City Tavern‘s downtown location at the FIGat7th shopping center is scheduled to open Wednesday, Feb. 4, with a beer and cocktail lounge that brings a slice of nightlife to the same food court that’s also home to Juicy Lucy, Oleego by Park’s BBQ and Sprinkles Cupcakes, to name a few.
Partners Ken Kaufman, Brian McKeaney and Dave Northrup, whose original City Tavern location opened in Culver City three years ago, have tapped a bartending duo who previously worked at Cole’s Red Car Bar to oversee the cocktails. Cari Hah and Brent Falco have created a list of happy hour drinks ($5 to $6), serious martinis and Manhattans ($10 to $12), and snappy specialty cocktails ($12 to $14). And they’ve compiled a clever lineup of three-ounce mini martinis too (the three-martini lunch might actually be feasible now ...) that cost $5 to $6 each.
The drinks list for happy hour (time to be announced soon), is on the menu under the category “Sometimes you just want … " to which the answer might be " … a Sherry Coke,” with Coca-Cola, Alvear medium dry sherry, orange and lemon zest and Luxardo maraschino cherry, or "... that drink you ordered in the ‘90s,” which combines grapefruit juice, vodka, Giffard Pamplemousse grapefruit liqueur, club soda and a rim of “unicorn tears,” or salt. (You can also get a 32-ounce growler of beer for $10.)
The “Tavern Classics” include the Tavern Manhattan with Rittenhouse Rye, Martini Gran Lusso sweet vermouth, Amaro CioCiaro, Angostura bitters and lemon zest. The old-fashioned is Henry McKenna 10-year bonded bourbon with Calisaya liqueur, Angostura and orange bitters, orange zest and orange peel. There’s also a Gibson, margarita, swizzle and even a Cosmo -- with Absolut Elyx, cinnamon bark and anise-infused Cointreau, Clear Creek cranberry liqueur and lime juice.
Showcasing Hah’s and Falco’s flair and whimsy are specialty drinks such as the Pineapple Express (pineapple juice, Nuestra Soledad mezcal, lime juice, Miracle Mile celery bitters, agave syrup, jalapeño and dried pineapple) and Kilting Me Softly (Banknote scotch, Drambuie, Carpano Bianco vermouth and lemon zest).
And the mini-martinis are what they call “the perfect little cocktail” and come in several variations, including the Tavern Gibson of Beefeater Gin and Carpano Bianco and Noilly Prat vermouths with house-pickled spicy pearl onion and fennel; a dirty martini; a Vesper barrel-aged in new American oak; and three versions of the Manhattan.
They’re not being cute, Hah and Falco say. Instead, it’s a way for guests to experiment with new cocktails without commiting to a full-size martini.
So, meet me in the mall, it’s goin’ down.
FIGat7th, 735 S. Figueroa St., Los Angeles, (213) 239-5654, www.citytavernculvercity.com.