Birds & Bees

Bars, Cocktail bars Downtown Historic Core
3 out of 5 stars
5 out of 5 stars
(9user reviews)
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Photograph: Rozette RagoDesi Arnaz at Birds & Bees
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Photograph: Rozette RagoDesi Arnaz at Birds & Bees
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Photograph: Rozette RagoElla Fitzgerald at Birds & Bees
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Photograph: Rozette RagoPat Boone at Birds & Bees
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From the decor to the cocktails, Downtown's newest speakeasy channels 1950's swank.

L.A.’s love affair with speakeasies just got a blast of creativity. Birds & Bees, Downtown’s newest and hardest-to-find watering hole, eschews the traditional Prohibition-era decor for a fresh, 1950’s spin on this most celebrated bar style.

B&B makes you work to find it. When standing in front of 207 South Broadway Street, ignore the office building and turn left to find the parking lot next door. In the lot’s back corner, a cheery bouncer will emerge from the shadows and lead you down a narrow stairway. Once the door on your left will opens to a cavernous, industrial-chic expanse, you’re now crashing a 50's cocktail party in the ritziest, tri-leveled New York apartment on Fifth Avenue.

The room has three sections on different tiers separated by pillars, à la adjoining rooms in a 70-year-old mansion. The lighting is low in many places, creating an extra layer of intimacy. The weekday illusion of this being your own secret hideaway dissolves on weekends, when Angelenos flood the room with the zeitgeist of a mega-city in the midst of a nightlife revolution.

Vitals

The scene: Take the infamous party scene in Breakfast at Tiffany’s,
kill 90-percent of the lights, empty 50-percent of the people and seat the rest in the lap of 50’s swank. In the early evening you’ll share the bar (and make new friends) with locals from nearby lofts and cocktail heads hunting down L.A.’s newest haunts. The man-bunned and mustachioed mixologists are polite and chatty despite wearing truly awful floral aprons you haven’t seen since grandma’s kitchen. Take a lap to find other early American tchotchkes (an old encyclopedia set, paper weights) hiding in each cranny of the room. The music is big band and jazzy, completing the era-appropriate motif.

Good for: Bring that date you want to impress with your knowledge of the city's most secretive bars. The sweeping homage to post-WWII Americana makes B&B a spectacle that will impress any bar-goer. The 5pm opening time offers the opportunity for an early happy hour with the coworker who also needs a refuge in which to feel safe, secluded and rich.

Drink this: Five seasonal cocktails and five variations of classics round out a full program that is inventive and ambitious. Start with a savory Ella Fitzgerald ($14), a spin on the dirty martini with a base of pickle juice instead of olive. The saltiness is less intense, maturing the drink and expanding its appeal. What’s more, it comes in a tiny, elegant glass Queen Elizabeth would have clutched with an extended royal pinky. The performance favorite is the Desi Arnaz spiced daiquiri ($14). The rum and pineapple-lime combo mixes like a key lime pie in liquid form and gets better with every sip. Witness the bartender sprinkling a five-spice cordial over an open flame to add a smoky garnish. For a heavy-hitting drink, the Pat Boone ($14) is a three-ingredient punch in the face. Pedro Ximenez Sherry and American absinthe overpower its rye whiskey base. One might guess it was wine and Jäger over an ice block topped with only a dehydrated lemon slice for protection. First-time sherry drinkers should share this with a trusting and ambitious friend.

Our tip: If unamused by the craft in the cocktails, there is Bass Pale Ale, Hamm’s Beer, Rolling Rock and Guinness as well as a bevy of mostly European wines (red, white and rose) and a sparkling option. There is no kitchen, but a bowl of Chex Mix or Chicago-style popcorn (white cheddar and caramel) is available for $5 apiece. What else would you expect at a 50’s cocktail party?

