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Butchers & Barbers (CLOSED)

  • Restaurants
  • Hollywood
  • price 3 of 4
  • 3 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

Do the Houston Brothers ever rest? Do they sleep? Do they go on vacation? In the past two years, Jonnie and Mark Houston have opened Good Times at Davey Wayne’s, Pour Vous, No Vacancy and Dirty Laundry, leading Hollywood bargoers through refrigerators and beds and closets that transform into covert entrances. Another bar of theirs, Speek, is scheduled to open at The Line Hotel in 2015. But there are only so many secret entrances that can be devised, only so many themes to exhaust. So they took a break—to open a restaurant.

Butchers & Barbers is a masculine bistro on Hollywood Boulevard, with a dark wood bar as its centerpiece and brick walls that offset a retro, tiled floor. The menu seems to evoke masculinity, too; plates of salmon, steak and pork chops from executive chef Luke Reyes (Corner Door) loom large. It's a meat-and-potatoes kind of place: A thick cut of flaky, but plain, salmon comes with roasted fingerling potatoes, as does the finely seared grilled hanger steak. The pork chop, a beautifully spiced slab of meat paired with beans and escarole, was my favorite entrée, bar none. But to say that they were enjoyed is as far as I can go. Are these dishes good? Sure. Are they memorable? Unfortunately, not so much.

Maybe this isn’t meant to be a restaurant where you recall dishes for days afterwards, though. The sides and snacks are enough to impress, like a jar of house-made pickled vegetables that kick your tastebuds into gear with a hefty amount of brininess, or a plate of haricot vert, a pile of string beans with bagna cauda and slices of apple. A whole roasted cauliflower head is sprinkled with brown butter and feta, and is certainly enough if you're here for a bite, a drink and to be seen, which is what a good portion of the fedora-wearing clientele seem to be after. Hey—at least we didn't have to enter through a fridge.

What to Eat: The haricot vert ($9). The house-made pickles ($5). The King salmon ($28). The bone-in pork chop ($34).

What to Drink: It’s not surprising that the cocktail program at Butchers & Barbers is a strong one; drinking, after all, is how most people pass the time at every other Houston Hospitality establishment. “This is one of the staff’s favorites,” said our waitress, pointing to Sons of the Desert ($12). The recommendation was on-point—a lip-tingling mix of Fidencio Joven mezcal and Chareau aloe liqueur (a California-based, aloe-infused spirit that gained a steady fanbase this past year). Slightly more tame is the Greta Garbo ($12), a sweet mixture of hazelnut-infused Belle Mead bourbon, Bénédictine, honey, Angostura bitters and citrus oils.

Where to Sit: Sit at a booth if you know what’s good for you. Avoid the high-top tables, where you might perch awkwardly on a hard stool; or the patio, which is cordoned off from Hollywood Boulevard by a hedge but where you can still hear the roar of traffic. The full menu is available at the bar as well, an ideal spot to park yourself if you’re dining solo.

Conversation Piece: Framed items of the Houstons—pocket knives and flasks and such—hang on the walls; much of the decor, in fact, comes from the brothers' personal collections.

Written by Erin Kuschner


6531 Hollywood Blvd
Los Angeles
Opening hours:
Tue-Sun 6pm-2am
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