When the Let’s Go! Disco and Cocktail Club opens next to stylish pizza restaurant De La Nonna in the Arts District on December 13, guests can expect to walk through a portal of sorts to the Italian disco clubs of the ’70s and ’80s. It’s the second chapter for De La Nonna, a popular square pizza pop-up that went permanent in November 2021 in the space that previously housed In Sheep’s Clothing at 710 East 4th Place.
The De La Nonna complex comes from a trio of food and beverage industry veterans: Jose L. Cordon, previously the bar manager of Felix Trattoria; Lee Zaremba, formerly the bar director for Chicago’s Boka Restaurant Group (including Girl & the Goat); and Patrick Costa, previously the executive chef of the Hart and the Hunter. The restaurant is known for its mini pan pizzas, raw bar, and Italian-style cocktails.
In Sheep’s Clothing was a Japanese-style hi-fi bar that paired vinyl records with cocktails, and there is a common thread between Let’s Go and its predecessor. “It’s still a hi-fi bar,” says Cordon. “We wanted to pay homage to the space and we’re still very much about sound and music. We have a similar sound system, but honestly, it’s a bit beefier.”
Cordon and Zaremba have been DJing for years, building up a list of music industry contacts along the way. On weekends, guests can expect disco sets from KCRW-FM DJ Jeremy Sole, Melody wine bar co-owner Eric Tucker, and folks from labels like Pleasure of Love and CQQL Records. There will be room for dancing, but also for sitting and enjoying the music. During the weekdays, the vibe will shift to a more relaxed cocktail club environment for sipping drinks and listening to tunes.
When the team dreamt up the idea of Let’s Go, they imagined what it would be like to live in a town on the southern coast of Italy. “If you had dinner in this little town, you’d probably walk down the street and run into a discoteca in a space that’s a dancier cocktail club,” says Cordon. “And with De La Nonna already feeling kind of ’70s, it just really made sense to us to push that forward.”
Heather Tierney (the Butcher’s Daughter, Wanderlust Design) designed De La Nonna to have elements of a grandmother’s dining room. There are wicker chairs, vibrant colors, leaf-patterned booths, and greenery throughout the restaurant space. When guests walk up to the entrance of the building, it leads to a staircase: De La Nonna is to the left, and Let’s Go bar is to the right. “You walk through the space along a multicolored glass brick wall that reflects light from the bar,” says Zaremba, adding that guests will also be able to hear the music outside as a teaser of what’s to come.
The nearly 2,500-square-foot bar boasts persimmon-hued arches and stucco walls lined with neon lights. A disco ball — hanging from a ceiling with a checkerboard pattern of gold mirrors and mahogany wood panels — sparkles over a 30-foot-long green marble bar. Custom-made furniture modeled after Italian architect and designer Mario Bellini’s sofas (resembling leather-covered marshmallows) and circular mid-century modern cocktail tables make up the rest of the seating.
Just like with De La Nonna, Cordon and Zaremba are behind the cocktails at Let’s Go — and they’re planning to go against the grain. “In my experience, when people have opened a cool ’70s-themed anything, there are always ’70s cocktails like Harvey Wallbangers, ice cream drinks, those kinds of things. We will not be doing those,” says Zaremba. Instead, the team will be offering modern cocktails with Italian ingredients like amaro and plays on Aperol spritz and Negroni. There’s an espresso martini; a saffron soda with Campari and white wine; and a smoky margarita with rhubarb, ginger, and mezcal; among others. The bar also boasts Italian wines, nearly 20 types of amaro, and some non-alcoholic drinks, including sparkling rosé and riesling “wines” and a zero-proof “Aperol” spritz. It joins a new trend of Italian throwback bars in Los Angeles, like Eagle Rock’s popular aperitivo bar Capri Club, which opened in June.
There won’t be any food served at Let’s Go, but in January, the owners plan on opening a slice takeaway window outside. “It will be really convenient for not just guests there, but anybody [in the area] who’s just looking for some late-night sustenance after they’re done with their night,” says Costa.
Let’s Go will be many things at once, and it’s designed so that people from different walks of life can enjoy the space. “[We want the bar to be] welcoming and inclusive, and not pretentious or weird,” says Zaremba. “We’re not trying to create any distance between people; we’re trying to close that gap and have a lot of fun along the way between the music, the programming, the drinks, and the atmosphere. We’re just trying to bring that spirit of Midwestern hospitality here to this bar.”
The Let’s Go! Disco and Cocktail Club will be open Tuesday to Saturday from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m.