As of last Thursday, September 29, Los Angeles bar group Pouring With Heart (Golden Gopher, The Normandie Club) has given new life to the 1947-born Power House Bar, which had remained shuttered for more than two years at Hollywood and Highland. The idea is simple: to bring back the local dive bar and do it well.
Director of Operations Brian Lenzo and general manager Curtis Woods (of Las Perlas in West Hollywood and Seven Grand in San Diego) oversaw the project, and both are adamant that there are drinkers out there who want the no-frills, community pub. “We’re bringing that back, and we’re bringing it hard,” Lenzo says.
This bar has been around since the mid-twentieth century, though numerous owners and aesthetics have rotated through. The affordable beer program Power House is known for is still intact, with a selection of domestic cans and bottles, as well as crushable brews on tap. Vintage cocktails like gimlets, mules, and sazeracs are all available, too; there are no fancy signature libations here. Curtis feels that, indeed, there are so many juice-forward or craft cocktail bars out there — he thinks those spots are too concerned with innovation and less about what people want to drink.
“That’s not what this bar is about,” Woods says. “Like Lenzo said, this is a bar you want to go to on a regular basis. That’s what so many people have missed during the last few years.”
This is a community bar through and through; in addition to no large televisions, there are no pool tables and no jukebox. When it comes to the team and their approach, Woods says he didn’t hire for names or resumes but looked for people with real personalities, someone you’d want to sit at the bar with and catch up with. “We’re a classic neighborhood bar,” Lenzo says. “A lot of the time people expect glitz and glamour, but Power House is an iconic, original bar in Hollywood. We’re bringing that nostalgia back in. No big TVs and fancy shit.”
The design of the somewhat gritty space is more or less the same as before; the Pouring With Heart group wanted to keep the bar looking much the same as it did when The Beatles and Charles Bukowski traveled through decades ago. The only significant change is the addition of a back patio, which, to be fair, both Lenzo and Curtis are excited about.
Prices are a throwback, too. Bar-goers can look forward to a daily happy hour from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., featuring $3 Pabst and $2 off well drinks. There could be further events or programming down the road, but that’s not the immediate intention. “We’re just here to make sure you feel welcome,” Woods says.
Power House Bar is open at 1714 N. Highland Avenue daily from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m.