By: Brent Giannotta

Posted:

Venue name: Birds & Bees
Contact:
Address: 207 S Broadway
Los Angeles
90012
Opening hours: Mon-Thu 5pm-Midnight; Fri-Sat 5pm-2am
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Average User Rating

4.7 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:6
  • 4 star:3
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|9
1 person listening

Love this spot! Look for the Birds and Bees logo on the sidewalk to find the hidden entrance. The speakeasy vibe matches the DTLA atmosphere so nicely! One of my favorite things about this place is when you walk to the front door and see the bar through big open windows. They managed to make a place feel so open even while being hidden underground! 


The drinks here are awesome! You really get what you pay for in terms of taste, creativity and service! Let the bartenders know what you like and they will whip up something to perfection. There is plenty of seating and the host will do their best to accommodate parties of all sizes! This is the perfect spot to meet with a friend a catch up in a relaxed atmosphere. 


We came in on a Saturday night for my birthday. I'd been meaning to check this place out for a while, after hearing really great things from those who had attended the media preview event.


I definitely wouldn't have found Birds & Bees just by walking past it on the street. The entry staircase leading to the basement speakeasy is inside a parking lot, which is excellent for ambiance but I wouldn't have felt comfortable walking over if I were alone at night. Thankfully I was with a bunch of my friends, and the bouncer let us through in groups of 3.


The hostess (I don't remember her name, but she was really sweet!!) was incredibly accommodating to our group of 9, explaining that they usually recommend reservations for groups of our size but that they'd give us table space as it became available over the course of the night so we didn't have to crowd around the bar while holding our drinks. True to her word, she had us take over the small tables to the left of the bar area when the smaller parties had left. Later on, when a corner table opened up, we were escorted to that section.


We tried the following cocktails:

* Doris Day (bourbon, honey, lime, matcha): Super strong drink which is perfect for me! It was really pretty and I'd like to come back and try this one again during the daytime.

* Royal Hawaiian (gin, cognac, spanish vanilla liqueur, orgeat, pineapple, lime): This one has the cutest presentation!! It comes out in this ceramic pineapple.

* Smuggler's Eye Opener (genever, pistachio cordial, plum brandy, cream sherry, egg white, lemon)

* El Diablo (mezcal, ginger, lime, B&B house cassis)


It was a little loud inside because it was a Saturday night, so I wish we'd been able to spend time here during a more chill night. Really nice atmosphere, kind service, and drinks on point! I can only suggest that they bring in some live music someday; it would be a neat addition.

tastemaker

I came here for an event so my review will semi have to do with that. The appetizers were all great and the drinks were awesome. The only reason I'm giving it a 4 is because it's basically hidden. Thanks to some chill person on yelp that posted a picture helping me out I found the entrance. Also it's a bit dark and bougie for my taste. However, the fact that they make a cocktail based off of your alcohol/flavor choice is super cool and I was all about that. It's a great after work drinks spot!


Such a cool speakeasy, truly hidden as you have to go downstairs and down a secret alleyway to get to the lounge! The drinks have unique twists on classics, and the ambiance is very industrial/underground, with the dim lighting and the throwback decor. Loved our server, Jessica, who was a true sweetheart and rockstar at the same time, with our drink orders for my large group for my party. They were super helpful with setting everything up, and the drinks were great. They have a small seated "living room" area for groups, and also lots of bar area seating as well. They don't serve any food besides some light bar snacks (i.e. nuts or something of the sort), but I wish they had food! That way we could snack and keep the party going right there. There's a line to get in, so you know it's the place to be. Great spot to hang out and have drinks overall!


Though it may be a little hard to find at night, I highly recommend Violet Hour, their version of happy hour 5pm-7pm Monday-Saturday, where they have $8 classic cocktails. The Doris Day with matcha foam is something special. The vibe is ultra moody (read: dark), and you'll feel like you've stepped back in time. 

tastemaker

It's difficult to stand out as a bar in downtown l.a., due to the variety of choices. If you function as a Speakeasy, litterly underground, it must be harder. While it took me awhile to figure out the staircase in a vast parking lot that takes you on the path to find the door with bouncer down a walkway, it was worth the wait. I am an aficionado of mid century modern style. I assure you, if you dream of waliing into the party at Breakfast at Tiffany's, or a Mad Men setting or having drinks with Lucille Ball, this is the place. The period decor offers something chic to look in every corner. The lighting is not too bright and there is plenty of seating. 


