The Darkroom

20s / 30s / Alternative / Anything goes / Bar / Boisterous / Budget-friendly / Button-downs / Casual / Darts / Dive Bar / Flannel Shirts / Fun-loving / High Energy / Hipster / Jeans and T-Shirt / Jukebox / Rock / Skaters / Snack Food / Sneakers / Sports Fans / TVs / Young Professionals
The Darkroom "A favorite with the locals, The Darkroom is a one-room dive brimming with youthful energy and a fun-loving crowd._x000D_ Los Angeles United States 34.0835116 -118.3487705
3.62 18
The Darkroom - Bar | Dive Bar in Los Angeles.
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Party Earth Review A favorite with the locals, The Darkroom is a one-room dive brimming with youthful energy and a fun-loving crowd. As dark as the name suggests, the venue sports a no-frills décor featuring a statue of a smiling... ... read full review

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  • Hours:

    M–F 5pm–2am, Sa–Su noon–2am

  • Recommended as:

    • Night Spot

Party Earth The Darkroom Review

The Scene

"A favorite with the locals, The Darkroom is a one-room dive brimming with youthful energy and a fun-loving crowd._x000D_

A favorite with the locals, The Darkroom is a one-room dive brimming with youthful energy and a fun-loving crowd.

As dark as the name suggests, the venue sports a no-frills décor featuring a statue of a smiling vagabond, which greets the chatty young professionals that set up camp at the bar, not just for first dibs on the cheap drinks, but also to keep an eye on the flat-screen TVs and their steady stream of sports or cult classics.

Early evenings see groups of guys and girlfriends chilling out at tables or in the horseshoe booths in the raised seating area or playing electronic darts in the back. A front patio provides more booths and TVs, not to mention excellent people-watching of the eclectic characters parading up and down Melrose Avenue.

As the evening progresses – especially on the weekends – the low-key atmosphere transforms into a boisterous scene when a mixed horde of tipsy hipsters, regular Joes, and alternative types show up to rub elbows and clink glasses to a soundtrack of rock and roll.

Laid back but buzzing with high-spirited energy, The Darkroom is equally good as the first stop of a night on the town or a place to enjoy a few casual hours of cheap beer and friendly camaraderie.

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Tip from Lucas:

The drinks are cheap here, so what better way to spend the night than to come early while seats are available, double-fist Tecates on the patio, and watch the game.

  • Crowd

    Young professionals, hipsters, and skaters, late 20s to mid-30s.

  • Entertainment / Music

    Ambient rock music and a jukebox. Electric dartboards. Four indoor and two outdoor flat-screen TVs showing sports and movies.

  • Food / Miscellaneous

    A full menu of American fusion upscale bar food including mac & cheese bites, sandwiches, burgers, fried chicken, and salmon.

  • Prices

    Appetizers $6–$10, entrees $7–$12. Beer $3–$5, wine $5, cocktails $7–$9, mixed drinks $7–$8.

  • What to Wear / Dress Code

    Casual: baseball caps, button-downs, iconic rock and heavy metal t-shirts, jeans, flannels, Chuck Taylors.

  • Hot Nights / When to Go

    Wednesday nights for the crowd of regulars, or Fridays and Saturdays from 9:30pm on for a bustling scene.

  • Close By

    Snake Pit Ale House (7529 Melrose Avenue) is a smaller dive bar down the street with a wide draft selection and arcade games.

