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A Classic 1940s Cocktail and Live Music Den Is Being Resurrected in Downtown

The Rhythm Room returns soon after a 45-year absence

The old Hotel Hayward in Downtown
Farley Elliott is the Senior Editor at Eater LA and the author of Los Angeles Street Food: A History From Tamaleros to Taco Trucks. He covers restaurants in every form, from breaking news to the culture, people, and history that surrounds LA's dining landscape.

Los Angeles is often short on nostalgia — sometimes a little too short — when it comes to buildings and, in particular, restaurants. We have a strong and varied history of great dining in this city, but often places like the once-popular Rhythm Room all too often get swept under the rug. Not anymore.

In a story by LA Magazine, new owners Cindy La and Vincent Vongkavivathanakul say they plan on resurrecting Downtown’s old WWII-era cocktail bar at its original location on the corner of 6th and Spring, in the basement of the Hotel Hayward. The place has been mostly left behind in the ongoing conversation about dining in Los Angeles, but does come with its own dedicated history as a thirty-year den for local drinkers and out-of-towners alike. Now La and Vongkavivathanakul say they’re reviving the place wholesale, from the marble staircase to the dance floor on down.

Part of the issue with the shutter of the Rhythm Room, says LA Mag, had to do with the Hayward Hotel itself. The building, once a shining architectural example in Downtown, fell into dereliction in the early 1970s and was ultimately boarded up before reopening as a single room occupancy hotel. More recently, developer Izek Shomof has been renovating the massive corner structure, which for its era was one of the first true high-rises built in Downtown Los Angeles

Now, with so much happening in Downtown, the time seems right for the return of the Rhythm Room. Not only is there life at the upcoming bar The Wolves not far away, but nearby speakeasy-style basement bars are having their own moment — just ask Birds & Bees, also in Downtown.

According to the story, Rhythm Room should reopen by June if all goes according to plan. You can actually follow along with the place’s progress in real time via Instagram.

Rhythm Room
206 W. 6th St.
Los Angeles, CA