X Bar Is a Hit and a Miss

— by Caroline on Crack

It felt like Dre hadn’t had a chance to catch up in awhile so we decided to meet for cocktails, but at a place I’ve never been to before. That’s always the prerequisite. X Bar in Century City’s Hyatt is on my short list of places whose cocktails I want to check out. Even though this swank industry bar has been around since March, there surprisingly isn’t much online literature about it. What’s out there points to the fact that it’s handily across the street from CAA’s newish digs (there’s even an underground tunnel connecting the two) and serves as an afterwork watering hole for high-profile professionals. La-dee-dah!



Walking in, you get a unique enough experience, but it gave us a feeling of trying to be so LA that it’s mocking itself, except they haven’t caught on to the joke yet. Great looking, lots of drinks, but not a joint you’ll be writing home about — especially when your agent is taking 10%.

But what had really caught my eye was the mention of its eclectic cocktail menu. “An inspired cocktail list featuring organic and seasonal ingredients with surprising flavors such as ginger, blood orange, mint, chocolate and red grapefruit will both seduce and satisfy,” read the bar’s press release.

Intriguing. Unfortunately, it appears that happy hour is only til 6pm where you get 15% off drinks. Say what? What time do people at CAA get off work anyway? In no great hurry because of that, we made our way to the Hyatt around 7, parking in the Century City Mall since you get three hours for free there as opposed to whatever the Hyatt valet charges to park.

After some slight confusion as to how to get to the bar (I was following the hotel’s directions which said the entrance was off Constellation Avenue when it’s really off Avenue of the Stars), we hit the spot. Although the balmy evening beckoned us to the gorgeous but busy patio, Dre and I sidled up to the fairly empty bar.

The lights inside were kinda bright (Dre called it “kitchen bright”) especially with the setting sun shining through the windows but it gave us a good look of the beautiful decor. Booths with curtains lined the walls affording an intimate spot for cuddling couples, while the apres-work crowds hung out on the patio splitting appetizers and decompressing. So the bar stools at the bar were the perfect spot for two girlfriends to chat.

But first, the drinks. A small binder with an X on it awaited our perusal. I scanned it cover to cover several times. Hm, none of the drinks really struck my fancy. And for some reason the chocolate/coffee martinis were separated from the other specialty cocktails by the wine list and appetizer list. Perhaps they categorized them as dessert cocktails?

Finally, since I just had Wilshire’s key lime cocktail the night before, I thought I should try X’s California Keys ($12) to see how it differed. John, our bartender, did it up and set this lime green concoction in front of me, sans the almond graham cracker crust that the menu promised me. Apparently they were out of the fine powdery crumbs. Boo.

Wouldn’t have made much of a difference though since as it was, it was barely drinkable. I’m not blaming John, mind you, but rather the key lime vodka used in the mixture. “I didn’t really like it,” I confessed to John after I had made Dre finish most of it for me. He nodded knowingly. “Why didn’t you tell me?” I whined. He shrugged. I just found it too strong, if that’s possible, and overly lime-y. Midori was listed in the ingredients but I didn’t taste it. Maybe more of its sweetness could have helped it some.
To get that citrusy taste out of my mouth, I ordered the $14 sliders — a trio of angus baby burgers (you can choose from veggie, turkey or angus) with cheddar cheese, chipotle aioli, bacon and avocado served on a shiny brioche. I was famished so quickly devoured the tiny burgers. Honestly I couldn’t tell you if they were exceptional since there wasn’t much time spent savoring them, but if there’s bacon, avocado and cheddar I’m happy.

For my next cocktail I debated between the Mochatini ($12 — Absolut Vanilla, coffee liqueur and dark creme de cocoa) and the Double Shot Dutch Mocha ($12), a simple mix of Van Gogh double espresso vodka, dutch chocolate vodka and Godiva dark chocolate liqueur. Although they sorta sounded similar I chose the latter for its double dose of chocolate.

Although it showed up at my elbow without any chocolate flourishes or any garnishes, I liked it at first sip as it tasted like spiked coffee, black. My favorite! It made me wish I hadn’t wasted my time with that first cocktail…let’s not speak of that one ever again.

Just when we closed up our tab, John asked if we wanted to perhaps check out the desserts. “Well, if you’re going to put it that way!” I quickly scanned the offerings. “What are the long-stemmed cheesecake strawberries?” I asked him. “They’re strawberries that are filled with cream cheese and dipped in chocolate.” “Ooooohhhh! Mmmmm!” “Girls always say that whenever I describe that dessert,” he laughed.

Of course we HAD to get it. And even though I was still a bit full from my tiny burgers I had enough room for this decadent dessert. The best chocolate-dipped strawberries evuh! Genius! We bit into the fruit and found yummy creamy cream cheese. The chocolate casing was all right, would have been wayyy better had they used dark chocolate. I wonder if I can make this at home?

So would I come back here again to explore and try out the rest of the cocktail menu? Meh. Actually, I guess if I really wanna go barhopping, like say before a movie at the AMC, I could hit up the X Bar and then mosey over to Pink Taco for margaritas after, maybe even sip a caipirinha on Ummba Grill‘s outdoor patio in front of the movie theater. And then watching a flick among the mall rats won’t seem so bad.

X Bar at Hyatt Regency Century Plaza
2025 Avenue of the Stars
Century City, California 90067 (map)
(310) 228-1234