I can’t get the Three’s Company theme song out of my head—especially that funky guitar riff intro. I credit the Houston Brothers’ newest bar opening later this week, Good Times at Davey Wayne’s. A sneak peek of the space, which took over the old Crane’s Hollywood on El Centro Avenue, transported me back to the days when carpet, warm California decor, and hilarious misunderstandings abounded. But in the most awesome way possible.
Mark and Jonnie Houston of Houston Hospitality built the bar as an homage to their father, David Wayne Houston, who passed away a couple of years ago. Unsurprisingly their dad, a blue collar pool shark, was a real cool cat, spending time with his boys building projects in his garage, collecting antiques, and listening to music. And Good Times reflects all that.
Vintage Rose Bowl flea market finds beautifully furnish the space, a wall is papered with old album covers from the likes of Peter Frampton and Olivia Newton John, and the DJ table is made from an old TV set. I half-expected Jack Tripper to come stumbling through the door.
As is de rigeur of a Houston Brothers’ bar, there is a secret entrance...through a garage sale off El Centro. The garage store will open when the bar does and sell vintage ’70s clothes, candy bars and even vinyl records at “garage sale prices.” Find your way indoors and you’ll boogie through several rooms including a small stage, various sitting areas, and a bar. In the back there’s an outdoor patio under stringed lights, a full-service bar out of a camper, and a photobooth made from an old VW Bug.
Drinkers will feel like they’re crashing Big Daddy Davey Wayne’s rumpus room. He’s out of town and those mischievous Houston twins have the keys to his liquor cabinet. All the old favorite beers are there, available in cans of course, while five craft beers are on tap and served up in a “#1 Dad” mug. The cocktails ($10 to $12) by mixologist Joseph Swifka are crafted riffs on ‘70s classics, like “Some People Call Me Maurice,” a Grasshopper variation made with cinnamon-infused Vida mezcal, Tempest Fugit creme de cacao, creme de menthe, coffee, and cream.
General Manager Jon Rhinerson explains: “There’s this old joke about a grasshopper that goes into a bar and the bartender says, ‘Hey, we’ve got a drink named after you.’ And the grasshopper says, ‘You’ve got a drink named Maurice?!’” The drink, a giant snifter filled with crushed ice and a mint sprig enclosed in the glass, resembles a terrarium. “There’s sort of an irreverence, an homage to all those cocktails. The Fuzzy Britches is like the Fuzzy Navel but it’s again using all fresh juices and spirits that are available now, not just Peach Schnapps and orange juice,” said Jon.
Out in the camper bar, there are “Choose Your Own Adventure” boozy sno-cones as well as tiki favorites including a Painkiller and Mai Tai to enjoy on those warm L.A. nights.
Davey's Old Fashioned on Tap: Old Overholt rye, sugar, Angostura bitters
Brew-Driver: Beer and orange juice
Fuzzy Britches: vodka, orange peel infused Dolin dry vermouth, fresh lemon juice, peach preserves, creme de peche, orange blossom water
Some People Call Me Maurice: cinnamon-infused Vida mezcal, creme de cacao, creme de menthe, coffee, cream
The Regal Beagle: Plantation Barbados 5 yr, salted pistachio syrup, fresh lime juice, Alvear Amontillado sherry, egg white
Smoke On The Water: Byrrh Grand Quinquina, Monkey Shoulder blended scotch, Laphroaig 10 yr scotch, Angostura bitters, Scrappy's celery bitters
Tiny Dancer: salted grapefruit peel infused Lillet Rose, Aperol, sparkling wine
Cisco Kid: jalapeno infused reposado tequila, fresh raspberry, agave syrup, fresh, lemon juice, dash of absinthe
Eric B Goode: Elijah Craig 12 yr bourbon, sage infused Alvear Amontillado sherry, fresh blackberries, fresh lemon juice, simple syrup, Peychauds bitters
Choose Your Own Adventure Sno-Cones: pick your base spirit and syrup combination like pineapple reduction and gomme syrup
Hurricane: Coruba dark rum, fresh lemon juice, fresh orange juice, passion fruit syrup
Mai Tai: Good Times house rum blend, orgeat, fresh lime juice, curacao, simple syrup
Painkiller: Good Times house rum blend, coconut cream, fresh pineapple and orange juices
And you’ll never go hungry here thanks to the outdoor grill on the back patio where they’ll serve up Texas barbecue, beef brisket, pulled pork sandwiches, baby back ribs, roasted corn all day from open til midnight. Sundays will feature a pig roast.
Work off all that meat by doing the Funky Chicken to the Jackson 5 or enjoy the live acts, be it a local band or a rollerskating show. There’s even talk of a trampoline performance.
As for dress code, it’s a come-as-you-are, California vibe in the day and a put-on-some-pants-please requirement at night.
Yup, Good Times will no doubt end up being your neighborhood bar where you’ll drink Hurricanes on the patio all day and where you’ll end up toasting to dads everywhere into the wee hours of the night.
The bar opens to the public this Wednesday at 10 p.m. Hours will be Monday through Friday 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. and Saturday and Sunday 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. Happy hour weekdays 4 to 8 p.m. and weekends 2 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Good Times at Davey Wayne’s,1611 N El Centro Blvd., Hollywood or goodtimesatdaveywaynes.com. [Website not yet active]