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Honeycut: New basement craft cocktail bar plus disco in downtown L.A.

September 26, 2013|By Jessica Gelt
  • David Kaplan, Cedd Moses, Alex Day and Eric Needleman are opening Honeycut in downtown Los Angeles.
David Kaplan, Cedd Moses, Alex Day and Eric Needleman are opening Honeycut… (Honeycut )

Honeycut, a new bar opening next weekend behind the O Hotel on Flower Street, will match two distinct night-life experiences into a 3,000-square-foot basement. The first is a classic craft cocktail bar and the second is "an energy-driven room affectionately referred to as the 'Disco,'" says David Kaplan, whose Death & Co. bar in New York won the award for World's Best Cocktail Menu at Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans in 2010.

Night-life heavy hitters Cedd Moses and Eric Needleman of 213 Ventures (they were behind Las Perlas, the Varnish, Seven Grand, to name just a few) along with Kaplan and Alex Day of Proprietors LLC are the vision behind Honeycut.

The cocktail bar has a concrete floor, a mirrored ceiling, slatted wood walls, a billiard table, diamond-tucked booths and an upright piano. The Disco features an LED dance floor, raised booth seating and is wrapped in hand-finished textured wallpaper.

"We want that room to have that rock 'n' roll feel to it," says Moses, whose Varnish bar won the award for America's Best Cocktail Bar at Tales of the Cocktail in 2012. "So DJs and dancing and occasionally live music when there's something really special."

Honeycut will have a soft opening (general public welcome) Oct. 4 or 5 and a grand opening the week of Oct. 15.

Both parties stress that Honeycut is a bar first, with music second. The music will be booked by Criminal Music's Tera Uhlinger along with Matt Goldman of MFG Productions and programming will feature local and touring bands, as well as solo artists and established and underground DJs.

"The idea is to have a lot of different experiences possible in the space," says Kaplan. "When we moved to L.A. we were inspired by what's going on out here. The Spare Room, for example, is a celebrity retreat, a bowling alley, a game room and a cocktail lounge that can get dance-y. We are attracted to those spaces that you can't define."

One of L.A.'s most prominent craft cocktail bar operators hooking up with one of New York's most famous craft cocktail bar operators is a dream come true for cocktail fans, and the partners say the collaboration has been a long time coming.

"We started talking about it years ago, and now we've found the perfect space and locked it up," says Moses.

Day is heading up Honeycut's ambitious cocktail program, which is different depending on which room you decide to kick back in.

The cocktail bar will offer a list of 50 cocktails, which might sound like a lot but Day stresses that the offerings are not overwhelming or over the top.

Options are separated by category and represent the many ways people approach drinking. An early-evening tipple, for example, would be quite different from what a person might order at last call.

Day and company don't want to give away too much about the menu in advance, but Day says that a good example of the type of drink you might find in the cocktail lounge is a variation of an Old Fashioned made with El Dorado 12-year rum that's infused with white sesame seeds and mixed with some aged aquavit, Velvet Falernum and a proprietary bitters blend created especially for Honeycut by L.A. bitters king Louis Anderman of Miracle Mile Bitters Co.

The cocktails served in the Disco will be equally well-crafted, it's just the actual work is being front-loaded to expedite service with high volume in mind. So there will be cocktails on draft and in bottles, and other tricks employed to keep the mixing fast and furious.

A good example, says Day, is a draft cocktail that resembles an orange cream soda. It's carbonated and made with Absolut vodka, a lot of sherry and "a beautiful vanilla syrup. It's adult soda as you always wanted it to be."

The drinks, says Moses, "are really elevated. We don't know any program like this that's elevated from the drinks side, but also set for a more kinetic, high-energy environment."

And the idea is for people to have a good time -- to walk down the alley to the bar and not know what to expect when they step inside.

"We're somewhat self-deprecating with the names of our cocktails -- we're hoping to make people chuckle, because at the end of the day it's just a drink," says Day. "We hope it's a really good drink, but it's a drink."

819 S. Flower St., Los Angeles, (213) 688-0888, www.honeycutla.com.

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