo Park Bar
When Jane and her friends arrive at Lowboy, a sleek lounge in the heart of Echo Park, a man comes up to their table and boldly asks, “Do you guys just make cakes and bring them to bars or what?” Surprised that he’d caught on to their plan, Jane laughs nervously and responds, “Who would do that?” Then she proceeds to set up her display of a perfectly tiered chocolate raspberry torte, along with paper plates and her own silverware. In reality, it’s not weird at all — and there’s no fee — to bring a cake to Lowboy as long as you bring your own utensils.

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.
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People sit on a restaurant patio at night under umbrellas and strings of papel picado.
(Kailyn Brown / Los Angeles Times)

Bar Flores

Echo Park Bar
If you’ve ever gone bar-hopping in Echo Park, then you know it makes sense to go to Bar Flores after hitting up Lowboy (or vice versa) because they are literally neighbors. Bar Flores sits on top of Lowboy, but to get there, you have to walk outside of Lowboy, turn to your left, then walk up a flight of tiled stairs.

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.
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Inside the Redwood Bar and Grill with people at a bar.
(Julia Carmel / Los Angeles Times)

The Redwood Bar & Grill

Downtown L.A. Dive Bar
Just down the block from the incredibly recognizable 2nd Street Tunnel, there’s a lone pirate-themed dive bar that beckons people inside with a glowing red sign. In the film, viewers only see the inside of the Redwood Bar & Grill, which is covered in ship-wheel chandeliers, rope ladders and nautical art. But this is where Jane hands out slices of spiced rum cake and flirts with an eye-patch-wearing bartender. In reality, the bartenders probably won’t be wearing eye patches, and most of the attention will be on whatever bands are performing on the stage in the back.

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.
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De Buena Planta's bar area under numerous hanging woven-straw lights
(Kailyn Brown / Los Angeles Times)

De Buena Planta

Silver Lake Bar
As you sit inside De Buena Planta, a spacious bar filled with tropical plants, tiki umbrellas, vibrant patio furniture and a cozy fireplace, bartenders wearing Hawaiian shirts make drinks as a DJ spins groovy house music. You might feel as if you’re at a tropical island resort, not on Sunset Boulevard in Silver Lake. (The plant-based Mexican restaurant and bar has another location in Venice.)

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.
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A view of people skating at Moonlight Rollerway.
(Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)

Moonlight Rollerway

Glendale Roller Skating Rink
First thing you should know is that Moonlight Rollerway isn’t a bar like the other spots on this list, but in terms of Hollywood, it’s a prized location. (Dozens of movies and TV shows shoot here for the ambiance.)

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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