A New Bistro With A Hidden Cocktail Bar Opens In Highland Park

Restaurateurs Wade McElroy and Russell Malixi (Horse Thief BBQ) opened two Highland Park spots in September. The high-ceilinged Birdie, in the front portion of the lot, serves Mediterranean- and Italian-inspired fare and bills itself as a "neighborhood café," and the back portion of the lot is a cocktail bar that goes by the name Good Housekeeping.

Head chef Joey Booterbaugh says what he serves is what he would serve people at his own home, and is based on the abundance of high-quality ingredients he has access to in L.A. You'll get unfussy dishes that are delicious without trying too hard, and are easily sharable without leaving you and your friends fighting over the final meatball.

In the front, try the hand-rolled cavatelli in the Butcher's Pasta, featuring ricotta, mint, parsley and a copious amount of minced veal and lamb. The veg-friendly Black Pepper Tagiatelle is warm and autumnal, with sunchoke purée, cavolo nero, hazelnuts and finely shaved pecorino. Delectable toasts come topped with heaping portions of mushroom, steak tartare or ricotta, beets and honey. And the star of the show at Birdie is the fried chicken, which crumbles in your mouth like cotton candy and comes with a perfectly piquant Moroccan dipping sauce.

Former Bestia cocktails wizards Nicholas Krok and Jeremy Simpson (now dubbed Spirit Animal) created a drinks to pair with the food at Birdie, like the Feeling Spritzy (with prosecco, Campari, amaro, lemon, bitters and soda), or the tart and punchy Troublemaker (with gin, grapefruit, vermouth, lime, sugar and bitters).

Meanwhile, Good Housekeeping, located in the back, has its own separate drink menu and vibe. There you'll find twists on classic cocktails in a cozy former furniture store that still bears its original moniker in faded lettering. Krok and Simpson's cocktails at Good Housekeeping are inspired by flipping through old cocktail books and trying something different with each one, like flipping a Negroni by using rum instead of vermouth. The Daiquiri No. 1 tinges the original's sweetness with a chartreuse syrup, while the Paloma finds some sort of heaven between ingredients like lime juice, bell pepper, mezcal and Squirt. And a gin fizz gets the holiday treatment with a nice peppermint kick. Small, tucked away and invisible from Figueroa, the bar’s best feature is its intimate feel.

Café Birdie and Good Housekeeping are both located at 5631 N Figueroa St. in Highland Park, (323) 739-6928.