Beauty Bar – Just a Quickie to Say “I Went There”

beauty bar, hollywood, los angeles, ca- front, pink
I spent almost all of my childhood in San Antonio, Texas. Anytime I reveal that fact to someone, the first thing they ask me is “Did you go the Alamo all the time?!”

*blink blink* Uh…

I really have no idea how to answer the question.

There is a look of expectation on the person’s face, excitement in the tone of their voice, as if they wanted to hear that living in San Antonio meant that I’d hop the Via Via bus to the Alamo (I was in elementary school at the time so I couldn’t drive, duh) whenever I had the chance to just go kick back at the Alamo.

Do I answer truthfully and say “No, clueless, just because I lived in the same city as the Alamo doesn’t mean I went there all the time. Do you think people who live in the same city as the Liberty Bell go down to the Liberty Bell, hang out, and just gaze upon its historical significnce with wonderment and awe all the time?!?”

Or do I make up an answer that is an utter falsehood, but will probably make the person feel, regardless of how many times they fail to correctly answer the brown questions on Trivial Pursuit, that history is important? “Yes,” I gush, “of course I went to the Alamo all the time! I loved it! I would walk through the one room that is the Alamo, back and forth, reading the same little factoid cards posted along the walls, back and forth, all day long, every weekend.” With my patriotic fist raised in the air, I cry “Remember the Alamo!”


At least they never asked me if I ate Pace Picante Salsa with everything.

The point is, the Alamo is an attraction to which I went once a year on a field trip with my homeroom and every time we had visitors from out of town. The Alamo is a novelty destination. There was nothing really special about the Alamo except that is represented a piece of history, and we only ever went there so that people could say they had been there. You don’t go to the Alamo because you want to hang out in the Alamo. You go to the Alamo to tell everyone else that yes, you’ve been to the Alamo.

beauty bar, hollywood, los angeles, ca - manicure
can you bring your own color?

Beauty Bar is like the Alamo.

Except that Beauty Bar is ridiculously over-pink and serves drinks.

You don’t go to Beauty Bar because you actually want to get a manicure. I have never sat down in the chair and gotten a manicure done at Beauty Bar, but I can’t imagine that 1) I could sit still enough for the manicurist to do a decent job of painting, 2) I would want to sit still there by myself getting my nails done while my BFFs were off on the other side of the bar throwing back Cosmos (that just seems like the most approproate drink to mention in the context of Beauty Bar), 3) no one else in the bar would bump into me or the manicurist and send slippery brush strokes of Chanel Black Satin across my cuticles, or 4) my nails would be sufficiently dry enough after they were painted that I wouldn’t get nicks and dings while balancing my martini glass at the bar.

You also don’t go to Beauty Bar for the drinks by themselves. There are places that serve better drinks, and in a better atmosphere. There’s nothing wrong with Beauty Bar’s retro 1960s decor of a beauty parlor (not “salon,” but “parlor”). In fact, I might call the decor “cute.” However, I use the word “atmosphere” to refer to the physical air that we breathe inside the venue. At Beauty Bar, a faint fragrance of nail polish alternating with waves of acetone underscores everything. There’s a reason those little ladies wear surgical masks at the nail salon.

You go to Beauty Bar because getting a $10 manicure and drinking martinis is a novelty. You go there so you can check Beauty Bar off your list of places that you should probably say you’ve been.

I’ve been to Beauty Bar. Check.

Remember the Alamo!

Beauty Bar
1638 N Cahuenga Blvd (Cross Street: Hollywood Boulevard)
Hollywood, CA 90028View Map
(323) 464-7676

** a year ago today, what happens in vegas, stays in the kitchen. especially if “what” is a kahlua fudge cheesecake brownie **

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  • Anonymous


    Have you been to Beechwood Restaurant (and cocktail lounge!!!) in Venice yet? I’d like your thoughts.

    -Anonymous Coward

  • sarah

    anonymous (coward): don’t be shy. we don’t bite. :)

    i’ve gone several times now to beechwood. it isn’t bad, though i find the dining room to be small, awkward and way too loud. i prefer the bar lounge area, even to eat. check it:

    beechwood (the first time)

    beechwood (2nd time)

    you can always look at this list of restaurants about which i’ve written on the delicious life (the link is in the left bar over there < -- under "delicious lists"): dining index

  • Anonymous

    Hey Sarah, so did you eat Pace PIcante Salsa with everything?

  • Anonymous

    Hi, love your blog!
    Just wanted to share this w/you since I also lived in San Antonio back in the early 80’s. I have only been to the Alamo twice, once for a field trip in 4th grade, and the final trip was when my dad misunderstood my Korean mom’s request to see the ah-nee-mos…..she of course meant animals (zoo), so you can imagine her surprise when he took us to see some old building w/not even a single monkey or penguin. Boy was she pisssssssed! LOL


  • Chubbypanda

    On the Alamo question, I know the feeling. =/ The following bit is taken from an article I’m working on.

    Ten years ago I was passing through Bumblefuck, Oregon on some camping trip for another when I made a stop at the Main Street gas station in a town with literally three stores, and was asked this question by a wide-eyed eight-year old who had probably only seen Asian people on TV before this.

    Him: “Do you know kung-fu?”

    Me: *blink* “Yes. Yes I do.”

    It was the gods’ honest truth, but I swear I felt guilty saying it.

    – Chubbypanda

  • Hilary

    I hate Beauty Bar. Have you been to Star Shoes yet? Just as bad.

  • sarah

    anonymous: not only pace, but since i’m asian, i also use sriracha, and since i went to school at cal (berkeley), i wear hemp clothes and hug trees ;)

    jes: i believe the alamo would be “ah-rah-mo,” in which case you’d end up at…the alamo. lol!

    chubbypanda: man at least you aren’t expected to know how to play golf like michelle wie.

    hilary: oh, but at least there are no fumes at star shoes!

  • Anonymous

    re: Beechwood

    Many thanks…another friend also indicated the dining room is a wee bit on the ear-piercing side.

    …will check it out soon.


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