Checking out Bar Centro at The Bazaar + Cocktail Classes
I was at the SLS Hotel last month and stopped into the Bar Centro at the Bazaar. I’ve been for drinks one other time and knew I wanted to come back. Like any bar, I know I usually have a better time sitting at the bar rather than at a table or in the lounge. Although that first night didn’t bother me, my companions weren’t used to the crowd, noise and slow service. I always say it’s more fun at the bar because you can see exactly what’s going on. And sometimes it really is that busy so be patient. These Magic Mojitos don’t make themselves no matter how magical they’re purported to be.
Last month, I had gotten there early. In fact, earlier than they were we open so we were the first ones at the bar. Later as it filled out, spots at the bar became premium. I chatted with a guy who didn’t necessarily like anything other than wine and vodka on the rocks but he loved coming to Bar Centro to chat with the bartenders and to see what they were up to. In the last year, he had stayed at the SLS Hotel over 50 times so he must really love this bar.
We had some snacks at the bar and I decided I needed to come back to experience the full menu or even better yet, try the tasting menu at Saam, the private room at the Bazaar.
I really liked the jamon (ham) croquettes and although simple, the presentation was just so pretty with the frisee and borage flowers.
It had been a hot day and bartender Amanda Gunderson made me a refreshing Kentucky Maid. She asked what I was leaning towards and I promptly answered whiskey.
One of the more well-known cocktails at the Bazaar is the the Truffle Salt Margarita. My friend had one of those while another bartender Connor O’Brien made me his variation. This one uses gin and there’s parsley as well Cointreau, truffle salt and foam. I got a miniature version and it was adorable. If you can’t get Connor to make it for you, it’s also on the menu at Mercato di Venetro.
Trust Chef Jose Andres to not just make regular guacamole. As I had one of these little “gifts” of guacamole, I murmured there seems to be Fritos in the package. Turns out there is a corn chip in each bundle. Ahaha.
More mini cocktails started popping up in front of me. Amanda doubled her efforts and brought by two minis. The guy that stayed at the SLS all the time remarked I might need help but I wasn’t giving up my tricksy tricks. The cocktail on the left in the mini cocktail glass is the Twin Marnier which is a variation of a Manhattan with vanilla infused Grand Marnier. I liked of course but I actually really liked the drier rum drink called November 1939 with Ron Zacapa 23.
These cocktails were developed by other members of the Bar Centro staff who weren’t there but I felt like they were adding to this swinging cocktail party.
Then Connor started making mini Tequila Mules with a float of Chamboard. Oh now, we’re getting the party started. Or moving it along. Whichever.
Bartender Michael Resendez came on duty and I mentioned I had seen pictures of his Chartreuse Old Fashioned which he promptly made me. It’s an old fashioned with Chartreuse instead of simple syrup. It’s mellow and smacks you in the face at the same time. A great drink.
I didn’t get a chance to meet the bar manager Rob Floyd but he teaches cocktail classes at the Bazaar and hope to make it to the next one. There are various themes including vodka, modern mixology (learn to make foams!) and the last one was about rum. The classes are the first Sunday of the month from 6 to 7 PM. The class is $75 and a 25% discount is included for dinner after the class.
The Bazaar at the SLS Hotel465 S La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90048 — (310) 246-5567 © The Minty 2013