Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Varnish (Los Angeles - Downtown)

StarStarStarStarStar

Thanks to HBO's Boardwalk Empire, I was issued a password for a complimentary drink for myself (and a guest) at the Varnish and 2 other bars nearby.  Awesome, right?

We both went "Bartender's Choice" on our first round.  One drink was "Gin Based and aromatic" while the other was ordered "with any spirit and creamy."  The drinks we received were "A Poet's Dream" & "La Dominicana."  The Dominicana was everything I had hoped for and more - by far, my favorite cocktail on this particular night.  I could have that drink all night (or day).  It is that good.  If you like coffee, chocolate or Guinness, you'll love this excellent cocktail.

Our complimentary drinks had restrictions on them.  They had to have Canadian Whiskey (Rye) in them.  We went with a citrus concoction and an aromatic one.  We received a Sam Ross (from Milk & Honey) creation called "Cobble Hill" and a "Brown Derby."  The Cobble Hill is similar to a Manhattan but gentler with a bit of refreshment from the cucumber.  The Brown Derby is a perfect summertime drink made simply with Grapefruit Juice, Honey & Bourbon (Rye, in this case).  Both drinks were excellent.

As a bonus, we were given a free flask which you can see below.  Pretty spiffy, eh?

Oh, and so you know, while the 2 drinks and flask were complimentary, they had no bearing on my rating. The Varnish was a 5 star establishment for me prior to this visit - on several occasions.

This was the first time I had come by on a weekday.  The place was practically deserted til around 8:30 when the piano player showed up.  By the time we left (around 9:30), the tables were all occupied and a few people were at the bar - with room for 4 - 6 more people.  Varnish, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves again.  Surprise! Surprise!    

Oh and GQ Magazine did not even rank The Varnish in it's Top 25 Cocktail Bars in America -  but only mentioned their preference for Cole's Red Car Bar over The Varnish because you can catch Lakers games on the tv there.  WTF??  The Varnish and Milk & Honey aren't even ranked??  Cancel my subscription!!


                                     
Boardwalk Empire - I need to order HBO. 



Free promotional flask.



Poet's Dream (left) - Gin, Dry Vermouth, Orange Bitters & Benedictine.  La Dominicana (right) - Cream, Coffee Liqueur and other stuff I missed.  



Some of the decor.  Light fixture shown. 




Piano Man on Mon & Tues.



Cobble Hill (left) - Rye, Dry Vermouth, Bitters & Amaro Montenegro.  Brown Derby (right) - Rye, Grapefruit Juice & Honey.


 
The back of the receipt.



The Free Goodies. 


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