North Hollywood: Getting Drinks by the Barrel at Idle Hour
Idle Hour opened in North Hollywood about a month ago. The barrel-shaped building was first built in 1941 during a time where there were many interesting shaped buildings around town. This style of architecture is known as programmatic architecture, where buildings look like anything from big derby hats to dogs. According to the 1933 Group’s Bobby Green, Idle Hour was one of a few barrel-shaped buildings in LA. 1933 Group also operates Bigfoot Lodge (both East and West), Thirsty Crow, Harlowe, Sassafras, Oldfield’s and La Cuevita.
During opening week, I tasted some of the drinks being offered. The list was created by Harlowe’s Chris Amirault.
Normally I would pass up a cosmo but this one with the rather confidant name of “World’s Greatest” features a nice zingy apple-cranberry shrub and other housemade ingredients including a grenadine. I think the bitters also add a different note to the most ordered drink of the late ’90s.
World’s Greatest Cosmopolitan – Green Mark vodka, apple-cranberry shrub, house grenadine, lemon, Peychaud’s bitters,
If you’re looking for another refreshing drink, try the Mister President with gin and pear cider. It’s impish-girly-seductive and if the name wasn’t inspired by Marilyn singing happy birthday, I want to hear the story behind the name!
Mister President – Ford’s gin, pear cider, lemon, thyme syrup, flamed cinnamon
We sampled some food including deviled eggs, sandwiches (vegetarian sloppy joe!) and chicken wings. I loved the chicken wings! They were so juicy and I admit I may have had 3 of them. It’s finger food, right?
Our favorite drink of the night was the Doctor’s Orders. With both brandy and American whiskey, it’s a blend that’s easy to sip on while trying to count how many beer taps there are (lots!– over 20).
Doctor’s Orders – Park cognac, Rittenhouse rye, black tea, lemon, honey
Chris isn’t working at Idle Hour but he was around when I inquired what drink would I like best and he promptly steered me to the Class Act. Hmm, rye and Fernet-Branca? I think he made it for me and everyone else in the spirits industry. The whiskey cocktail also gets a little sweet kick from creme de cacao and sweet vermouth balances it all out.
Class Act – Rittenhouse rye, Fernet-Branca, creme de cacao, sweet vermouth, orange oils
I always like a good beer cocktail which tends to go well with food. The Buck 45 with two kinds of rum and coffee porter is a nifty one.
Buck 45 – Bacardi 8 rum, Mouth Gay black barrel rum, lime, ginger, coffee porter
1933 Group also “rescued” a replica of the Bull Dog Cafe that had been on display at the Petersen Auto Museum. The museum was going to get rid of it but the Group brought in to Idle Hour (in pieces) and restored it. It now guards the back patio which is dog friendly. There’s talks of doing pet adoptions here eventually. Until then, enjoy the giant bull dog sitting loyally by you.
I didn’t try the bottled drinks or the ones on tap since they weren’t ready opening week but hope to return soon. You could do a mini-bar hop with nearby Tiki No also in North Hollywood.