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LA’s Increasingly Dangerous Underground Club Scene Still Going Strong Despite COVID-19

Plus, a quarter-million raised for laid-off workers, the powerful Re:Her movement takes shape, and an opinion piece about keeping taqueros and customers safe on the streets

An early morning sky view of a portion of Downtown Los Angeles, with buildings under construction.
A view across Downtown LA
Fashion District official

Troubling as it is, LA’s underground nightlife scene is still pushing along during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. For years, Los Angeles has tacitly embraced warehouse clubs and other underground, often illegal nightlife parties, but now LA Magazine has a story out about how the whole thing has taken a rule-flouting, ill-informed, and potentially deadly turn as COVID-19 ravages through the city and beyond.

Per LA Mag, New Years Eve parties with dozens, and sometimes hundreds, of packed-in and maskless participants were broken up across the city in recent days, while others continued on behind locked doors and passwords, unabated. And while the scene itself is nothing new, the current timing — as Los Angeles County counts itself among the deadliest places in America, and intensive care unit bed capacity disappears — means more for at-risk communities now than it ever has before.

Meanwhile down in Orange County, a Costa Mesa bar owner is the first to face criminal charges for continuing to operate despite the state-level regional shutdown order. The man, Roland Barrera, has been cited and talked to multiple times since November, says the LA Times, and a bar manager was even charged with a misdemeanor for grabbing an officer who attempted to enter the premises.

In other news:

  • L.A. Taco has a new opinion piece out, calling for local taqueros to take more COVID-19 precautions as cases continue to burn through Los Angeles. Among the recommendations: more face mask wearing, lids for pre-portioned salsas and toppings, and enforcement of social distancing.
  • Downtown LA omakase specialist Q Sushi is serving once again, offering upscale takeout boxes for two for $400.
  • Little Tokyo jazz club the Blue Whale has closed after 11 years, the venue says on Instagram.
  • Local wok cart pop-up Pigeon has landed at Bar Hermanito on Sawtelle all month long, doing weekend-only cooks from noon to 8 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
  • The folks from Slapfish have managed to raise nearly $250,000 for “struggling restaurant workers” via GoFundMe. The plan is to redistribute the cash directly to those affected; anyone looking to get in can apply directly.
  • The 10 days of Re:Her movement starts on January 21, with more than 90 women-owned restaurants across the city participating in not only the rolling food festival but charitable giving as well. Events include a pasta and pie takeout meal collaboration between Union in Pasadena and Nicole Rucker’s Fat & Flour bakery, and an All Day Baby pop-up at Lady & Larder on the Westside on Tuesday, January 26.
  • Wabi, the Venice restaurant on Rose, continues to tell its story of perseverance — not just from the pandemic, but from a fire and more over the past few years — as part of an ongoing video series on Instagram.

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