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THE MIXER

Back to the days before velvet ropes: Tiny's K.O.

October 19, 2006|Lina Lecaro | Special to The Times

BEFORE they were flanked by velvet ropes and burly, black-clad security goons looking for short skirts, Hollywood's most desirable drinking dives were walk-right-in, where it didn't matter what you were wearing, how cute you were or how much cash was in your pocket. An up-for-anything attitude was all you needed.

Sauntering into Tiny's K.O. -- the new bar and grill from punk-rock guitarist Steve Carnan and Porterhouse Records head Steve Kravac -- you might flash back to those simpler, rowdier nights along Hollywood Boulevard.

Paintings of clowns and long-haired ladies in various stages of undress line the wood-paneled walls, while a cozy trio of booths and a bar with well-worn stools offer inviting places to hang out, barfly style.

Carnan, who purchased everything in the place on EBay, says he was going for a lived-in '60s and '70s feel. He also acknowledges that the inspiration for the place was the long-gone hipster haunt Smalls K.O. on Melrose (now Ivan Kane's burlesque boite Forty Deuce). The name Tiny's K.O. pays not-so-subtle homage to Smalls (whose "K.O." stood for knockout), though Kravac, who handles the menu and food part of the biz, jokes their K.O. stands for "kitchen open." The place is open for lunch every day at 11 a.m., serving cleverly named diner-style food, including the K.O. Burger, Rock the Casbah (hummus and pita) and Surfin' Bird (chicken sandwich). Kitschy dishes, loud music and lowbrow art (accented by bright orange touches) might seem a bit over the top, but it's the patrons who amp up the atmosphere.

"This is the bar that Hollywood has needed for so long," says Nicole Nader, a local who comes in almost nightly. Surrounded by a posse of similarly tattooed guys and gals on a recent Wednesday night, the makeup artist raises her voice over the jukebox (Stones, X, Ramones) to say, "I love the music, the people.... I feel like I'm among family here." Though Nader and her peers used to go to the similarly divey Burgundy Room, and to a lesser exent, Beauty Bar, she says Tiny's offers the gritty feeling without the chaos of Cahuenga Boulevard.

You could see an unpretentious place like this in Silver Lake, but somehow it wouldn't have the same swagger. Tiny's location has given it an indirect glitz factor: Johnny Knoxville got in a scuffle a couple of months ago, and Andy Dick recently came in and announced he wanted to buy the place -- news that made it to the tabloids. The regulars couldn't care less. It's the unexpected jumble of high and low, raucous and mellow, tacky and tipsy that makes Tiny's like the rock bars of yore.

Carnan and Kravac looked into other neighborhoods but chose a space across the crowded boulevard from trendy spots such as Cinepace and Ivar. "All these places keep changing and whitewashing themselves," says Carnan. "We want to be that neighborhood spot that never changes. The place that gets better with age."

*

Tiny's K.O.

Where: 6377 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood

When: 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily;

open at 10 a.m. Sundays

Info: (323) 462-9777

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