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Sochi spirit at West Hollywood nightclub free from Putin oppression

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Russian-themed West Hollywood nightclub Bar Lubitsch has its feet planted in two worlds. The front bar is a nostalgic revolutionary-era parade of Bolshevikian yesteryear - red leather booths, early 20th-century mirrors, dramatic carmine-red walls punctuated by Cryillic-scripted Soviet propaganda...timeless and Politburo-proud. A few goose-steps down a narrow corridor takes you to the back room, and another world...pure Perestroika-period 21st-century DJ-driven dance club - often packed tighter than a caviar tin, with a level of vibe that's Beluga-quality-high on the cool scale.

The Sochi winter games are underway and brown water flows from the host city's taps, but all seems to be right at the hammer and sickle-inspired Bar Lubitsch.

It makes sense that a Russian nightclub is thriving in West Hollywood - outside of New York, WEHO is home to the most concentrated Russian-speaking community in the country. Many West Hollywood gay bars have been protesting Russia's anti-gay laws by ceasing to serve Russian vodkas. Bar Lubitsch, one of only a few area clubs with a discernibly heterosexual clientele, maintains a virtual Kremlin Wall of Vodka bottles on display behind the bar - More than 200 varieties (with a Russian focus) from which to choose.

Signature cocktails are all $12...Moscow Mules, Cucumber Gimlets, Molotov Cocktails (with flames). Vodka is served in the obligatory close-to-frozen glasses. Bartenders are unpretentious and lovely red-garbed Tzarina waitresses are efficient and deliver no attitude. Devotees of Absinthe can take solace that Bar Lubitsch proudly pours the "green devil in a bottle." And it's served properly via the spoon-sugar-water-tempering ritual - a tradition that, I can sadly attest, is unfamiliar to most of today's self-proclaimed 'craft cocktail bartenders.'

They don't have a kitchen but you can order pizzas, pasta, and appetizers from the nearby Jones Restaurant - ask for a menu - the bar will call it in and get it delivered.

Entertainment varies, but typically you'll hear DJs spinning 80's, 90's and current tunes on the weekend - weeknights often offer live local bands and stand-up comedy.

Weekend crowds can be daunting, and after 10 pm expect the usual wait to enter. Weeknights are more comfortable for those souls who say 'nyet' to vodka-fueled dance-floors packed tighter than a one-way detention train en route to a Siberian penal camp.

“The first glass of vodka goes down like a post, the second like a falcon and the third like a little bird.” – Russian Proverb

Bar Lubitsch

7702 Santa Monica Blvd

West Hollywood, 90046

(323) 654-1234

Mon-Fri 7 pm - 2 am

Sat-Sun 8 pm - 2 am

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