The New Neighborhood Bar: Plan Check
The neighborhood “Little Osaka,” located on one long street in West L.A., has for years been known by foodies and hipsters as the place to go to get your Japanese fix — whether it be for ramen, shaved ice, magna books, even Hello Kitty. It can now also be known as the neighborhood where the awesome Plan Check Bar resides.
For those curious about the unusual name, Plan Check stems from its location, adjacent to the Building and Safety Department, where architects and designers flock daily to get plans reviewed for permitting. It’s a nod to its environment, not to mention a name you will not soon forget.
For owner Terry Heller (a former hip-hop video director) it’s all about “creating a neighborhood establishment and identifying with that neighborhood.” That means an industrial-chic looking joint that serves modern American comfort food but with an Asian bent. And this approach is definitely reflected in their drink menu.
Designed by mixology guru Pablo Moix, Heller specifically wanted “to honor the neighborhood but do it in a subtle way.” They not only have an ever-expanding Japanese whiskey collection (yes, the Japanese do whiskey and frankly they do it right) but they also take inspiration for their cocktails from their Asian surroundings. Their most popular drink, Little Osaka Sour (bourbon, plum wine, lemon, egg white, sugar) really exemplifies their East meets West vibe. And The Tropic Thunder (jalapeno infused vodka, mango, lemon juice, sugar) definitely lives up to its name — strong and spicy. Says Heller, “We forewarn people.”
For you foodies out there, the menu was designed by the former executive chef of world famous Umami Burger, an added bonus. Heller says the staff is trained in making recommendations and pairings, whether it be the Plan Check Burger with the Ronin (rye, Remy, Benedictine, bitters) or their Smokey Fried Chicken with the Bento Box (rum, Spanish liqueur, sake, bitters). Drinking or eating, either way you are experiencing something unique.
Just opened this past February, The Plan Check Bar has already made itself at home in “Little Osaka.” It is the perfect definition of a high-end neighborhood bar — completely approachable in its vibe but still forward thinking enough to satisfy those who want something a little more special. Heller sums it up perfectly: “I can’t stand fighting to get into a place. Unlike most bars in L.A., you are welcome in — not out.”
Plan Check Bar, 1800 Sawtelle Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90025