I’m a big fan of the Bigfoot Lodge. After all, I love National Forests. I love that cheesy woodsy decor. And I REALLY love the Girl Scout martinis, because I was one (a Girl Scout, not a martini) for many, many years. So when I heard that Bigfoot creator Bobby Green was opening a bar on my side of town, one that wouldn’t require me to schlep to Atwater Village, I clapped my hands in glee.
Last night, I rounded up a crew of fellow Westsiders and went off to check out Saints and Sinners. Many of my friends have said they were planning to check it out – and just hadn’t yet. Everyone’s either heard of it, or been told about it, or driven past it by now. But it’s still a Westside bar, so, to be on the safe side, we went early, thinking we could still make $5 early-entrance cover at Bar Sinister if S&S wasn’t any fun. And it turned out, there wasn’t a backup plan needed. S&S had a good enough vibe that I was happy to stay for most of the night.
When we arrived at the bar at quarter after nine, on a Saturday, it was already seemingly full. This shouldn’t surprise me – a lot of the Venice/Abbot Kinney/Main St. establishments fill up as quickly. But this was Culver City, a bar in an area without a half-dozen other bars and eateries in walking distance. Whatever crowd was here, was just here for this bar, and not for an entire drinking zone like the A-K strip. I put my foot down about valet parking in West L.A., but if it had been raining harder, and if it had been a little later, I might have had to relent. By just after ten, a line had started to form, and there wasn’t parking anywhere in the West L.A. streets surrounding the bar. I always think of that part of town as having ample parking, day or night, but I guess bringing in a hundred people will take up those spaces quickly.
Inside, it was wall-to-wall, with people standing wherever they could. My group was by the bar, leaning against the wall opposite the 70s gold-tinted, marble-veined mirroring. We were able to examine the decor, angel statues with different accessories to indicate angels and fallen angels, but we were subject to much pushing and bumping as people went by. But despite the crowds, we liked it there. The music was good, and I remember hearing both a Prodigy track and New Order’s “True Faith” within a few minutes. The drinks were tasty, and they serve something unique, which I believe was a sort of Fallen Angel drink: a shot of 151 and cinnamon schnapps set on fire, and then dropped into a half-glass of Monster energy drink. I had a smoky apple martini, made with Scotch instead of vodka. Martinis went for $9; regular mixed drinks (like the jack and cokes a friend was drinking) went for $6. Which is standard Westside pricing, a welcome change after a Friday in Hollywood.
The only problem was that the bar got more and more crowded, until we were being shoved in a chain reaction when people walked by. Much of the main seating area is taken up by a big fake fireplace, with white quartz rocks and gas flames. There is a back room, which was open but only half-full because people didn’t know if they could go back there or not. It’s not a big space to begin with, and it’s the hottest thing in Culver City/W.L.A. right now, and the two factors combined meant that long before midnight, I needed breathing room.
I’d like to go back on a Thursday night, or again on a Saturday when we leave after one round. It’s a neat place. The bartenders were friendly, and took great enjoyment on setting those shots on fire. The decor was very 70s, all done in the sort of brass veneers and thin layers of tint that, in a real 70s bar, would start to flake and tarnish around the edges in less than a year. Bobby Green says that he thinks it’s like the 70s, like “the cocaine era before it got ugly” (which I didn’t think was an actual time, especially after reading any Hunter S. Thompson). I’d agree with that. The only thing he needs in there is more mirrored tabletops to really bring the image home.