The Darkroom User Reviews

Average rating:
Great LA bar
Arianna G. Jul 25, 2013
I live for a good bar with a great vibe and of course great drinks. This bar is one of my top choices in LA. I went on a Friday night for a friends’ birthday and instantly fell in love with Darkroom. The crowd was a young, hip and social. Although it was a bit crowed, the bar area was still easy to navigate. I didn't wait hours for a drink and the bartender was friendly and gave me exactly what I ordered. The drink prices were pretty cheap which is why I probably ended up opening a drink tab with a few rounds of whiskey on the rocks. My friends decided to order small meals and they were absolutely delicious. When you're drinking, you want great food and this bar has got it. After another round of drinks, we made our way to the photo booth. We packed our group into that photo booth and must have taken a million pictures. That classic black and white photo booth is everything when you're older and a bit intoxicated.
One of my fav bars on Melrose
Daniel R. Apr 4, 2013
Darkroom is legit. It's semi-dimly lit, there are lots of round booths for bigger groups, and everybody working there is cool. The name darkroom is photography related, so make sure to take a look at all of the vintage cameras up above all the booze at the bar. They have some craft cocktails here and a decent beer selection on tap. I always go with a Magic Hat #9 because it makes me homesick, and I'll try something else on rotation. The bartenders are always cool and chatty, and they'll suggest a beer or come up with a drink randomly if you tell them what you like. I've had burgers and desserts here, both which were very good. Also on warmer nights, there is covered outdoor seating on Melrose which is a bonus!
Not That Dark
Peter R. Feb 20, 2013
The first thing you notice upon entering the Dark Room is that it's actually not that dark. At least, relative to other LA bars, which often seem to take their lighting cues from early Bela Lugosi movies. The name is further belied by the people who frequent the establishment. It's usually a mix of fedora or stocking-capped hipsters, small-time "celebrities", and the various hangers-on that type of crowd engenders, with few to none of them wearing the kind of goth-type attire you might expect before setting foot in a place called the Dark Room. While not always "the place to be" in LA, the overall experience makes it one of the easier dives in town to settle in with a few friends, get drunk without spending your entire biweekly paycheck from whatever agency you're an assistant at, while also avoiding the usual club/lounge scene that is typical of a night out on the town in Los Angeles.
must see bar in Los Angeles.
Lauren A. Jan 17, 2013
Following my experience at The Churchill (see my other review) I was ready for another drink. Let me say, first off-this is my favorite bar. As soon as I turned 21, I was keen to start bar hopping whenever school permitted me the opportunity. On a Friday night, my best friend and I decided to hit some hotspots that we had heard of. The Darkroom was my absolute favorite. First of all, the bartenders there are badass. Excuse the language, but there is really no other word to describe them. They give "no-shits." My girl friend wanted an "AMF" and the bartender responded with "we don't make that shit here." Well. OK. How about a Tokyo Icetea. "No. No ridiculous mixed drinks. Jack and coke. Cranberry and vodka." My kind of guy. Two cranberry vodka's later, my friend and I were sitting at a both and people watching. It is quite an eclectic group of people that go there. The age range is anywhere from early twenties to mid thirties. They have awesome music playing the entire time, and everytime I have been they are packed. The drinks are cheap and the people are cool. The bouncer that was working was a pretty funny guy too. That's always nice compared to the straight faced angry, mob-esque looking men I'm used to seeing bounce. Minus one star because parking sucks. Walking three blocks from your car is never cool in 6 inch heels. This bar is a must. Check it out, you won't regret it.
Have a Drink, Make Friends
Juan R. Nov 1, 2012
Located conveniently in the heart of the Melrose District, this fine drinking establishment with exceptional food offers a variety of atmospheres during its operating hours that are sure to satisfy at least one of your daily moods. During the day, before or after some shopping, patrons are usually enjoying the sun and a beer in the wood bench, high stool patio. As the day progresses so do its visitors and the characters. The venue is equipped with a number of flat screen TVs including two in the patio, making it an ideal place to catch a game without the typical “Sports Bar” atmosphere. As the shops on the strip start to close the crowd of creatives, hipster and industry professional start to trickle in; conversations and good vibes start to infect the atmosphere. Family-tourists start fade from Melrose Ave. and almost every night you’ll meet a local with a couple of overseas friends. The large round booths are perfect for an evening with friends, good prized drinks, maybe a game of darts and a good burger. The casual, dark, comfortably intimate space encourages conversations across parties; show up with a couple of friends, you’ll likely leave with a few more.
