Barbarella Bar, formerly Zen Sushi, soft opens

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On Tuesday night, Barbarella Bar (by the same folks behind the Bungalow Club), held its official soft opening.

And while the second floor is not yet ready for its closeup (owners say they hope to serve sushi upstairs later this year), the spacious Hyperion Avenue destination looks to be an upscale improvement on Zen Sushi’s ‘90s look.

Think warm wood and dark, inviting floors with candles everywhere, not to mention cozy studded-leather chairs. DJs will play a variety of music in the new lounge, which seems to have little to do design-wise with the 1968 Jane Fonda film based on the French comic. The lounge has a nice selection of artisan beers and boasts more than 20 micro-brews from around the world on tap. I was there in the early part of the evening (around 9 p.m.), so things were mellow, but curious locals seemed to like the relaxed vibe.

A full bar menu is forthcoming, but patrons can snack on an odd assortment of appetizers in the meantime, courtesy of chef Lance Corealez. Thai mussels in coconut broth with red curry ($10) and ‘Bangkok hummus’ with sauteed mushrooms ($7) are among the offerings. Other items on the limited teaser menu skew more toward typical bar fare (mac & cheese, pizza Margherita, etc.). The bar officially opens to the public on Feb. 11, reps say. In the meantime, feel free to show up during the soft-launch, but be sure to call first.


Barbarella Bar, 2609 N. Hyperion Ave. (323) 644-8000.

-- Post and photo by Charlie Amter