When one thinks of where to do some fine craft cocktail drinking, Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood doesn’t immediately come to mind. (Well, except for Eveleigh.) For most Angelenos the Strip is for tourists, night-clubbers and the affluent coming down from the Hollywood Hills and Bel-Air. However, IDG’s Chi Lin, which opened up next door to RivaBella this past May, is trying to appeal to both the Sunset regulars and discerning drinkers. Bar Manager Aaron Alvarez (formerly of Soho House, Plan Check and Sunset Tower) has taken over the bar program. He also does the drinks for RivaBella.
At Chi Lin, which has a sexy cocktail lounge front of the house, his drinks are Asian twists on classics; using ingredients like black tea, ginseng syrup, and even a dried Chinese plum garnish. They’re simple, straightforward and not as frou-y as you’d expect a slick restaurant catty corner to Soho House and the Beverly Hills border to be. The list is small, just 10 drinks. “I’m a fan of keeping a small specialty cocktail list. I don’t want a three-pager,” said Aaron.
Sure, there’s the “girly drink” (Curry Blossom cocktail with Grey Goose vodka and raspberry orgeat) as well as the use of big name spirit brands like Patron and Bombay. But I was able to find some new favorites at this hosted tasting.
The drinks range in price from $14 to $15.
The Chi Lin Cocktails To Drink
Now, sugar-rimmed drinks usually turn me off. I’ve had too many bad experiences with them and not enough good ones. But the signature Chi Lin Punch (pictured above) with a swathe of sugar on one side of its glass was well-balanced. Not too sweet despite all that with the sherry and cognac. The dryness of the prosecco helped.
Chi Lin Restaurant
9201 W Sunset Boulevard
West Hollywood, California 90069 (map)