If you want a little eye candy with your cocktails, head to downtown. The One Eyed Gypsy is not only filled to the brim with colorful and unique antiques that look like they fell right off of a gypsy's cart, but the former 1880's brothel also features live music and burlesque on most nights. Villains Tavern may not look like much from the outside, but step under the striped big top and the vibe is old school circus -- from the colorful crowd to the bacon and caramel popcorn, this place is way more than a bar. Or try the Edison, which captures the spirit of the city's past. Once an original 1910 power plant, today the Edison will fascinate you with its nostalgic setting, classic silent films, and live cabaret shows [Watch video].
If you like your entertainment retro, Tina visited a few spots that take you back in time to when the fellas were dapper and gals were called dames. Hidden away in East Hollywood, Harvard & Stone takes you back to the industrial times of Rosie the Riveter and celebrates an "All American" theme from live rock & roll to dancing betties and a selection of exclusively American made beers and spirits. Over in Venice, Tina checked out The Del Monte Speakeasy, which holds the distinction of having been a real speakeasy, complete with bootlegger tunnels.
On Laurel Canyon, Kulak's Woodshed has been the place to see and support our local singers and musicians. The vibe is your best friend's basement, the sound is top notch and the mic is open to all, from newcomers to Grammy winners! And drag queen bingo at Hamburger Mary's is at the top of our great nights out list! The campy good time attracts all ages, all walks of life and tons of celebrities [Watch video].
For a truly unique and wild night out, Tina visited the Shambala Preserve in Acton. Shambala is a safe haven for big, exotic cats, from lions to leopards, who have been abandoned by circuses, zoos and people who foolishly attempted to keep them as pets. One weekend each month (during the spring and summer months), Shambala welcomes visitors to take a Sunset Safari, where guests will get to know the animals' stories and enjoy an evening of food and wine tasting.
You can also spend a great night out viewing the planets and the stars up close from several observatories in town, including one of L.A.'s newest at Moorpark College. And making the science of the stars very hip is the Ventura County Astronomical Society. The public club is open to all and their "Star Parties" are a definite must do for a cool night out [Watch video].
Tina discovered some of the best nights out in L.A. are actually free. Weekends bring Grand Performances with free concerts, dance shows and storytellers from around the world at California Plaza. Pack a blanket and a picnic and stake your claim. Or let your inner "gleek" shine Friday nights at the Walt Disney Concert Hall's free sing-a-longs, then step outside and get your groove on with free dance lessons at the Music Center Plaza [Watch video].
Don't let the exclusive vibe of the Hollywood Roosevelt keep you from visiting the Spare Room, which features two beautiful vintage bowling lanes, classic board games, live music and a gorgeous old Hollywood feel. It's just interesting enough to actually make you put down your phone and interact with your fellow game players.
There's nothing more fun than taking in a movie outdoors. Featuring fun films for only $5, which usually include a visit from an actual star or two, the Academy Outdoor Movies are all that and a bag of popcorn. But if you're looking for the ultimate in cool movie outings, then you must experience Devil's Night Drive-In. Think roof party meets movie night, as this underground drive-in takes you to the top of a downtown parking structure to set up shop twice a month in the summers [Watch video].
[Original air date: July 7, 2012]