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1941 Hyperion Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027
1981 2001

Bob Damron '83: (SM) (AH-WE) *

Cuffs opened in 1981 at height of the Silver Lake leather scene and stayed open until the early Aughts. Situated along the Hyperion Avenue strip among fellow institutions like Basic Plumbing and Pure Trash, the small beer bar had a reputation for being dark and crowded in a manner that fostered a certain degree of camaraderie among its patrons. As the AIDS crisis unfolded and more overtly sexual spaces closed, Cuffs persisted as a laid-back, sleazy hangout. The space was stripped down, with black walls, red lighting and minimal decor. The music was similarly dark and punk/industrial. Sex hung in Cuffs gloom with it reportedly so dark that whoever entered from outside was blind for a moment before their eyes could adjust. This feature enabled patrons to size-up recent arrivals and zip-up if they appeared to be the vice squad.