Until recently the old LA weekend haunts have been on an indefinite hiatus. For the past year young LA residents have collectively been confined to abuse substances and watch hours of television reruns in their living rooms. Months spent without an indiscriminate public location to fuel our sins has really taken a toll on this millennial generation. But, the light at the end of the tunnel is in sight. With the reopening of most of LA’s bars and clubs right around the corner, we can all look forward to getting back to $20 tequila shots, long lines for the “bathroom”, and one-night stands you wish to never speak of. However, there is one factor that we may all have overlooked within the last year; there is another generation on the cusp of legality: the TikTok generation.
We all know the names, or at least we pretend not to. You have the punch-able, precocious man-child Bryce Hall; the alarmingly young Charlie D’Amelio, and of course your dad’s favorite, look-back-at-it, Addison Rae. Until now these imaginary figures have only existed in twenty-second ass-shaking and tongue-hanging clips on our phones. These characters seemed so absurd; the thought of finding myself at the same bar as them seemed laughable. But, like many other hard truths of our recent lives, our worst nightmares have become a reality. These young social media prophets have taken legendary LA hangouts by storm, and they have mobilized their infantile fans to follow them.
One of these hostile takeovers is most notably the West Hollywood institution, Saddle Ranch. What was once a go-to spot for my friends and I to take down beer towers and watch drunk girls on a mechanical bull (thank you Jesus) is now filled with what looks like prepubescent boys with earrings and $200 trucker hats a skewed on their heads. Yes it is true; many young LA residents born after the millennium now flock to this location with blinding iPhone lights just to get a glimpse of their favorite TikTok star. While it is sad to see a place we all knew and loved take on such a drastic change, it is very possible that my resistance to this change shows my own ignorance. What I have come to realize is that time did not stop for the past few months of bong-smoke and the Sopranos for the third time through. LA will always attract fame-seeking teat-suckers, so this city is subject to constant change, and maybe not always for the best.
But what does this mean for us ‘old souls’ that can’t bare this sudden change? Are we now forced to hangout at dockside bars and whisper sweet-nothings into the ears of 50-year old spinsters with Celtic-band tattoos? I’m not judging. But what we should be aware of as we emerge from our caves back into the social light of Los Angeles is things very well may be different, what once was may never be again. And either we join the soy-boy-lip-biting TikTok generation, or may we parish into the abyss of obsolete dive bars and bowling alleys of hell.