In 2012, I traveled across the globe to Los Angeles, California, with my boyfriend, John*, to visit an old friend from college, Cassie*. I was having a really great time and Cassie was such a hospitable host plus tour guide. I thought my trip would end on a high note, but instead, it took a turn for the worse.
Just another night… or so we thought
That night started off like any other night we’d spent in Los Angeles. At least 10 of us went out for dinner and afterwards, Cassie’s friend suggested checking out this new underground bar in downtown Santa Monica. It was Ladies’ Night with free flow of margaritas, which sounded like a good deal to all of us, so half an hour later, we arrived at the bar.
I’d never been to an underground bar. I had only seen them in TV shows and movies, so when our cab stopped at an alleyway leading to the entrance, I felt a little uneasy and even told John about it. But John and our group of friends were very excited and told me not to worry too much, and that I should enjoy myself. I didn’t want to be a spoilsport, so I shook off the jitters and braved myself to walk through the dark and chilly alleyway. When we reached a grey metal door, I took a deep breath before stepping in and told myself, “I am going to be okay”.
From the outside, the bar looked like an abandoned building in a dystopian movie. But when we stepped inside, it turned out to be like the other bars we’d been to – dim lighting, jazz music playing in the background, a bartender serving drinks on one side and a group of Caucasian ladies chatting loudly at the other corner. It was surprisingly comfortable and cosy; the music wasn’t too loud and the crowd seemed decent. I felt relieved and my initial fears were tossed aside after we’d had our first margarita of the night.