The space that once housed the famed LA dive bar The White Horse Inn is about to have its homey debut-- literally. The new bar inhabiting the space is reminiscent of a 1950's living room, urging customers to get close and connect in the space's many nooks and crannies. So, how tough is it to capture the essence of a Cold War-era platonic American home? New owner Reza Fahim has built, destroyed, and rebuilt the interior space four times delaying the grand opening from December to the new date February 27th, 2017.
Reza dreamt up the concept for "Girl at the White Horse" when he realized his friends were staying in, more than going out. He says drinking at home is so enticing because of its ease. "What we wanted to do was make it as simplified as possible," says Reza, "You can call your spirit and we’ll probably have one mixer with it. Almost the way you’d come home from work and just pour something."
Girl at the White Horse is Reza's second Los Angeles bar. His first space, Tenants of the Trees in Silverlake, took on a life of its own as a nightclub destination as more figures from young Hollywood began to frequent the establishment. It has also been the locus of a date rape drugging controversy. Reza is hoping for a departure at the new bar, "I thought to myself, 'Is this a place where people are going to intimately connect or is it just a space where they are going to walk in, have a drink, and interact in a crowd?'"
The White Horse had a long history of being a community staple in the Hollywood and Western neighborhood. Reza bought the space from the bar's owner Victoria, who'd owned/tended bar/acted as a mom for regulars for nearly 30 years. He says:
She was sort of a den mother. You know, every night she’d give away free hot dogs and free popcorn. Part of something that I really wanted to reflect here was to show people how deeply close this space is to me and I wanted to sort of carry that tradition.
The bar was also a stopping point for LA musicians. Reza says, "Billy Idol-- it was one of the first places he performed on the Eastside when it was called the Black Horse."*
His love of parties and nightlife has historical roots. Fahim's father was the social secretary to the last Shah of Iran. From a young age Reza remembers running around extravagant parties and meeting international figures:
We lived quite an extravagant life when we were in Iran... And now today when I think about what I do, it’s sort of carrying his torch... I don’t want to give it the same weight and gravitas that my dad had...My dad was lucky enough to host diplomats to the likes of Kissenger and when Ted Kennedy came to Iran my dad put together that dinner party.
*We could not independently verify this claim.