The very name of the establishment smacks of subterfuge--or at least hints of some mystery. And the facade of Incognito in Reseda reveals little--just a door in a blank section of storefront; no windows, posters or decoration.
Step through the door into the black barroom, lighted with weak lights dangling from a high ceiling, and the mystery melts away. Among the small Thursday night crowd, heads turn to see who's coming in. They swivel quickly back to their drinks, darts or billiards. A thrum of quiet conversation courses along during gaps between the alternative-dance tunes pulsing evenly from speakers mounted on the wall.
THE SCENE: It doesn't take long to figure out that the club is a neighborhood bar patronized by a predominantly gay, mostly male crowd. Couples--or singles--say they go there basically because they like the laid-back atmosphere and dig the dancing. Framed posters of bare-chested men in various poses line the walls; there is little other decor.
THE CROWD: The small group in Incognito on a recent evening was exceedingly friendly and unself-conscious. Most patrons were in their mid-20s or 30s, dressed casually in shorts or jeans, chinos and T-shirts. Conversation flowed easily, and games--darts, pinball and pool--facilitated interaction.
THE ATTRACTIONS: Dance is the deal. A clean, roomy, mirror-lined dance floor behind the main bar was deserted on a recent Thursday, but Vince Cefelu, the bartender, says it's just as likely to be packed any night on Wednesday through Saturday, when a disc jockey spins progressive dance tunes.
THE GOOD: Despite a rather gloomy atmosphere, Incognito has a cheery ambience, sparked by an outgoing, chatty, friendly crowd.
THE BAD: Incognito is an outpost, buried in the middle of nowhere on a dark and shuttered stretch of Reseda Boulevard. There is no place to run nearby for a late-night latte.
THE WORD: "This is where we go when we want to kick back," said Stacie Mulder, 26, of Canyon Country. "We come here when we want to feel comfortable. You can be yourself and just not worry."
* \o7 Incognito, 7026 Reseda Blvd., Reseda, (818) 996-2976, open from noon till 2 a.m. daily. Dancing and deejay Wednesday through Saturday (usually), beginning around 9 p.m. Happy hour from noon till 7 p.m. daily. Darts, billiards, pinball.