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Style & Living Food and Drinks

This Quentin Tarantino-Themed Speakeasy Might Be the Coolest Bar in the Country (It's Hidden in a Video Store)

Order a "Hanzo Steel" cocktail and soak up the vibe—if you can find it.

By Drew DiSabatino

Breaking news: Quentin Tarantino loves movies. (Duh.) And so way back before he was writing them, directing them, or cameo-ing in them, he spent a lot of time watching them. And in the small pockets of time he wasn't watching them, he was convincing others to watch them while working as a clerk at The Video Archive, a video store in Manhattan Beach that, like most brick-and-mortar rental shops, is now extinct.

But if you think all video stores have disappeared, travel to Cincinnati and you’ll find a surprise: a small brick-and-mortar video storefront still up and running in the Walnut Hills neighborhood, complete with video-lined walls and a cash register. And if you pull a movie off the shelf to inspect it, you’ll find one more surprise:


That's some serious Scooby-Doo-level sh*t.

Step past the rows of video tapes and you’ll find yourself in The Video Archive, a speakeasy dedicated to movie lovers, and named after the video store where the young Tarantino worked, thought about screenplays, and (presumably) ogled feet.

We spoke with the owner of The Video Archive, Jacob Treviño, to get a better idea of what his speakeasy is all about. “The Video Archive came out of the idea of creating the anti-speakeasy. The trend in the bar world has been this phenomenon where speakeasies are always 1920s-themed with guys in tails coats and vests, and drinks so complicated you only recognize five things on the menu,” Treviño explained to The Feast. “We wanted to take that idea and just make it more fun.”

And make it more fun they did. Once inside the speakeasy, customers find themselves in a bar filled with Tarantino-inspired décor along with drink options—like the Hanzo Steel, Mango Unchained, and the Jackie Brown—all paying homage to the director’s catalog of work. Head through a door to the outdoor patio, dubbed the Cinema Patio, and you’ll find a fire pit, outdoor seating, and nighttime screenings of classic films like Indiana Jones, Back to the Future, and Jaws.

For Treviño, the best part of the speakeasy is giving guests a sense of surprise every time they visit: “We want this to be a place where you never know what’s going to happen. It starts at the front, but we want it to continue all throughout the bar, so that there’s always an element of surprise, every time you visit. That way even if the surprise of the door wears off, you’re still never sure what you’re going to find going on behind it.”

Though odds are if you're a movie lover, you'll enjoy whatever it is.

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