Bar and Kitchen Cooks Up Craft Cocktails
Most hotel bars are an afterthought at best. If you’re lucky you’ll get a tiny lounge with a TV blaring ESPN and a bartender who can maybe make a mojito. If only all hotel bars could be like Bar and Kitchen.
Located inside the O Hotel in downtown L.A., Bar and Kitchen is an American restaurant that specializes in market fresh cuisine, small production wines, and, most importantly, classically inspired cocktails. It’s from the same team that brought you New York’s famed Death & Company, so you know this place goes well above and far beyond the typical.
The décor of Bar and Kitchen is slick, black and minimalist, with dim lighting, brick walls and a fireplace in the center. They often show a classic movie on the back wall, which is a nice touch and a conversation starter (just in case you find your conversation in need of starting). Bar and Kitchen’s vibe is that of a cool hideaway lounge. This place is not for one who wants a crowded bar scene or a loud crowded restaurant, rather a quiet evening with someone special or a few friends.
As far as the cocktail menu goes, well, you’ve heard of “food porn?” Bar and Kitchen has what could be called “cocktail porn.” Every drink created here is stunning to look at. The Upstate (sparkling wine, rum, orange Curaçao, lime, bitters) comes in a long glass containing a long tube of ice. It’s almost too pretty to drink — almost. The Ensign (bourbon, rhubarb amaro, honey, ginger, lime, hefeweizen) is also pretty to look at and more importantly has a fascinating flavor combo with the hefeweizen beer blending perfectly with the bourbon.
Two other notable drinks on the menu really showcase the inventiveness of this bar. American Trilogy (rye whiskey, apple brandy, bitters, demerera, orange) is an amazing cocktail. The bartender not only shakes it in a mixer but also stirs it immediately after, making it colder, stronger and immensely more drinkable. And though not on the cocktail menu, I did find a dessert item called Improved Root Beer Float, which is a root beer float but with blanc vermouth and absinthe added to it. Quite an improvement, indeed!
What makes the bar at Bar and Kitchen so great is that it feels like it isn’t specifically designed to be a craft cocktail bar — it just is. There is no trying hard to impress here. These handcrafted drinks feel like they are made neither by showmen nor mixologists — just great people who strive to make you feel welcome and want you to have the best.
Bar and Kitchen, 819 S. Flower St., Los Angeles, CA 90017