Hot new trend: hobo chic

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What is it about a gasping economy that makes people who still have enough pocket money to treat themselves to a snazzy night out think it’s super fun to play at being really down and out?

First, downtown’s Edison began its completely ridiculous (although admittedly entertaining and affordable) Soup Kitchen Fridays, during which customers are given two nickels upon their arrival to the bar. One nickel gets you a tiny tea cup of tomato soup and a sliver of grilled cheese; the other gets you a heavy-on-the-ice bourbon or gin concoction. Last Friday, the guy giving out the goodies to a long line of giggling, presumably gainfully employed sartorialists wore kitchen whites and looked glum in a little white soup kitchen hat.

Now, in yet another sign that it’s hip to play hobo, the tony new restaurant and bar in Hollywood, Ivan Kane’s Cafe Was, has introduced flask service. ‘Rather than wallow in lowly circles and grumble about the state of the economy, go out and live it up,’ reads a recent press release.

Silly, lowly circles of people worried about the job you just lost! Obviously, you won’t be following your fun-loving, rail-riding friends to Cafe Was to have a ‘bohemian hobo’ flask of Jack Daniels or Wild Turkey delivered to your table in a nifty brown paper bag for prices ranging from $58 to $72.

The press release concludes, ‘Note to the thrill seeker, glasses are optional.’ You mean I can just swig straight from the bottle like I would if I were drinking the same thing on a park bench? Now that’s a thrill worth the extra $30.


Cafe Was, 1521 N. Vine St., Hollywood, (323) 466-5400.

--Jessica Gelt

Photo from the Cafe Was press release