The quiet dive bar. It is the holy grail of night-time hangouts, especially in Los Angeles, where it is nigh-impossible to find such a thing. I’ve found a few spots where I can spend an hour or two, but I fear I will spend the rest of my life searching for a low-key spot where I can just sit and talk to my friends at a normal volume. I don’t know; maybe this is something that only exists in television and film. Perhaps there is no real-world equivalent of How I Met Your Mother’s MacLaren’s. My search continues unabated, however, as giving up is just not in my nature. Which brought me to Molly Malone’s in the beautiful Fairfax district.
Molly Malone’s was not quite the droid I was looking for, but that doesn’t mean it was devoid of charm. I met a dear, dear friend here to have a couple drinks, commiserate, etc. I’m not going to attempt to judge the drinks themselves, because I just had a few Shock Tops (suck it, beer snobs), though my companion had an old-fashioned that he was less-than-pleased with (I tried it, it was pretty diluted).
The bar is a pretty dive-y Irish-style pub. There is a back room wherein live music was being played at volumes that approached destructive. But here’s the kicker: Molly Malone’s is spearheading this new innovation called a “door” (stay with me here). The live music is self-contained in the back, while the door separates said room from the rest of the bar, allowing other patrons to carry on without being interrupted or distracted. Music in this main room comes from one of those every-song-ever jukeboxes that have become more and more popular. I have no problem with this, as it allowed for an eclectic mix of tunes. And the music wasn’t too loud, either. At one point one of the bartenders even noticed how loud the music had gotten and turned it down without being asked.
The staff in general was great. The security man was pleasant, and the bartender serving my friend and I was very welcoming. She called us “honey” and even gave us a deal on the drinks, presumably because we are such attractive gentlemen.
Possibly my favorite aspect of the experience, however, was how crowded the bar wasn’t. There were plenty of people milling about, but we had no difficulty finding seats at the bar, and at no point did I feel that my personal space was being violated. I’m not a huge fan of other people, so this was a really nice surprise, especially on a Friday night.
Molly Malone’s isn’t perfect. It’s pretty dark, and it is easy to see how the drinks could become rather expensive on a normal night. Plus, the men’s restroom is laid out really weird – the sink is inside the stall, meaning that after I peed I had to wait for another man to conclude his business before I could wash my hands. As far as complaints go, though, I’ve come up with worse.
I find myself in the Fairfax neighborhood an awful lot; I was there recently for the Live Read at LACMA, and Cinefamily at the Silent Movie Theater is only a few blocks away. I could see myself spending a lot more time at Molly Malone’s if I ever got to a point in my life where I found being out in the world to be an appealing prospect. Who knows, maybe that point is closer on the line segment of life than I think it is.