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Now Boarding (CLOSED)

  • Bars
  • West Hollywood
  • price 3 of 4
  • 4 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

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.

Written by Danielle Jacoby


7746 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles
Opening hours:
Daily 6pm-2am
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