A bar that requires a password to get in? Tell me more! That’s the situation with Koreatown’s R Bar, a very discrete and likely overlooked neighborhood spot on 8th Street that is easy to miss but difficult to forget. It’s a special little spot with a lot of character. Add this to your list of bars you should visit.
R can be a very intimidating place before you arrive to it. It’s the kind of bar that you’ll be worried you won’t be able to get into because it’s so mysterious. I packed a pair of pants and a button up shirt to ensure that, even on a hot day, they did not have an excuse to turn my shorts and t-shirt wearing self away. There was some trepidation when approaching since their giant woody door very clearly states NO BACKPACKS, which is what I had to carry all of my back up belongings. Thankfully, if you arrive early enough—with the password—the giant but very kind bouncer will happily wave you inside.
The interior of the space is exactly what you will not expect but should have given the door: it’s a very woody dive bar with various little nooks to escape to. The music is very loud and it can be occasionally dark but there is ample opportunity to spread out. The bar is stocked with the basics and they even have a few bar bites for sale, too. Their menu of offerings is small and they do them pretty nicely. We grabbed some Manhattans (How ironic.) and they were quite nice, nutty, and strong, as all Manhattans should be. The funny thing about R and that was surprising to us curious early birds is that it quickly fills up for whatever event the space is welcoming. On the Thursday evening we visited, it was their weekly film series CinemaRtini where short films by up-and-coming locals are screened. There’s basically something every night like Monday night’s movie drinking games and Tuesday evening’s bingo. There is fun for all.
We chilled here for a few hours and, despite a small film festival happening, it was a comfortable and fun environment to get a drink. It is not fancy nor does it want to be and it can occasionally get loud. That said, it is comfortable and non-judgmental: what isn’t to like about that? Everything about that is beyond likable. You should totally check out R Bar—just make sure you know the password.