Bar Mattachine, honors a gay rights group founded in 1950, the Mattachine Society and the group’s leader, Harry Hay. He was a prominent gay rights activist in American History and he founded the Mattachine Society leading it to become the first sustained gay rights group in the United States. The Mattachine Society was rooted on 4 primary principals: (1) “Unify homosexuals isolated from their own kind”; (2) “Educate homosexuals and heterosexuals toward an ethical homosexual culture…”; (3) Lead the more socially conscious homosexual to provide leadership to the whole mass of social variants”; and (4) “Assist gays who are victimized daily as a result of oppression”.
Harry Hay and a group of his male friends formed the Mattachine Society to protect and improve the rights of gay men. Very fittingly for this feature, the first meeting of the Mattachine Society took place in Los Angeles, California and its name, ultimately chosen by Harry Hay, is symbolic of Medieval French secret societies with men in masks who, through keeping their anonymity, became empowered to criticize ruling monarchs with impunity.
The Mattachine Society saw a boom in membership in 1952 when one of the Mattachine Society’s founders was arrested in a Los Angeles park and charged with lewd behavior, the group saw this as an opportunity to address the issue of police entrapment of homosexual men. The publicity the case brought to the Mattachine Society afforded them financial support, volunteers, and the trial ended in the jury deadlocked, a victory for the Mattachine Society!
Operating out of the, now renovated, old Silo Vodka Bar space on 7th Street, Bar Mattachine is Downtown LA’s 1st gay craft cocktail bar. Bar Mattachine is one of the newest LGBT spots in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles, it is a bi-level craft cocktail lounge furnished in dark wood, tastefully decorated with snapshots of color, they host DJ nights, acoustic performances, and drag shows. Bar Mattachine is co-owned and operated by New York native bartender Garrett McKechnie. In addition, Bar Mattachine and Garret McKechnie were featured in the Travel section of Next Magazine as the #3 reason out of “14 Reasons Why it’s Totally OK to Fall in Love with Los Angeles”, affirming, “The craft cocktail menu is extensive and well curated by co-owner…Garrett McKechnie. We recommend anything with tequila, especially the Tromba Romba”.
Garrett McKechnie became intrigued with the bartending world at the young age of 16 and landed his first major bartending gig at the age of 22 in the famous Barracuda gay club in NYC. However, it wasn’t until 2010 that his love for craft cocktails developed while assisting on the opening of 1886 Bar at the Raymond in Pasadena. Approximately three years later the idea of a cocktail-driven gay bar that would pay homage to the Mattachine Society and its leader, activist Harry Hay emerged. Their signature cocktail at Bar Mattachine is the Harry Hay consisting of extremely specific ingredients (100-proof Rittenhouse Rye with Dolan Rouge Vermouth, Amargo-Vallet Bark of Angostura bitters, and Boudier Maraschino cherry liqueur garnished with a cherry and a flamed lemon peel over the surface of the cocktail adding flavor and aroma).
Tiki Sundays bring Chef Maxwell Edwins, a chef, entrepreneur, ironman, and crossfit trainer who comes up with a new Tiki Menu every Sunday! His menu’s showcase tropical tastes and textures, some of his past menu items include dirty beans and rice and organic Jerk Chicken. If you want to check out images of his beautiful and delicious dishes, find him on instagram: @maxwelledwins. Chef Maxwell prepares gorgeous arrays of food with attention to detail, plating, and using only the highest quality ingredients, difficult to find ingredients, homemade ingredients, and organic and grass-fed meats.
Now, back to those craft cocktails this bar was built around, they have a special Tiki Craft Cocktail Menu for Sundays that includes both, classic craft cocktails and signature tiki craft cocktails as designed by Matthew Richardson, Bryan Sparkman and, the one and only, Garrett McKechnie. Craft cocktails that can be found on the menu are: the “Mattachine Classic Daquiri” made with Bar Mattachine’s favorite Rum and fresh limes, the “Silk Road” consisting of Plantation Pineapple Rum, Bacardi 8yr, Smith and Cross, Homemade Allspice Dram, and fresh lime, the “Rum in Runs”, the “Cobra Fang Don the Beach!”, the “Fields of Aberdeen” and other delectable sounding and looking options.
Bar Mattachine was one of the most supportive performance venues at the 1st annual DTLA PROUD Festival in Pershing Square held August 7th. Ironically, or perhaps appropriately, the event was put on by the community for the community in partnership with the Department of Recreation and Parks of the City of Los Angeles. Pershing square is a park located in the heart of the same city where in a not so distant past a member of the LGBT community was targeted and charged with a crime for simply being openly himself in a public city park. 221 West 7th Street, DTLA – (213) 278-0471 – HRS: 5:00pm-2:00am 7Days