Listen to Obi-Shawn’s report now:
“You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy …”
Photographs courtesy of Dechart Photography.
When Obi-Wan Kenobi issued his warning to young Luke Skywalker of the denizens of Tatooine’s Mos Eisley Spaceport, he might as well have been talking about Hollywood, California. Ground Zero for tourists and dreamers of every kind with stars in their eyes, like any city Hollywood has its seedy side. It isn’t often, however, that this underbelly becomes the actual destination.
Nestled between the storied TCL Chinese and Pantages Theatres, down a dodgy and unassuming alley, lies the Scum and Villany Cantina; it’s marked only by a stenciled “94” on the wall, referencing Han Solo’s parking spot in the bustling port. Once past the bouncer — and the droid scanners — and down a twisty and foggy stuccoed hallway, the path opens up into exactly the cantina you’d expect to find in Star Wars — although, don’t actually mention Star Wars, as it is not only an in-universe experience, it is also unliscensed as a temporary, “pop up” venue.
You can tell instantly the environment was crafted with love and respect to the 1977 film. An illuminated horseshoe bar and glowing drinks dispensers serve the clientele, as costumed staff bring signature cocktails like “blue milk” ($12, no Republic credits, please) to patrons. You can choose to remain seated at the bar, risking interactions with creatures that “don’t like you!” or jockey for position in one of the cozy alcoves just like Han and Chewie did while negotiating passage to Alderaan with Ben Kenobi — “no questions asked.” Lasers and projections flit about the room cutting through the misty atmosphere, pulsing to the music from science fiction properties of all types filling the air and driving the conversation to high volumes.
You are, of course, encouraged to attend in costumes of your own, and no universe seems off limits- beyond the Corellian smugglers, stormtroopers, wookiees and Jedi I spied several Starfleet uniforms of varying eras, and even a few Independant “browncoat” soldiers from “Firefly”. You may want to forgo the full “Aliens” xenomorph costume though, as the heat and closeness of the bar will make it hard to navigate the club, which seems to hold around 75 people.
J.C. Reifenberg, a documantarian and filmaker perhaps best known for the Star Wars/John Hughes fan film mashup “Hughes the Force”, is primary proprietor of the bar. He says, “We had a simple concept from the start- to provide devoted fans, like myself, the opportunity to gather in an environment that would inspire and delight.”
And it’s a pretty fitting way to celebrate the 40th anniversary of a little space opera from “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away” without all that pesky hyperspace travel.
After their first successful 26-day sold-out run, the Scum and Villiany Cantina has extended their lease through the end of the month of June. Basic admission for one can be had for $50 and month-long packages like the “Scum Pass” allow anytime admission for you and a guest throughout June for $200. The basic package gives you admission and 2 drink tokens, a souvenir pint glass and a challenge coin which can be used for discounted re-entry during walk-in availabilities as posted on their Facebook page.
For more info on the club itself and this limited time experience, visit www.scumandvillainycantina.com.
Shawn “Obi-Shawn” Crosby portrays Obi-Wan Kenobi for scores of charity events each year, owns two Star Wars custom cars, and is the host of the hit SCIFI.radio live program, “Docking Bay 94”.