Hollywood: (Almost) All the Drinks at Grandpa Johnson’s
When I was growing up in Los Angeles, nightlife was centered around Hollywood. I ran around Sunset Boulevard many evenings but soon my friends and I found Cahuenga Corridor’s bars to be more fun. At some point, we always went to Beauty Bar, a bar built around an old beauty shop imported from (waves vaguely) “not L.A.” This is where you went for Pert-green hued drinks named Shampoo and to get a bad manicure.
Fast forward to this year when Grandpa Johnson’s took over the old Beauty Bar spot. It is… completely different! No longer are there the old beauty chairs from Barstow or was it Bakersville? No matter, Grandpa Johnson’s is sleek. It purrs with elegance. It is a reflection of the new type of entertainment in Hollywood. A lounge with good drinks.
The bar program is managed by Alex Straus (formerly Hemingway’s, Suite 700 at Shangri-La Hotel, etc). Many of the drinks are named after the owner’s family giving the list a very personal and intimate feel.
One of my favorite drinks at Grandpa Johnson’s is Seymour. With a mint tea (wait a second… minty?) sugar rim and the bracing minty Fernet, it’s like they tailor made a drink for me. I also enjoyed the warmth of the cognac. The drink is kept deliciously cold with a perfect ice cube in the Nick and Nora style glass.
Seymour – Mandarine Napoleon, fernet, lemon juice, ginger syrup, mint tea sugar rim
For those who rather have rum, try the Crockard with Cardamaro. This is the cocktail you have when you’re thinking about names for your first born. It’s a serious drink.
Crockard – Atlantico Reserva, Cardamaro, cognac, curacao, black walnut bitters, lemon swath
With its deep ruby red color, the Lorraine is a jewel of a drink. The aloe liqueur Chareau and Encanto pisco decided to have a menage a trois with port and the result is seriously sexy. If you like drinks a little bit on the sweeter side, this is perfect for you.
Lorraine – Chareau, Encanto Pisco, ruby port, lemon, rose water
The Decandente seduces you with its delicate pinky-peach color but if you drink enough of these, you’ll definitely feel it. I love how Grandpa Johnson’s is doing tea drinks. The green tea in this is totally unexpected with the guava.
Decandente – Tequila Ocho, Pierde Almas Purita, guava puree, green tea syrup, lime wheel
One of my favorite amari is Cynar. With the addition of vodka and mint, the Albra is a great drink to begin (or end) an evening at Grandpa Johnson’s.
Albra – Absolut, mint syrup, lemon juice, tonic syrup, Cynar, mint sprig
For a beautiful refreshing drink, I enjoyed the Winnie. It’s very delicate with the bontanicals of the gin, aromatic tea syrup with just a touch of fruit.
Winnie – Beefeater gin, Darjeeling syrup, Giffard apricot liqueur
I want to do a new Cahuenga Corridor crawl and start at Grandpa Johnson’s. It can be called the difference between drinking in your 20s vs your 30s.
Grandpa Johnson’s1638 N Cahuenga Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90028 — (323) 467-7300 © The Minty 2014