Mark and Jonnie Houston (Harvard & Stone, La Descarga) bring all-class to Melrose Avenue with this jazz-age Parisian salon. Reservations are encouraged but not necessary for a small group dressed in proper "cocktail attire," which is the only way you're getting in. Dress code is enforced, the details of which are posted on their site and reiterated on a plaque at the entrance. Inside, blue and amber theatrical lighting illuminate various corners of a parlor-style room. The central fixture is a cozy fireplace that gives way to circular, café seating under a dome that could be construed as a miniature version of the Grand Palais.
Good for: The classiest cocktail outings in Tinseltown. Bring a date and grab a seat near the fireplace before 10pm when the place gets packed and it’ll soon be standing room only when unexpectedly a burlesque bewitching hour descends (literally) upon the crowd.
The scene: A posh crowd of gorgeous gals and fashionable gents trot back and forth from the bar to tables and occasionally out to an enclosed trolley car for a smoke. Sultry burlesque performances bring a temporary mesmerizing hush over the room, and once the performance is over, inspired chatter erupts into demands for another round of cocktails.
The playlist: Smart jazzy tunes by the likes of Sinatra and Dean Martin make up that Rat-Pack catchy swing which rounds out the room, transporting the space somewhere romantically into the past.
Drink this: An exemplary team of mixologists may surprise you with an aperitif not on the menu: Floc de Gascogne, a vin de liqueur fortified with Armagnac ($10). The cocktail list is simplified to feature tried-and-true staples and some ingenious concoctions. Start off with a Sazerac Fix ($12) of rye whiskey, lemon, bitters, pastis and evaporated cane, then get experimental with Le Samourai ($14), a deadly mix of Armagnac, framboise, rhubarb and umami.