So, yesterday I’m working on putting together my up-and-coming Master Mixology product section for my 9-5 job (barproducts.com, barsupply.com, barsupplies.com, etc.) when I reach a point that I should ask for some expert advice. Luckily, I have a few people in the industry always willing to make time for me in their busy schedules. My main four cocktail colleagues that I can count on are Robert Hess, Dale DeGroff, Gary Regan, and Tobin Ellis. Knowing Tobin and Dale are busy and not needing a historical story from Gary, I text my long time Internet cocktail friend, Robert Hess. He immediately texts back and says he’s in a meeting, but can help me within an hour and half before he flys down to Los Angeles. I heart Robert.
So, I ask Robert why he’s going to Los Angeles and he tells me there’s a soft pre-press party for Audrey Saunders’ new bar adventure. A Pegu Club in LA I ask? Robert says, no, a new bar called The Tar Pit. I ask about the chosen name of Audrey’s new bar and Robert explained that it was a fun name taken from the tar pit area of Los Angeles where it’s located. The word “fun” perked up my ears. I thought I heard Robert incorrectly. Fun? Fun and master mixologist NYC craft-bar-mixtress and owner Audrey Saunders? That’s awesome! Honestly, I can’t remember the exact words Robert said after this point, but it was something about how Audrey was currently tired of all the seriousness that has been going on in the craft & speakeasy types bars in the past several years and wanted to get back to the fun side of the cocktail. Wow! I love it! I’m tickled pink.
I had this very same conversation with Chad Solomon and Christy Pope (Milk & Honey and Cuff & Buttons) at Tales of the Cocktail 2009 in New Orleans. The first time was after they tended bar in the Laird’s Applejack tasting room (photo to the left) and then again at The Old Absinthe House. I can’t remember if it was Chad or Christy, but one of them looked at me and said they were tired of being so serious and stuffy and wanted to do some fun things like me. I remember slapping my hand to my chest feeling honored. For the first time, one of the world’s top cocktilians told me they liked the fun cocktail side of me. Chad and Christy are the mixologists helping Audrey open The Tar Pit. That’s awesome!
The Tar Pit doesn’t open until mid December. Below is all the information I could find on it. I’ll add more in the coming weeks to round out 2009.
• Partners are Audrey Saunders (Pegu Club), Mark Peel (Top Chef Masters), and Jay Perrin (Campanile).
• Bar trainers are Chad Solomon & Christy Pope (Milk & Honey and Cuff & Buttons). Head bartender is Marcos Tello (from The Edison. Marcos and I did the Tales 2009 seminar, Hollywood Cocktails together with Ted Haigh, Simon Ford and Charlotte Voisey).
• Decor is 40s Hollywood supper club style with some neo-tropical drinks mixed with some Old Hollywood swellagance. Definetely not a pit!
• The bar will use 3 types of ice and even have an ice room. A Kold-Draft double-stacked ice machine that makes 1 1/4-inch ice cubes, and a Scotsman ice machine that makes pebble ice. The kitchen will also have a reverse osmosis system, just for the ice. Block ice will be used as well.
• Cocktail flights, food and drink pairings, in-house carbonation program for housemade sodas, 1/3 of the cocktail menu will be rum based. The cocktail glasses picked out by Saunders include a tiki god with a gun-metal glaze, a frosted glass with a sexy, Barbara Eden-esque genie on one side and a keyhole design on the other that affords a view of the genie’s unclothed bottom, and some ’70s smiley-face mugs for lemonade called “Have a Nice Day Lemonade.” Can’t wait to see the glassware!
• Food will be gueridon service (think fancy room service cart). This is the way I wanted to serve absinthe table-side at a restaurant I opened but was shot down.
• Sunday brunch will last all day with live music. This idea stems from hospitality people having a chance to have brunch. Love it.
I guess if I wasn’t so busy the past two weeks I would’ve known about The Tar Pit before talking to Robert because Simon Ford sent out an email and a facebook post about LA’s cocktail culture from Liquor.com. Just click on the image below to read it. I hope to visit The Tar Pit one day as well as all of these bars, especially since LA has a special place in my heart of being my birth city. Happy Holidays everyone!
Oh, one more thing. I will be putting the Meehan bag in my new Master Mixology section soon! Look at this awesome bartender bag. Inspired by Jim Meehan.
It would make a great holiday present! And the price I’ll put on it will beat everyone else.