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Is there anything better than taking pals or out-of-towners to a hidden spot? Our latest discovery is a real find, a jewel in the rough. 

And we do mean rough. Behind an unmarked door next to a charmless window counter on a dark stretch of street, Lock & Key is a speakeasy serving creative cocktails. It?s a great intro to the emerging Koreatown nightlife scene, even though this bar has negative curb appeal. 

Things get more glam in the bar?s antechamber, when a doorman points to walls covered with antique doorknobs and says you have to choose the right one to enter. Luckily, the door was a bit ajar so we found our way into low-lit rooms decorated with sexy wallpaper and chandeliers. 

We slid into a leather booth and scanned a drinks list inspired by The Great Gatsby and prepared by trained sommelier Christopher Namer. Standouts include the Daisy B., which blends Sancerre, gin and elderflower liqueur, and the Le Fizz, a mix of vodka, creme de mure and lime juice topped with Champagne. Our favorite is the Razzle Dazzle, in which rye gin is lightened up by club soda and basil chiffonade, one of the fresh aromatics picked up at local farmers? markets. 

We?d ask the management to rethink its Billy Joel-heavy playlist, but other than that, we?re staking our claim to K-town early at Lock & Key.

Lock & Key, 239 S. Vermont Ave.; 213-389-5625 or

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