1933 Group’s newest venture Harlowe Bar will open its doors to the public tomorrow and, I gotta say, it promises to be their best bar yet. I had the chance to check out the space all cleaned up and put together for the first time earlier this week at a media preview party and it’s just plain gorgeous. 1933 Group partner and designer for the space, Bobby Green, did an excellent job creating a beautiful ode to old Hollywood soda fountains. With the tiled floor, marble bar, old-timey paintings, you do get the sense that you’re in an elegant, grown-up version of the ice cream parlors from your childhood, or at least your granddad’s childhood.
But the thing that pushes this bar above 1933’s efforts like Oldfield’s Liquor Room, Bigfoot West, Sassafras and Thirsty Crow is the killer bar program which not only brought on well-regarded bartender Dushan Zaric (Employees Only NYC) as consultant but a high-caliber crew of L.A. bartenders. There’s Kyle Ackley (Drago Centro), Chris Amirault (Eveleigh), Una Green (Sotto), Jared Mort (Oldfield’s Liquor Room) to name a few. And the skilled team has built an ambitious cocktail menu (check out my post on LA Mag’s Liquid LA) with drinks using unusual ingredients like Kalamata olive jus, Sazeracs in jars and Old Fashioneds on tap. Frankly, it’s easy for it to go wrong but with these guys, I’m not too worried.
For instance, that Greenacre Cocktail with Aylesbury Duck vodka, St. George Agricole, Kalamata jus, bay leaf tincture and thyme served with a side of feta and olive could easily be a horrible drink. One badly measured ingredient could throw off the whole cocktail. But instead you get something well-balanced, savory, complex. You salivate and want more. You’ll even appreciate a bite of cheese and olive between sips and be inspired to order up consulting chef Eric Greenspan’s cheese puffs. Mmmm.
And that Old Fashioned on tap? I mean, how? Personally I love the ritual of this classic cocktail being made, but with the popularity of the cocktail at such craft cocktail bars I can see why they did this. Fortunately the result here is spot-on. You probably wouldn’t be able to tell that it came from a tap. Kyle said they took great pains to get the dilution of the cocktail just right. And, it does have the heat and the right amount of sweet.
It’ll be interesting to see how the place does all filled up. Its collection of bottled cocktails and cocktails on tap will help sate the thirsty masses who will most likely converge here. But I hope this bar crew sticks around because the bar has been set high right out the gate. Plus, pairing this with bartender-favorite Melrose Umbrella Co., which is just a 14-minute stumble away on Melrose,would make for a really fun, booze-soaked night.
Photos From the Harlowe Bar Media Preview Party
7321 Santa Monica Boulevard
West Hollywood, California 90046 (map)
Hours: Open daily 5pm to 2am