Don’t walk too fast down Spring Street or you just might miss it. Miss what you ask? You may just miss DTLA’s newest Cocktail Lounge, El Dorado. The sign on the street is a lit up marquee arrow pointing toward the El Dorado Lofts Building in the Historic Core. The arrow directs you down a flight of stairs where at the end of them you enter a dim lit subterranean Cocktail Lounge. Bars Downtown LA El Dorado Bar Downtown LA
El Dorado is the brainchild of Rio Del Valle Hackford owner of Monty Bar also located in Downtown L.A.. Hackford an L.A. Native grew up in Los Angeles and recalls going to off the beaten path bars in the city as well as Downtown L.A. Rock Clubs Scream and Helena’s in the 80’s. At a time when DTLA was far from a desirable urban oasis, Hackford was reveling in the underground spots that were the shining stars of the city at the time. This lifelong love for Downtown inspired the opening of El Dorado.
This project has been in the works for close to 6 years. Hackford actually began working on El Dorado prior to opening Monty Bar. When he began construction the space was exactly what you would picture a basement of a building to look like- all splotchy paint, wires and ducts. The space has since been transformed into a modern looking speakeasy. When you enter, you will find leather booths with small tables to the left where you can cozy up next your date or friends. The walls are adorned with Ox Blood Colored wallpaper with a gold design and you can find Baroque Style Paintings of nude women above the booths.
On the right there are two semi private rooms in the front and the back. These rooms also house booths that give the feel of privacy but also have large openings where you can still see and interact with patrons in the main area. There are large murals in each of the semi-private rooms. The mural that stands out most depicts early Los Angeles, an ode to Hackford’s own ‘City of Gold.’ The main area feels open and roomy likely because of its high ceilings. The ceiling has character, too. It is a shiny wood grid that is designed to look vintage.
The extensive bar can easily fit 20-25 people and it sits right in the middle of those two rooms. The overall lounge itself is Classy with a sense of L.A. Cool much like Hackford himself. He tells us: “El Dorado is a place where you can bring a date and dress up a little. It’s classy but not pretentious. You’re not going to wait half an hour to get a drink.” He has enlisted heavy hitters Clay Wendel and Peter Barriga to head their bar program. These cocktail masters work diligently to provide great service and the highest quality craft cocktails. They make their own bitters and syrups daily and have created a menu that features fun and delicious cocktails like the E-40 which combines Miller High Life, Walnut Infused Nikka Coffee Grain Whisky and High Five. As well as clean, classic tasting cocktails like the off menu whiskey drink that we were able to try- American Trilogy. It is a stiff, simple drink similar to an Old Fashioned. Don’t let the fancy cocktails fool you, Owner Rio Del Valle Hackford wants people to know that there is a variety of beverages to choose from. He tells us: “People can come in and get a Tecate or (Miller) High Life and our wells are the best in town. But we have a serious top shelf, too and our bartenders are making quality drinks, fast.”
We also got the inside scoop on what’s coming next for this swanky new lounge. There will be an extension to the space with an exclusive bar opening up in El Dorado itself. It will be in the style of Bar Jackalope at Seven Grand and Varnish at Cole’s. The space is significant and has cool features like glass brick on a portion of the ceiling where you can see passers by walking overhead on Spring Street. So, you heard it here first, El Dorado will be opening another bar within the bar with its own distinctive name and ambiance set to open within the next 6 months to a year.
El Dorado will open its doors on Thursday, August 4th. Once business gets off the ground, we are told that there will be a Happy Hour on weekdays, Industry Nights and a DJ spinning Rock N Roll 45’s. They will be open from afternoon time to 2 a.m. seven days a week and hope to welcome lots of the Spring Street walking traffic. “Sitting in a car driving around in traffic does something to the psyche. I love that Downtown is now a walking city. And I love the diversity and the people. There’s no city like it.”: said Rio Del Valle Hackford. We concur, Rio. We concur.
El Dorado 416 S. Spring St. Los Angeles, CA 90013