Is It Any Good?

A Wine Bar-slash-Bar Bar in the hip part of Los Feliz.

Bar Covell on Urbanspoon
Covell Wine Bar on Foodio54

Things slip past me, and…frankly that’s inexcusable. After all, I’m a food writer, food blogger, and I’m supposed to know what the hell is going on whichwaywhere.

My friend Jonathan on the other hand? His thing is wine. He’s supposed to know fermented grapes like the back of his hand. He’s even contributed here once or twice.

So for him to miss out on a good wine bar for…what? Five years? That’s just wrong. Wrongs I say!!

A trip into the wilds of Los Feliz has brought the both of us to Bar Covell, his recommendation after all. I figure why not. It’s right across the street from another Umami Burger. It’s directly across from Wacko Soap Plant. It’s a neighborhood I used to frequent when I could, back in the day when Cobras Y Matadors was the chic place in Los Angeles.

That was a while ago.

Now, the only thing I can’t tell from looking at Bar Covell is…is it just a Bar or is it a Bar and a Restaurant, and a Hotel. I mean the sign does say Sip and Stay.

Screw it. Who cares. I’m here for a spot of the grape, and…so far, I’m really liking what I’m seeing.

This place may just be one of the great date places in a neighborhood built to have great date places. The space is small and intimate, some place you can come in, just relax, have a bite, have a conversation…with the guys, with your date, hell, with the Bartender. It’s got a ratio I like to see in my restaurants and hangouts. The comfort level is high, the attitude level is low. As in zero. Nada. Doesn’t have it.

You know what else is missing (and trust me this is a good thing also?) Wine lists.

No, you read that right.

Looks like there’s no escaping it. You’re going to have to have a conversation with your bartender, because Bar Covell doesn’t maintain wine lists.

Nope. Nada. Doesn’t do it.

What does this mean? Okay, start by at the least by saying “Hi” or “Hello”.

And then describe what you’re the mood for. If you don’t know that, then describe something that you’ve liked in the past, be it beer, wine or grub. Your Bartender will then suggest something. you’ve get a little bit to taste, and see if it’s something you want a glass off. It’s pretty much standard practice if you’ve gone to a lot of tastings or Wine bars in your time. After that, sit back enjoy. Order some food. Talk to your friends (or date). Make a night of it.

 

WHAT SHOULD I GET?: Okay, you’re thinking…Wine Bar, so…Wine.

But of course. But better than letting me tell you what I got, go ahead and let the Staff at the Bar make their suggestions (As you just read above). Theirs will be better anyway.

As far as food goes, Bar Covell goes off on its own direction. And of course, the first thing I see, the that draws my attention the most in the fancy, romantic and intimate Wine Bar, are the Tater Tots (Hush Puppies for those of you from the East Coast) with Heinz-57/Sriracha dipping sauce.

You read that right. Tater TotsHeinz 57 sauce…and Sriracha. All at once. All together.

Someone had to do it sooner or later, as America goes Sriracha mad.

Lightly breaded, gently fried. These little suckers were already pretty tasty, but the addition of the Heinz 57 an Sriracha just made things heavenly. These will be a regular part of what I have at Bar Covell next time I go there.

And there will be a next time.

But man cannot live on Tater Tots alone…though many a preschooler has tried

For Dinner I went with the a Croque Monsieur, a traditional traditional French Sandwich, this one made with smoked ham, Swiss Cheese and Béchamel Sauce. If you were in your own kitchen, you’d put the ingredients together on good bread, toast it all together in a pan until it’s a melty golden brown. Well, they did that here, except it’s a perfect golden brown. It wasn’t just good bread, it was really, really good bread. Perfectly toasted, perfectly crumbly. Both the Swiss and the Béchamel danced well together, in a…in a..–

Screw it. This was a great sandwich. Period. There are a couple of things on the menu I’d like to try (the Croque Provencal for one), but it’s going to be hard to resist going back this Croque Monsieur.

Bar Covell

IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP PEOPLE: I will warn you that Bar Covell is in the hipster part of Los Felix. And here I thought Los Felix was the hipster part of Hollywood.

My main recommendation (and main safety tip) is just…well…not to be jerk. Not that that’s going to be a problem for you. At least I hope. Just make sure you don’t behave in a way that gets you labeled a d@#$ in the minds of the staff, since you’re going to need Wine and Beer recommendations from them.

Other than that, you’re going to walk in there, and see how mellow the vibe is. Don’t screw with that. Get along, and you’ll have a great time.

One of things you can do is play Hollywood Blvd hopscotch. Visit wacko. Have a drink here. Dine here on small plates or get a burger at Umami across the street. You have a lot of options in this neighborhood.

 

PARKING: Parking along here is a little difficult. This part of Hollywood Blvd., we’re talking either Meters or Valet.

The Meters are a bit of a crap shoot. You’d best get there as close to 6:00 (or whenever the meters expire) in order to snag yourself a space. The longer you wait, the further rand further away from Bar Covell you will be. Which is not too bad. It’s a nice neighborhood, but this part of Hollywood Blvd. is busy and crossing the street to get to the other side might make you feel you’re playing a live action version of Frogger.

With you as the Frog.

Short of that, try the Valet in front of Bar Covell. I managed to get myself a Metered space that night, and didn’t get a chance to check the price, but the Valet is there.

Failing both for those…well…you could try the Chase Bank a couple doors down from Bar Covell. After 6pm the branch is closed. I don’t know if the Valet Service is using it, but it serves as a paid lot at night, with one of those unmanned boxes to dump your money into. I’m not sure how it works. I’m not sure who’s minding it. I’m not even sure someone is collecting the money, but…it’s an option.

 

MAP DIRECTIONS:
Bar Covell
4628 Hollywood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90027

Tel: (323) 660-4400

Hours:
Sunday-Thursday: 5:00 pm – 12:00 am
Friday-Saturday: 5:00 pm – 2:00 am