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London in LA

I had the pleasure of hosting some of the owners of 69 Colebrook Row last week.  Considered to be one of the best cocktail bars in the world, I only had one night out to prove that Los Angeles was up to snuff.  69 Colebrook is known for reinventing the classics as much as it is for establishing modern ones.  Tony G, who runs the cocktail program and is generally a bar superstar, has been at the cutting edge of the modern mixocological revolution.  His originals appear on bar lists throughout London and his ideas are confounding and inspiring bar managers across the imbibing nations.  Only one place in Hollywood could show off the many sides of LA drinking.

The Roosevelt Hotel is quickly becoming one of the premier cocktail destinations on Hollywood.  There are 5 totally different bars being run throughout the hotel.  The Roosevelt is better known for attracting debaucherous socialites rather than culinary cocktail crowd, but there's clearly some overlap in that business these days.  The Tropicana Bar is the typical pool bar, not serious, not cheap, but good for what it's worth.  Public Kitchen & Bar is fine, although I went during the first few weeks and presumably the system has improved.  Beacher's Madhouse is ridiculous, not that I speak from experience, but I think if you look it up you'll understand what I'm talking about.  IT is the final 2 locations that truly bring me to the Roosevelt.  The first is the Spare Room.  With a bar program developed by the illustrious Aidan Demareste and helmed by the wonderful and creative Naomi Schmick, the Spare Room is definitely in the running for classiest space in the city.  Two beautiful bowling alleys stretch down the perfectly adorned lounge area.  While it's always a struggle to get through the door, something about keeping the place sparse is extremely appealing.   Of course you must get through the door to appreciate it, which is why you should call ahead and plan to go on a Wednesday.    With Naomi at the stick you can expect to get the finest classic available.    Unfortunately it's just not cool to take pictures in there...

A stark contrasted to the old school style of Spare Room, the magnificent Library Bar is wedged in the far corner of the foyer.  Small and dark, this bar is reserved for the adventurous.  Probably making a killing on the party crowd asking for Red Bull & Vodka, the drinks aren't cheap, but you won't regret it.  With a veritable nursery of farm fresh fruits, herbs, and veggies, the aromas are intoxicating.  Matt Biancaniello is the mastermind behind this outrageous off the books menu.  Everything made in house, infusions, emulsions, and artisan ingredients make for a unique experience.  Soon, Matt's own sage honey from bees he's raised will be part of the mix.  Creatively named and always ingredients driven, not every drink works for every person, but Matt's got something for everyone.  Here is the run down from last week, they all had names and specific ingredients, but I never remember that stuff.  I should bring my notebook out, but I really don't want to be "that guy."  When you're there you should drink whatever Matt want you to drink.

That's fresh blossoming sage in this incredibly spicy cayenne heavy cocktail...

This is Cactus infused tequila with citrus and fresh black berries.  Just the aroma of the black berry was enough to get me interested, although very spicy drink that proceeded was a tough act to follow.  Super refreshing nonetheless.

This is a Library Bar classic and should be ordered by name if you haven't had it already.  The Last Tango in Modena is Hendrick's Gin, 25 year Balsamic, fresh berries, and a St Germain Foam (this time modified with a cayenne kick).  A modern classic...

Another ultra spicy drink.  Here the kick came after the lovely tang of blood orange juice. Too much for my British accomplices, but right up my alley.

Possibly my favorite drink of the night, this was somewhere between fresh watermelon juice and a Bloody Mary.  Cucumber, salt, horseradish, fresh juice.  Just insane.  I wish I remembered what this was called...

Dessert...Cynar milkshake with a Cynar espresso drink.  A bit much by themselves, but absolutely perfect together.  Needless to say, everyone should have a go at the Roosevelt.  They are definitely creeping to the top of the heap...

-David Girard


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Reader Comments (5)

Those look great! I've got to get over there.

June 27, 2011 | Unregistered Commentersku

Absolutely do that...Library is a must, but go early and make sure Matt is there cause he's a great character. I think he works Wednesday, Thursday, Sunday and maybe Monday. I believe he's just left for vacation however so give it a couple of weeks...

June 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDavid OG


Will there be another tasting event in LA this summer? Wood and Vine was great.


June 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMike

Yes, we're looking to do Buffalo Trace. Keep an eye out.

June 28, 2011 | Registered CommenterDavid Othenin-Girard

I love drink cocktails very much, especially if they are sweet.

February 27, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterterm paper writers

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