A great bar in the place I least expected it…Beverly Hills.
I’m not a fan of Beverly Hills. Never have been.
It is centrally located. Living there I can see getting to anywhere else being ridiculously easy. The homes are spectacular. The city immaculately kept.
It’s the atmosphere, the airs it puts on that I can’t stand, a certain insufferable pretension of undeserved superiority and arrogance, all while being one of L.A.’s number one Tourist traps.
So needless to say Honor Bar shocked the hell out of me.
I did not expect to find a place, a nice looking as Honor Bar is, to be that lacking in pretension and arrogance. I mean for real…this place was comfortable, even inviting. It was a place to stop by and relax. It’s not a place to “be seen”. It’s a place to come and get a beer after work.
It was a little after 6:00 when I was walking toward the bar, I saw the strata of Beverly Hills’ economic divide on display. As I walked, I saw a group of people hanging outside the Bank of America waiting for the Bus home. I felt bad for them. I knew it was going to be a long trip. But that’s one of the things I don’t like about Beverly Hills, the naked class differences, and how proud the residents are to think they’re on top.
But Honor Bar cleared some things up for me. True, there are a group of people who work 9-6, and check out at 6pm. Then there are the rich folks they work for, who have probably checked out well before then.
And the people in between? Well, Honor Bar is a place for them.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m sure there is plenty of all walks of life going into Honor Bar. But the bar was crowded. A College Basketball Game (Duke vs. North Carolina) was on the TV, and people were actively watching the game…that or the Chicago-Detroit Game on the other screen. People were not talking about the latest deal they closed, or the script they hope to sell. They were introducing themselves to their neighbors. They were asking what to order. Seriously, it was the first conversation I’ve had in Beverly Hills that did not involve the traditional exchanging of the resumes.
Okay, granted, a pal of mine was talking Wine, but the girl he was talking to was really good looking. Turns out she knew her stuff as well.
Honor Bar itself is sleek and modern, but with the warm touch of wood paneled walls. Again, an emphasis on comfort. The staff is all dolled up in vests in ties, looking all dapper. And best of all, there’s an emphasis on Cocktails here. Not just your average guy drinking brown liquor before they stumble on the way home.
WHAT SHOULD I GET?: Well, this is a bar, and there was an old fashioned sitting there, just waiting for me to order it. So I got the French 95 instead.
What’s a French 95? Well it’s a mix of Woodford Reserve (premium small batch Kentucky Straight Bourbon), sparkling wine, and fresh orange juice. It was classic and light, not too sweet, and just felt right for the moment. That’s all you can ask for from a cocktail. Loved it.
To go along with it, I got the Carnitas Sandwich, which was not bad. No regrets having or enjoying it. It’s not a traditional Cuban Sandwich, nor did it taste like one…one hundred percent of the way. It got most of the way there, so clearly whoever’s int he kitchen knows what the hell a Cuban Sandwich is supposed to taste like. So that’s good. But the one at Honor Bar is untraditional. Yeah that’s the word. Good, but untraditional.
I also got the Hand-Cut French Fries, which came with the usual assortment of dipping sauces. Ketchup and…oh, what’s this? Spicy Mayo? Okay, that works.
IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP, PEOPLE: Just know going in that it’s going to be crowded as all get out. Even in the middle of the week, it’s going to be crowded as all get out. People want to be here. People want to relax here.
PARKING: Good luck. Parking on S. Beverly is going to be a chore…at best. There is a Parking Lot about a block and a half from the restaurant at 216 S. Beverly. That’d be my first stop if I were trying to park here again.
122 S Beverly Dr.
Beverly Hills, CA 90212
Tel: (310) 550-0292
Sunday-Thursday: 11:30 am – 11:00 pm
Friday-Saturday: 11:30 am – 12:00 am