Open to the elements on the corner of W 11th and Hope streets in Los Angeles, Prank is a bar with a difference, or two, or three, or – the point is, the owners like to keep their patrons guessing as to what’s going to happen next. From the sham-private karaoke to the cannabis terpenes cocktails, this is one bar that’s determined to stand out from the Downtown crowd.
Who doesn’t love pranks? And karaoke? Come on! OK, well, plenty of people don’t, but at LA’s first walk-up bar – one you can walk right up to from the street – the two go hand in hand.
Prank is the brainchild of Dave Whitton (of Villains Tavern acclaim) and his siblings, Jonny and Jaime. With it, they have created a bar where you can “get into mischief,” albeit of the good-natured variety.
The victims of the bar’s chief prank are aspiring singers, whose seemingly private sessions on the karaoke machine – disguised within a phone booth – are blasted out on the bar’s sound system for all the other drinkers to hear. This is all very well if you’re the next Jennifer Hudson or Adam Lambert, but if your pipes aren’t quite up to scratch, your fun with friends might quickly tip into your very public embarrassment – did we mention the bar’s retractable walls open onto the busy sidewalks of W 11th and Hope?
Of course, any humiliation you do experience will be short lived: karaoke, after all, breeds camaraderie. And you can relieve any residual shame with one of Prank’s signature cannabis terpenes cocktails. This organic compound is produced by a plant more commonly used in essential oils and aromatherapy; here, it finds itself in such concoctions as The Hilaria, a mix of mezcal, sherry, watermelon, honeyed apricot, citrus, bitters, herbs and limonene terpenes. The craft cocktails, it should be said, contain no CBD or THC, so, while your nerves might be eased by their sheer deliciousness, you won’t be tripping as you step back out onto the LA streets.
Aside from unsuspecting chanteurs and chanteuses, music is provided from Thursday to Sunday by live bands and DJs, who each bring a different mood to the venue. Indeed, if you aren’t into crowds and want to steer clear of all the fun and games, the upstairs mezzanine provides a more intimate dining experience, as does the dog-friendly patio. Los Angeles-based interior design firm Ricki Kline are to thank for this thoughtful layout.
For the menu, executive chef Ricardo Sanchez has taken a healthy (read: GMO-, hormone- and antibiotic-free) approach to American bar food. Aiming to provide something for everyone, vegan and vegetarian options – raw salad, nachos, spicy cauliflower wings and the like – are available.
Larger entrée items are paired with drink options. The salami sandwich on herb focaccia, topped with goat’s cheese, sweet and spicy red peppers and arugula, for example, comes with a choice of a Maker’s 46 old fashioned or a Trefethen riesling.
The Prank’s offering is rounded out by some excellent non-alcoholic elixirs, blended for their anti-inflammatory or energizing properties, kombucha and matcha tea.
Whether you’re in it for the karaoke, the schadenfreude, the cannabis terpenes cocktails or the super-healthy food, this novel LA hangout brings something unexpected to a night on the town.