DTLA’s Bar Mattachine More Than Just The Latest Gay Bar

DTLA’s elite, press and a few LGBT icons were invited to the private pre-opening reception for Bar Mattachine, the latest gay bar to open in DTLA, on October 7th. The official grand opening happens on Friday, October 9th.

However, this new gay bar, isn’t just a gay bar. Actually, Bar Mattachine is a tribute to the mid-century pioneers who wanted to propel the civil rights movement for gay men and create a haven where all were welcome. It also fills a void not yet met by other bars, like The New Jalisco Bar, Precinct and RedLine.

Everything flows flawlessly, from drinks, decor and music to guests, handsome bartenders and drag DJ. The music was rare and beautiful, something you would expect at an after party during New York Fashion week. Surprisingly, the notorious 30-45 minute wait that one may experience at other craft cocktail bars is not the case here. You will get your drink in just the right amount of time and you’ll love it. Favorite cocktails of the night were the Harry Hay (blend of Rittenhouse 100 proof rye, Dolan Rouge, Benedictine, Amargo-Vallet Bark of Angostura and Maraschino liqueur poured into a martini glass and delicately garnished with caramelized lemon oil and a Marasca cherry) and the Hartwood (libation of El Silencio Espadin mezcal, Demerara sugar, pineapple juice, fresh lime and Angostura bitters mixed together and splashed over large rock ice). They do have a full bar for those set in their ways.

The space is all at once elegant, but burly. Dark and heavy, but refined and sleek. One guest described the decor in three words: Sexy. Seductive. Tom Ford. The mix of dark wood paneling, gray leather seating and avant garde/erotic artwork throughout with modern lighting and gold accents, evokes a lot of opulent and lush images of what could have been a gay speakeasy in the 1950s and 60s, that is if Tom Ford had been alive then.

“Being the first gay craft cocktail lounge to open its doors in Downtown, I wanted a name that is grounded in gay history in L.A,” says McKechnie. “Mattachine encapsulates everything and mirrors everything I want this bar to embody.”

And, just what does Bar Mattachine mean? Activist Harry Hay and a group of Los Angeles male friends founded the Mattachine Society in 1950. The idea was based on the “Société Mattachine” a Medieval/Renaissance secret fraternity of masked men/jesters who protested against the oppression of the lower classes with complete anonymity. Hay’s group was one of the earliest gay rights organizations to be founded in the United States. Not only did Hay and the other members advocate for the rights of gay men, but they held the ideal that all were welcome, gay or not.

“It is not all about sexuality at Bar Mattachine,” says McKechnie (1886 Bar, FuBar), who along with Vianey “Vee” Delgadillo, Jigger Mercado forged the new bar. “We want to celebrate the gay community’s’ creativity, artistry and talent. And for that matter, not just gay people, everyone is welcome here.”

When it comes down to it, this is a welcoming safe haven for all sexualities. However, anyone of any age, social background, economic status, lifestyle or sexual orientation will feel welcome at Mattachine Bar. The owners and staff hope they offer a creative and safe havenfor all people to tap into a certain kind of freedom without any societal pressure or restriction, just as the Mattachine Society depicted: “Come with us, whether you are or not.”

Bar Mattachine – 221 West 7th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90014. Open daily from 5:00 pm to 2:00 am.
For more information, please visit
or (213) 278-0471.

Click On Images For A Closer Look

Reporting by Daniel Calderon. Photography by Milton Dellossier & Acuna Hansen.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

* Copy This Password *

* Type Or Paste Password Here *

%d bloggers like this: