Take a trip back to the ‘60s and drink like you have a first-class ticket with your name on it at this snazzy, aeronautical-themed West Hollywood boîte. A mid-century bar is nothing novel, but one that’s inspired by the golden age of air travel? Now that's impressive. Behind a nondescript façade, retro-fab chandeliers cast a glow onto well-heeled ladies and gents sipping stiff cocktails around a stainless steel wing-topped bar. The airplane motif isn't exactly subtle, but somehow Now Boarding narrowly escapes being kitschy. Of course, the real reason to land is for Roger Room vet Will Figueroa's high-flying drink program. Ask for the Ginsberg ($14)—not exactly a swill Don Draper would order. It’s a refreshing, inventive combo of rye, scotch, Fernet Branca, Aperol and bitters that’s sure to make you feel groovy, in case the DJ’s remixed Motown set just isn’t doing it for you. Oh, and don’t forget your bag of peanuts before exiting through the “Departures” door.
Good for: Reliving (rather, experiencing for the first time) the glamorous days of air travel, when cocktails were potent and Motown was king. Translation? Getting tipsy off of drinks made with at least three types of liquor while seated in a full and upright position. If you can’t snag a spot around the bar, there are a couple of first-class-inspired leather booths along the opposite side of the room. Plot your next vacation as you gaze upon a floor-to-ceiling map of vintage flight paths, or get up and dance to what they are calling “retro funk” near the DJ booth in the corner.
The scene: Depends on the night you go. On our visit, a Wednesday at 7pm, we had just missed happy hour ($9 specialty cocktails, $6 well drinks and $3 PBR) and the place was fairly empty, save for a scattering of young and friendly thirtysomethings. On game days, Now Boarding turns on the flatscreen TVs normally hidden behind large photographs of beehived stewardesses bookending the bar. And on the weekends, the bar is packed with a crowd that leans on the more pretentious side. Like it’s neighbor, Bar Lubitsch, Now Boarding attracts trendy folks on a mission to get sloshed and make out with strangers.
The playlist: Either a ‘60s-‘70s playlist—the likes of Fleetwood Mac and The Animals, an in-house DJ spinning rock-n-roll and Motown, or a live band performing jazz standards.
The bartender says: If you call ahead and speak to someone who matters, you can get the OK to bring your to-go order inside the bar. We picked up Golden State burgers for the occasion. The Pompadour ($14), a light and airy concoction made with egg whites, pumpkin tea-infused rum, lemon, orange, and soda served in a highball over crushed ice, made the perfect dessert.
Drink this: There is not one hackneyed classic on Now Boarding’s menu of 15 hand-crafted ‘tails—all $14, with “first-class" $2 liquor upgrades. But the drinks are really fantastic as they are. Order a creamy Fog Cutter, made with rum, gin, tangerine, Applejack, lemon and Orgeat, garnished with a neon giraffe holding a cherry. It’s as delicious as it is adorable. Don't pass up the Jetsetter, a mix of gin, St. Germaine, lime, muddled cucumber and egg whites, topped with a mint sprig. The end result tastes something like a Jolly Rancher with a refreshing hint of cucumber—and I mean that in the best way possible. Not in the mood for a cocktail? Opt for the PB’n’J—Pabst Blue Ribbon with a shot of Jack Daniels—for $11. Don’t forget to stash away your favorite bottle of whiskey for next time in their members’ only lockers. For $600, you’ll also get priority entry on weekends (remember, it gets crazy) and a VIP invite to Now Boarding’s private parties. Only the best for frequent imbibers.
|Venue name:||Now Boarding||Contact:|
7746 Santa Monica Blvd
|Opening hours:||Daily 6pm-2am|
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Average User Rating
4.7 / 5
- 5 star:7
- 4 star:3
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Being down the street from my apartment, I don't come here nearly enough! Pretty quiet on the weekdays but they've got a dance floor on the weekends. The drink menu is pretty great and the ambiance is so cute!
Brilliant design, different crowd, and tasty drinks - the crowd here is different than any other in WeHo which can be refreshing.
I might be in the minority here, but I think the jetsetting theme looks better in photos than in person. But I love what this bar is trying to accomplish. It's a cool antidote to a lot of other spots in the neighborhood, and the drinks—a cocktail in a sawn-off Squirt can? Yup.—are great.
One of the best themed bars in WeHo, perfect for a date night or a full out birthday celebration. The place is decked out in vintage airline decor and the menu goes perfectly with the theme. The drinks are the selling point of this place, a lot of creativity is put in the making of the themed drinks! If you love some hip hop and r&b Wednesdays is the time to go, great djs, no stuffy bouncers and you can also bring your own food from the outside if you wish! This place is a gem and a rarity in Hollywood!
Now Boarding is the bar you want to show off to every friend and family member visiting LA. The interior is so immaculately gorgeous and the cocktails are a step above most menus in town.
Every single drink I've had here has been fantastic, and during a weekday, the laid-back vibe coupled with outstanding cocktails makes this one of the best bars in the city. Service is impeccable and the entire airline theme is well thought out (and doesn't venture into gaudy/tacky territory). If this place was closer to my house, I'd be an instant regular.
Super fun, vintage airline-themed cocktail bar in West Hollywood. It's tiny spot, but they pull off live music and dancing nicely. The bartenders are friendly (but please, don't be a jerk and ask for something really complicated when it's packed on a weekend night) and it's also a low-key and great place to meet up for a drink before things get crazy.