October 20, 2016

The Spare Room Bar in Los Angeles

Spare Room Parlor

photo by: Historic Hotels of America

The Spare Room Bar in the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.

Earlier this week, SavingPlaces.org featured a four pack of bars/bowling alleys that retain both their historic charm and their working-class attitude. The Spare Room in Los Angeles is a historic bar and bowling alley in its own right, but that’s about where the similarities end.

To begin with, the Spare Room is located in the Spanish-Colonial-style Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel—a member of Historic Hotels of America—right on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame and across the street from the world-renowned Grauman’s Chinese Theater. Since it opened in 1927, it has hosted celebrities like Marilyn Monroe and Clark Gable—the latter of which is said to have carried on an affair with Carole Lombard in the penthouse. The hotel also played host to the first Academy Awards ceremony in its Blossom Ballroom in 1929.

But let’s get back to the bar—or “gaming parlor and cocktail lounge” as the hotel refers to it.

This Art Deco drinking den on the hotel’s mezzanine level is luxurious in every way, from the hand-crafted cocktails to the hand-crafted board games—Jenga, anyone? The place is known for its punch bowls, but it’s a pretty safe bet that anything on the cocktail menu is going to be good.

And did we mention there’s bowling? (Yes. We did.)

Two lanes from the early 1900s run the length of the space and are open for reservation, but you’re not going to be sliding around in your socks at this place like you did at your buddy’s bumper bowling birthday party back in the ‘90s. In true Hollywood fashion, the rental shoes are made by local LA designer George Esquivel.

Spare Room Lanes

photo by: Historic Hotels of America

The bowling lanes look out on Hollywood Boulevard.

Spare Room Bar

photo by: Historic Hotels of America

Somewhere in the Spare Room lurks a secret photo booth.

What else do you need to know about this place? Well, the hotel is actually fairly mum on the topic, so it looks like you’ll just have to investigate on your own. The good news is you don’t need your own room at the Hollywood Roosevelt to enjoy the Spare Room.

A few quick notes before you go, though:

Location: 7000 Hollywood Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90028

Hours: Wednesday-Monday, 8 p.m.-2 a.m. Closed Tuesdays.

Pro Tip: There’s a secret photo booth hidden somewhere in the Spare Room. Good luck…

You’re Having: A punch bowl—or literally anything else they serve.

Best Yelp Review: “You can also play board games and bowl at a heftier price tag than your local AMF lanes (hey Esquivel shoes ain't cheap and this is Hollywood).”

David Weible is the content specialist at the National Trust, previously with Preservation and Outside magazines. His interest in historic preservation was inspired by the ‘20s-era architecture, streetcar neighborhoods, and bars of his hometown of Cleveland.

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