The greatest bar in the entire world is right here in NoHo. It's called and it's located on Magnolia Boulevard near the intersection with Cahuenga Boulevard.
I might be slightly biased, and that's because my wife and I went to NoBAR on our very first date.
We met on a fall Saturday afternoon at the . She was there with her little dog, Ziggy, and I was there with my best friend's dog, Walter.
When I asked her which dog was hers, she pointed to a fluffy, cute little puppy and said his name was Ziggy. I asked her why she named him that. Her answer was the answer that changed my life. Her answer was, "You know, after 'Ziggy Stardust,' the David Bowie song."
David Bowie? David Bowie is my favorite musician.
I felt immediately like something, somewhere in the universe slapped me on the back of the head and said, "Pay attention! I'm trying to do you a favor today!" I knew right then and there, one sentence into our conversation, that I was going to ask her out. And I knew she was going to say yes. And knew we would have a great time together and hit it off. I knew it all right then and there. Whatever power, force or being is out there -- God, karma, whatever your belief — I suddenly felt it there in the dog park. Very suddenly and out of nowhere.
The night of our date was a Sunday, and I was a little stumped about what to do for a Sunday night date, so I asked her when we spoke on the phone if there were any good bars in her neighborhood we could just chill at and hang out and talk. She said she knew a good place.
I was living in Koreatown at the time, and headed over the hill, arriving at her door in Valley Village at 7 p.m. on the dot. I knocked on the door of her apartment — my future apartment. She opened the door and took my breath away.
She looked amazing, but one of the first things that jumped out was that her entire upper left arm was tattooed. She was wearing a long-sleeved shirt at the park, so I had no idea until she opened the door. I don't have any tattoos myself, and women that are tatted up tend to stick to their own kind. But not my future wife. For some reason, she gave the clean-cut guy at her door with no tattoos a huge smile and a hug.
We drove up the street to NoBAR. It was a Sunday evening, so it wasn't busy at all. There were a few people in there, but not many, so we grabbed drinks at the bar and went into the back lounge. We sat across kiddy-corner from each other on their leather seats and spent the next two hours talking.
Things are always treacherous on a first date. One wrong thing, one little misstep, and either person will jump away at the first chance. Anything can derail a first date, especially the choice of location if it’s a bar. If the music is too loud, or the crowd obnoxious, or if it's too busy and you can't get a seat and have to awkwardly stand in a loud bar, things can go wrong.
And that's why NoBAR on a Sunday night was the absolute perfect place for a first date. It had a chill, relaxed, cool vibe, and we were able to hear each other and just talk. With its red walls, leather seats, dim lighting and hipster crowd, it was the perfect mood setter.
There was one moment when I thought I had blown it.
After complimenting her tattoos on her arm, I asked her if she had any more. She smiled slyly and said I would have to wait and see.
To which I replied, "Oh, so it will be like opening a Christmas present."
I couldn't believe I said that. The moment the words came out of my mouth, I wished I were able to grab them out of the air and shove them back in. But I couldn't. They were out there. I guess I was so relaxed, so comfortable, and having such a good time I suddenly was talking like I was a cast member on Jersey Shore.
I don't talk like that normally (who does?) and I think it's one of the lamest things I've ever said in my entire life. But she smiled. She actually smiled. She didn't smile as in, "That was funny." She smiled as in, "I'll ignore that and give you a pass." I realized then, when she let that one go, that she must really, really like me.
After two hours of talking and flirting and having the greatest date ever, I asked her if she wanted to go some place else, and she suggested we go back to her place and watch Labyrinth, the David Bowie film.
We did. And at our wedding last July, we danced to "As the World Falls Down" by David Bowie from the soundtrack.