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Current Obsession: The Drinks And Vibes At K-Town's Normandie Club
Call us nitpickers or details people, but it's the little things in life—and in the food world—that get us excited. Whether it be an off-the-wall menu item, a particularly stylish bathroom or a restaurant's signature scent, we get stoked on the minutiae that makes our dining scene unique. Consider this the sacred space where we feel safe to express our current obsessions and openly explore our favorite things.
This week it's the cocktail at the brand new Normandie Club.
What it is: The historic Hotel Normandie has been rolling out their renovation—which includes the addition of Le Comptior and Cassell's— throughout the past year, and things are nearing completion with the arrival of The Normandie Club.
The hotel bar is a welcome addition to the Koreatown neighborhood, which is already a huge hub for nightlife and eating, but had yet to have many options for serious craft cocktails.
The Normandie Club, which soft opened last week, is a collaboration from the same people who brought us downtown cocktail club Honeycut, Alex Day, David Kaplan and Devon Tarby of Proprietors LLC as well as Cedd Moses and Eric Needleman of 213 Nightlife. You might recall Honeycut as being the home to the wild WineRave phenomena.
The digs at the Normandie Club are somewhat humble—the space feels like a blend between a neighborhood dive and a nondescript cocktail den—and the focus is definitely on the drinks and creating a convivial atmosphere. The cockails are listed as basic classics such as spritz, daiquiri, collins, bloody mary, martini, old fashioned and Manhattan, but each have their own unique twist.
The 12-bottle optics rack for quick pours (Photo courtesy of Hotel Normandie)
There's also a 12-bottle optics rack for dispensing precise shots on the fly, as well as two taps for serving cocktails on draft. What that all equates to is quick service for high volume, something many cocktail bars have a tough time executing when they're busy being precious with their al minute preparations.
There's also an awesome section of the menu called "Spirit Obsession" that features a specific liquor that the bartenders are geeking out on, giving curious drinkers an opportunity to explore some lesser known beverages served neat. The night we went in, the focus was on brandy, and the "weird shit" option offered was a Bolivian distillate called Singani 63 that had the aromas of ripe stone fruit but sipped like pisco. Fun fact: the brandy is part of Steven Soderbergh's privately funded passion project that seeking to bring the Bolivian eau de vie to America.
The South American spirit was wonderful on its own, but even better on their riff on the classic daiquiri, made with a combo of Plantation 3 Star Rum, Singani 63, fresh lime juice, Giffard Creme de Pêche de Vigne and Demerara Gum Syrup shaken and strained into a coupe.
A shot of the bar at The Normandie Club (Photo courtesy of The Normandie Club)
Why it's rad: Reviving historic 1920s buildings and turning them into hotels, bars, and restaurants never gets old. And the Hotel Normandie, developed in 1926 by famed Los Angeles architects Albert R. Walker and Percy A. Eisen, is no exception.
What's more is that the space and the vibes still fits into it's 6th Street digs. Perhaps that's because the Normandie Club's General Manager Daniel Eun grew up in Koreatown, and has worked stints managing PDT in New York as well as The Varnish and Honeycut in Los Angeles. It's the perfect high-low hybrid that I just love about L.A.
Once the team finally finishes the back bar, it's easy to envision this space being ideal not only for casual drinking, but also for private events.
The only shame is that Cassell's isn't open for an after hours bite. Which is just as well, because for the rest of K-Town, the night is just beginning.
How much it'll cost you: Spirit tastings of the brandy go for $5 or $9. The daiquiri cocktail goes for $13. All other cocktails from $12-14.
Where to find it: The Normandie Club is located at 3612 West 6th Street, Los Angeles.