Photos: Sip Travel-Inspired Cocktails At This New Railway-Themed Arts District Bar
A sleekly-designed new bar in the Arts District offers nods to the location's former historic train station with travel-inspired drinks and elevated bites.
Westbound, the new stylish bar and eatery nestled inside the massive, mixed-use development One Sante Fe, quietly opened its doors this past Thursday. The bar's name, design, cocktails and food serve as a colorful homage to La Grande Station, the Moorish-style, domed passenger terminal for the Santa Fe Railway, which featured lush gardens and was the main train hub for L.A. before Union Station debuted in 1939.
The travel-inspired cocktail menu features twists on classic favorites using locally-sourced produce and housemade shrubs, as well as global ingredients that might serve to inspire a bit of wanderlust. Several of the cocktails, dreamed up by head bartender Dee Ann
Quinones who previously worked at Susan Feniger's Street and Booker and Dax in NYC, feature train-themed names like The Conductor (made with Buffalo Trace bourbon, black sesame, tamarind, egg white, and lemon) and the Boxcar Cobbler (the dessert wine Hidalgo Oloroso, Alvear Fino Sherry, pineapple, rosemary shrub, lemon and celery bitters). Others might serve you well to perk you up after an overnight train ride or just a long day at work like the Pharmaceutical Stimulant made with Aylesbury Duck vodka, espresso and Varnelli Caffè Moka. You'll also find an extensive line-up of wines and select beers. For those looking to skip the booze, there's a non-alcoholic lineup in the Temperance Movement section of the menu, as well as a coffee beverages from Caffe Vita.
Westbound's food menu, helmed by chef Gary Nguyen, will offer creative bar bites that utilize French technique, local ingredients and global inflections, all of which will be prepared right at the bar alongside the cocktails. Think New Zealand Tai snapper ceviche with pickled serrano, basil, coconut, balsamic anchovies, and crispy shallot; rye toast with ricotta, pickled mustard seeds, peas, apples, nori and maitake; or the highbrow/lowbrow combo of the "Foie 'n' Waffle" featuring brioche, espresso, maple, and navel orange compote. You'll also find some sweets like a beet trifle with beet meringue, orange cake, brandy caramel and a spring herb ice cream.
La Grande railroad station, built in 1893, was used as a passenger terminal for Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway. The station was damaged during the 1933 Long Beach earthquake, and eventually replaced by Union Station in 1939. (Photo courtesy of the Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection)
Sarah Meade, the mastermind behind Westbound, worked with L.A.-based design firm Studio Collective and Hamilton Architects to help create an 80-seat space that evokes luxe train travel. You'll find stylish leather Pullman booths reminiscent of a vintage train car, a hand-patinaed, copper-clad bar and beautiful satin brass light fixtures. There are plush, leather stools at the bar, cozy table seating down the side and narrow, train-car like back room, as well as some patio seating in the back.
Westbound joins a growing roster of shops and dining destination at One Santa Fe, which also includes a Van Leeuwen ice cream shop, Café Gratitude and the organic grocery store Grow. The hip hotspot is not without its parodies though.
Westbound is located at 300 S. Santa Fe Ave., Suite N, Arts District, (213) 262-9291. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 5 p.m. to 2 a.m., and Sunday 5 p.m. to midnight. They're closed on Mondays.