Lock Picking and Spirit Tasting - Atlas Obscura

Los Angeles, California

Lock Picking and Spirit Tasting

A tasting of locally distilled liquors, followed by a hands-on workshop on the fascinating art of lock picking.

This experience is a 90-minute introduction to the art of lock picking, from master Bill Ragsdale.

Attendees will watch an instructional video, followed by a game of trivia where they will learn basic aspects and interesting facts about this trade. Next, for the hands-on part of the program, participants will analyze the mechanism and operation of a traditional padlock and use different tools to open it.

As a special treat, the lock picking session will begin by a tasting of six different spirits, locally produced at Greenbar Distillery, where this event is taking place. This is an opportunity to learn about liquor and to pick the brain (no pun intended) of one of their in-house experts.

While lock picking might initially be associated with illicit enterprises, it is widely practiced as a recreational activity—legal in most states in this country.

After the experience, attendees will take home:

  • a professional set of lock picks
  • a clear plastic practice lock
  • a CD with four manuals and an hour-long instructional video
  • a 4-page instruction set


Our instructor, Bill Ragsdale, apprenticed with a tinker / locksmith serving rural areas of central California from a mobile lock shop. He worked in Las Vegas at a firm manufacturing high security lock products to the gambling industry. He then formed a company supplying electronic door controls and ran it for the next twenty-five years.


  • This is 21 and over event.
  • Attendees are not required to participate in the tasting. Non-alcoholic drink alternatives provided.
  • All knowledge acquired during the event is to be used by guests for recreational purposes only. 


Email field agent Siegfried Tieber at sigi.tieber@atlasobscura.com.

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Advance ticket sales only. All sales are final.