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Downtown bar holds charity event for autism awareness on Sunday

By Ella Kidron
Published: Friday, August 03, 2012, at 02:22PM

Inside the Down N' Out

Spring Street's Down N' Out bar has a very unique story. Everyone currently working there is part of the original crew that began working when the bar opened about two and a half years ago.

The gritty bar features a station where guests can get their mugshots taken upon entry. Meanwhile the walls are adorned with infamous mugshots including the likes of Lindsay Lohan, Hugh Grant, and James Brown. But one of the most unique aspects of the DNO is its commitment to giving back to the community.

Every two months it hosts a fundraiser event to raise money for a local charity in the LA area. For example this Sunday August 5th beginning at 9 p.m. until closing the bar is sponsoring an event called "Do Good in the Hood" that supports autistic children. The event will feature five local singer/songwriter bands and a DJ. They will raffle off paintings that are part of an effort to bring art to the underserved communities in the area.

A San Diego native, Blackwell who is instrumental in organizing the charity events, is also a singer/songwriter in the folk band Sweat Shop City, which includes himself and Roxy Florido. Their band will be playing under the name "Pills Are That Way"

When it was first getting built, the Down N' Out encountered a lot of resistance from the City of Los Angeles as it tried to replace old railings and awnings to increase the bar's "curb appeal." Every improvement in the bar was built by employees and regulars. The DNO even had local artists come to paint murals once a month on the glass, but the City deemed it graffiti and ordered them to take the artwork down. But resistance has shifted to acceptance and now the spot has quickly become a local favorite. "Nobody wanted us here but now everyone knows us," said Blackwell.

When asked to describe the crowd of mostly Downtown residents, Blackwell said, "It's a very diverse crowd. You'll find a judge sitting next to a chick with purple mohawk next to two blonde chicks." Between the eclectic crowd, pool tables, and pinball machines, it's not hard to see why the Down N' Out appeals to the unique nature of Spring Street.

If you do decide to go and you see Blackwell, ask for the McQueen, which is a secret concoction that includes Jameson.


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