This 101-year old spacious bar, inhabiting the 3rd floor of the Los Angeles Athletic Club has been given a total transformation—a new cocktail program devised by Marcos Tello and Aidan Demarest (Bow & Truss, Tom Bergin's Tavern, 1886) presents a list of eight turn of-the-century cocktails (21th century, that is). Interior designer Tracy Beckmann updated the "old school" vibe with subtle Steampunk furnishings—ropes, metal objects, heavy curtains and globes are folded into the décor, while the front bar features elegant leather couches and ottomans, long marbled high top tables and stools where friends, couples gather after games of squash and handball. The far end of the bar makes way for more intimate rendezvous with love seats for couples and 18th century canopy chairs for top-secret business meetings. Wood walls are adorned with ancient footballs and rackets, lending an Ivy League air about the place, so pull up a stool at the bar and order a classic Manhattan ($9) while you dream of reinventing your own world in the near future.
Good for: A trip to an upgraded old school cocktailing experience. Dressed casually and with an air of confidence, walk in past the check-in straight to the elevator and take it to the third floor. The chances of you being bothered about your ID card are as slim. This is after all a members-only club that’s more gentleman than young Hollywood.
The scene: Gone are the days when the gentlemen barons of yesteryear congregated to seal deals with handshakes and whiskey. The smoking room is now the business center and a younger, DTLA crowd has taken up residence here—quite literally, too, at the top two floors of hotel rooms—to workout then stop in for a work drink or pre-dinner cocktail. There are also private rooms for hire including the nearby Library Room and Wine Cave, where a small fee gets you free corkage and uninterrupted privacy.
The bartender says: The cocktails, you might observe, are inspired by the healthy mantra the LAAC—the uninitiated should note the expansive, five-level athletic facilities—boasts and hence have a medicinal theme, made with fresh ingredients like fresh ground ginger, mint, citrus and proper vermouth.
Drink this: Start with an off-the-menu Brown Mimosa ($9). The Pegu Club (Tanqueray gin, curacao, lime, Angostura, orange bitters and the Dark N Stormy (Gosling’s Black Seal rum, ginger, lime, soda) are reliable bets and well-priced at $9. To accompany your drinking endeavors, browse full dinner, three-course prix-fixe and tapas menus. With dishes that are little too dressed up for their own good, we suggest the $3-$5 bar snacks (think deviled eggs and bacon-wrapped dates) during happy hour (daily 4-7pm).