Super friendly staff!
Nikki L. Oct 25, 2012
The Darkroom is a really nice little dive-ish bar. The outdoor patio is perfectly sized and has a good amount of enclosure without being too cut off from the endless people-watching possibilities of Melrose Avenue. The location is definitely central, and it's a great spot to drop into at any time. Early in the night, even, it's just pleasant. There are plenty of TVs, the decor is warm, and the lights are dim. The food that I've had has been good, and so many of the things on the ever-changing menu sound absolutely delicious. The most memorable part of my visit there, though, was the bartender. Both were extremely friendly and easy to talk to. It adds even more to the welcoming atmosphere.
Ideal Location, Great Staff
Brent L. Oct 5, 2012
The Darkroom is nothing special, but it is great and the staff is always super friendly. I frequent this place – it’s a good halfway point between East and Non-Eastsiders. The patio is great, and allows smoking. The food is decent enough, but I heard that they are re-vamping the menu soon and it’s going to get a bit more upscale. There are a few TVs both inside and on the patio always turned to something random like dated music videos – more of a distraction than something people actually tune into. Above all else, the staff are very friendly – and that in and of itself creates for a wonderful atmosphere.
True to It's Name...
Aaron P. Sep 12, 2012
A year ago? Pass. But it's quickly becoming a good option for some suds and a pretty good burger if you're in the mood. Much improved crowd and good, Hollywood bar ambiance. Jukebox and darts are a nice touch too. St. Nicks has fallen to pieces, so The Dark Room prevails. Still not enough behind the bar better on weeknights than weekends.
Decent Bar Scene + Good for Small Groups
Danny M. Aug 29, 2012
The Darkroom is a no frills bar that's just a good spot to sit around and enjoy drinks with friends. It also has a long bar which makes it an easy environment to mix and mingle with the mixed (although hipster-leaning) crowd. When it's crowded the place can get very loud inside. The patio tends to get packed during as well. Overall I don't have anything overwhelmingly positive or negative to say...just a big space with a decent crowd that's convenient if you live in the area...but probably isn't a reason to go out of your way to get here.
Surprisingly Good Grub, Chill Neighborhood Spot, Sanity on Melrose
Jayson M. Aug 29, 2012
So you’re with your significant other and she/he insists on shopping along the maelstrom of crap that is Melrose Avenue. After spending three hours deciding whether they should get the faux cheetah clutch or the multi-colored tribal tattoo (“it just speeeaks to meee!”) from one of the 4,000 parlors around here, you know it’s only a matter of time before you purposefully lunge into traffic, hopefully to be splattered instantly across the faces of that pack of Japanese tourists dressed like middle-school girls from some futuristic Anime production. And then you see Darkroom: A chill local boozer with a nice patio, decent prices, and food that’s not special in any way except that it’s tasty and reminds you, for at least one more day, to choose life. And it only cost you around $10.
Meh! Just another Bar
Deepak H. Aug 29, 2012
The Darkroom is nothing special. It is just another bar that you see walking down the street though I do give it an extra star being so close to where I work. It is a decent place to have a drink when you are tired walking down Melrose and have that insatiable thirst for a beer. The bar has a patio with seating and a bunch of TVs showing sports. The patio is a good place to sit around and just chat and do some serious people watching and believe me Melrose is never short of some beautiful people. So, if you want to chill and check out some people, my advice is to grab a beer and head straight to the patio.
Good Neighborhood Bar
Paul F. Aug 15, 2012
There's nothing too fancy about The Darkroom. There's a cool patio in front with a couple of TVs. My friends I watched some NCCA tournament games here when the Parlor next door was too crowded. Inside is dark as advertised with a bar on the right and booths on the left. In the back they have a dart board which is either really fun, or really dangerous depending on how drunk you get. The crowd is mostly locals who live in the area as there's no reason to do a long drive to come here. Drinks aren't too expensive and it usually doesn't take long to get one. If you're looking for a good solid neighborhood bar in Melrose - this is really your only option, especially since the Snake Pit burned down.
Love the patio
Sara G. Aug 15, 2012
Their patio is a great spot for group drinks, and the waitstaff is super friendly. There are TVs on the patio that seem to always play random movies. The inside is pretty expansive so I'd recommend going when you know it's going to be crowded. The place can feel vacant pretty easily. I never really remember the drinks, but it's probably because they take a backseat to how much fun I'm having. It's located on a cool stretch of Melrose. Grab dinner and drinks at Village Idiot, head to the Snake Pit (once it's back open), and end your evening at The Darkroom.
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