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What Does a Modern Speakeasy Look Like? Birds & Bees Has the Answer

A subterranean bar in Los Angeles combines 1950s-inspired interiors with a delectable, thoroughly modern craft cocktail selection.

The Desi Arnaz.

Buoyed by escapist tiki drinks, imbibing in midcentury Los Angeles was once a glamorous affair, one that Dev and Ankur Desai want to revive at their jazz-fueled speakeasy-style Birds & Bees.

Inspired by circa 1950s cocktail parties that unfolded in open-plan homes, local firm Raveled Studio “pieced together an experience through the words and emotions of our elders,” says Ryan Turner, who along with partner David Poffenberger reimagined “the same room where the ‘birds and bees’ conversation might have taken place during daylight hours.”

An imperfect locale in a high-rise basement was embraced by warming original brick, cement, and steel with walnut grain and polished-brass accents. Bullnose and tapered-edge details, Turner says, reference the dining tables, stereo cabinets, and fold-down desks that made cameos in his and Poffenberger’s childhoods. With a sunken living room lined in orange cushions and a floating fireplace, the layout elicits an evocative backdrop for sipping the Ella Fitzgerald, a dirty martini spruced up by pickle juice and sherry.

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Birds & Bees
Birds & Bees

Birds & Bees

Birds & Bees

Birds & Bees

Birds & Bees

(All Photos: Acuna Hansen)

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