Photos: There's A Tiny, 'Mad Men'-esque Bar Nestled In The Hollywood Hills
While L.A. seems to have a never-ending list of hip bars with long craft cocktail menus, there's a chill and very tiny bar with a throwback vibe that's taking us back to the basics.
As its name suggests, the recently-opened MiniBar—nestled in Hollywood Hills Best Western, next to late-night dining hotspot The 101 Coffee Shop—is a small one. That's part of its charm. The 600-square-foot bar, which is owned by restaurateurs Warner Ebbink and Chef Brandon Boudet (who also run Dominick's, Little Dom's and 101 Coffee Shop), now occupies a storage space that the hotel once used and only has 32 seats.
The design, though, packs a punch. When you walk into MiniBar, you're in a cozy and dimly lit space that is both classy and reminiscent of an old man bar. You might actually feel like you're in an episode of Mad Men, drinking a glass of whiskey like Don Draper. Dark red leather booths line the walls, and the space is decorated with gold-covered tables and throwback leather office chairs. The walls are wood-paneled with red, gold and black accent lines. The bar in the center of the room, which is surrounded by embellished bar stools, is also lined with red leather, including a monogram of the letters "M" and "B," which is also a nod to the hotel's owners and brothers, Melvin and Bernard Adler. The interior design comes from the mind of Ebbink and Shawn Hausman, whose work you may have seen at Chateau Marmont and The Standard hotels.
The drink menu also is mini, in a sense. The bar carries eight classic cocktails with a modern twist, though general manager and certified sommelier Jeremy Allen—who created the drinks and picked out the beer, wine and whiskey program—says you can order off menu, too. It's that kind of friendly, neighborhood spot.
LAist was invited by MiniBar to try some of the drinks. Allen, who previously worked at spots like Lock & Key and Hungry Cat, explained to us that they only have eight cocktails because of the limited space they have in the bar, and that they wanted to make it easier on customers when ordering drinks. It's not overwhelming, and it isn't the type of place that will change up cocktails based on the seasons. Allen sticks to classics, like The Bernard, a kicked-up version of a gin martini, but instead of just your average salted olive (it comes with that, too) it is accompanied by a pickled mushroom from Little Dom's. Let's just say we wish we could have had a whole bowl of these mushrooms because they were just that tasty and a great compliment to the drink.
Allen's thing is to use high-quality ingredients and keep drinks simple. The Godfather 101 is his nod to Marlon Brando's supposed favorite drink, a concoction of Scottish whisky, rum, amaretto and aromatic bitters. As for light and refreshing drinks, the Regal Beagle Twinkle Toes (a Three's Company reference) is a bubbly amalgamation of a greyhound, sloe gin fizz, and kir royale, that comes in a champagne flute. For a sweeter fare, though not overly sweet, Fuzzy del Navel is the most colorful drink of the lot—a fruity mix of brandy, apricot liqueur and orange and lemon juices.
There's also a pretty extensive whiskey sipping menu as well. Behind the bar, you'll find shelves filled with bottles of rare, fancy or hard-to-find Japanese whiskeys like Chichibu and Yamazaki. Those, though, are Allen's private collection and not for sale. He shares them with his friends. You might just get lucky, too.
MiniBar is located at 6141 Franklin Ave., Hollywood Hills, (323) 798-4939. Cocktails range from $12 to $15.