The staff dresses in vintage aprons and they provide attentive service. I chatted with one of the servers on choosing drinks and he knew his stuff inside and out. He not only identified drinks I'd enjoy, but he even coursed them out for me. The cocktails totally stand out. I began with the Ella Fitzgerald, essentially a dirty martini but with pickle brine instead of olive juice. It comes with a spear of various pickled veggies and a little sidecar that stays chilled on ice while you enjoy the first half of the drink.


The Royal Hawaiian is served in a gorgeous porcelain pineapple. This concoction includes gin, cognac, Spanish vanilla liqueur, orgeat, pineapple and lime. The sweetness and tartness is perfectly balanced.


The server described the Smuggler's Eye Opener as tasting like an apple pie. If you enjoy the foamy, Pisco sour type drinks, this is the one. It includes Genever, Pistachio Cordial, Plum Brandy, Cream Sherry, egg whites and lemon. The pie flavor is subtle and the drink reads light and fresh.


I look forward to returning to this speakeasy and trying as much of the drink menu, in this wonderful setting, as possible.


Now this is truly a hidden gem, really a speakeasy in DTLA! Once you get passed through the dark staircase and brick wall hallway, you're welcomed to one of the classiest lounges I've ever seen! Such a hip and trendy place and definitely a place I'll recommend it all my friends.


The drinks here are ON POINT! They have a great selection of house cocktails but what I love is their "speciality bar made cocktails".  All you have to do is tell them what you flavor palette is and BAM, they'll make something delicious! 

tastemaker

If you think you're tired of "speakeasy" style bars--think again.  Birds and Bees serves up some of the best cocktails you'll ever try--and there are so many, you'll want to come back night after night.  Tucked behind a large office building, down a concrete corridor, find yourself suddenly in a mid-century living room where cocktails are served with flair and precision.  Heck, even the bathroom decor has 50s theming.  There's nothing dated about the cocktails though.  If you're looking for the best "sweet" cocktail you'll ever taste, look no further than the Desi Arnaz.  For something with a stiffer flavor profile, the Korla Pandit (though the spun sugar maple candy it comes with is a nice counterpoint).  You basically can't go wrong.  Enjoy!

tastemaker

Let me tell you about the birds and the bees - whoops, I mean - Birds & Bees. I love speakeasies and Birds & Bees is like walking into a time capsule. They have a very classic theme about them. Everything is nifty 50's, from the furniture to the staff's apparel. I am a huge fan of everything vintage and I totally loved this aspect. We were easily welcomed to have a seat at the bar and partake in the libations. Lovely bombshells donning patterned aprons paraded around while we decided over our first cocktail.The cocktails are all named after a famed person from the 1950's: Desi Arnaz, Doris Day, Ella Fitzgerald, etc. Each cocktail was creative and expertly made.

The first cocktail I had was the Desi: rum, Chinese five-spice cordial, crème de peche, pineapple and lime. I love dark liquors and the Desi was a good first choice. This daiquiri had a great flavor from the fruit and spices that melded well with the rum. The second cocktail that caught my eye was the Doris Day when I saw someone else's being made. It was a color-blocked cocktail in an etched glass. I scanned the menu to see what it was and found out that it was a bourbon, honey and lemon cocktail with a matcha tea foam. I love everything matcha so this one was perfect for me. The foam was fantastic. The same earthiness you would expect from a matcha tea but with the sweet bourbon finish.

Each was different in their own way, so there's definitely something for everyone. They open at 5pm, so downtowners should make this their post-work watering hole.