Now that it’s all over, the story can finally be told. Like a lonely sailor lost at sea, the ending came gently. It happened in the wee hours of Saturday morning, well after the bars had disgorged their drunk patrons but before the sun had come up. A gathering of angels appeared and the Paradise Theatre, L.A.s first—presumably its only—Styx-themed speakeasy officially closed its doors.
Befitting an underground bar in the year 2013, there was no gangster with a Tommy gun guarding a slit in a door. There was a Facebook page and a phone number. Text a Styx lyric (bonus points for obscurity!) to the mysterious recipient and you’d receive an address to a Silver Lake house with a charming patio, a well stocked bar, and walls painted with visages of various band members.
The cocktails with names like Aku-Aku and Bootlegger’s Son weren’t great but that’s okay. You didn’t go to Paradise Theatre for mixology (Styxology?), you went to hear Grand Illusion and Equinox played in their entirety while sitting beneath life-sized cardboard cutouts of Dennis DeYoung and Tommy Shaw. It was a not-bar, and that instantly made it better than a real bar. You could hear yourself talk. All of the patrons seemed to be 25 years old or 55 years old, but that was part of its charm. Some sort of generational melding. Who could say why?
Since April, two enterprising dudes named Randy and Andy (if their email updates are to be believed) have been hosting Paradise Theatre most Friday nights. Don’t let it end, Angelenos begged. But no one, not even fans as fervent and committed as these, can tie back the hands of time.
PS-Get your Styx fix this Friday night at 4100 Bar, where Paradise Theatre fans are reportedly gathering to pay tribute to the speakeasy and the band.