Saturday, November 20, 2010

1886 @ The Raymond Restaurant (Pasadena)


I was hoping 1886 would have been out of it's "soft opening" stage as they have been open for a few days now.  Unfortunately, they are not so they are still ironing out the kinks.

My plan was to beat the mad rush of people at this new bar before the word spread.  As it turns out, I might have outsmarted myself.

I went on Friday around 8pm and while every table inside was occupied, the bar itself was empty.  It was then that I learned from Greg, one of the bartenders, that they are not [yet] offering all of the cocktails that I had read about.  Instead, they had an abbreviated drink menu consisting of 6-7 cocktails.  Eventually, their menu will consist of 15+ drinks - 2 or 3 that you can order as a punch bowl or "a la carte."

I tried The "Orange Grove" & "Wall Paper."  The Orange Grove is a simple and refreshing concoction of freshly squeezed orange juice, gin and tonic.  I preferred the sweet and mildly spiced Wall Paper with vanilla simple syrup, jalapeño and cachaca.

For my 3rd drink, I was bummed out when I tried ordering the Honey-Nut-Old-Fashioned (peanut-infused bourbon, honey and bitters).  At roughly 9pm, They were out of the infused bourbon.  WHAT??  How are you going to run out of ingredients so early in the night?  It is opening weekend and you run out so early into the night?  Did the weekend catch you by surprise or something?  Well, needless to say, I was disappointed when I learned that their would be no Cheerios flavored libation for me.  I went with an Old Fashioned instead and while it did the trick, it missed the spot. :o(

I'm not certain if all the cocktails are $12 but the three that I ordered were all twelve bucks. Punch bowls, of course, would cost more.        

I was pleasantly surprised to learn, however, that they offer a few snacks.  They average about $10 per plate.  We ordered some Chicken n Ham Croquettes.  Aside from that, they also offer Grilled Octopus, Cheeseburger n Fries, Pork Belly and 2 or 3 more appetizers.

The room the bar is in, is really small.  I'd say it is similar in size to the room inside The Varnish.  The room has 6 tables or so and one communal table for 8 people.  Outside, they have a patio with 3 small tables, 1 bench with pillows and 1 patio heater.

As far as parking is concerned, skip the valet and save yourself some tip money and park on Fair Oaks.  There are no meters and plenty of parking is available across the street if you can't find a spot directly in front of The Raymond (the restaurant the bar is in).

I will make it a point to return some time after their menu is finalized.  Til then, 4 stars seems about right.

1886 is inside The Raymond.

 Orange Grove (left) - OJ, Gin & Tonic Water. Wall Paper - Cachaca, Vanilla Syrup & Jalapeño. 

Chicken and Ham Croquettes.

Old Fashioned.

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