Thursday, February 4, 2010

Eat Out. The Tar Pit [Thirsty Thursdays!].

If you've been paying any attention, you may have noticed that I do quite enjoy a fine, well-made drink. Which is why I was excited to try out the latest hip bar to hit the speakeasy scene (and the ever-growing La Brea area): The Tar Pit.

The smallish bar + restaurant is getting hype because Mark Peel--the cuisine auteur behind the beloved Campanile--is one of the backers, but here, the food takes a back seat. This place is all about the drink: from the moment you enter and take in the bar's dark ambiance, to the moment you finish the last drop of your fine-tuned poison and contemplate your next move.

Let's start with the setting. Be it that it is Los Angeles, and this is the newest cool bar to visit, The Tar Pit is inescapably A Place To Be Seen. But people-watching is fun! And especially so in the The Pit's low-lighted atmosphere. It's a pretty small, simple space, but for some reason never seems cramped, even as it gets busy (expect that it will). My compatriots and I were able to grab a cozy table in a corner, and it felt pretty private despite being quite close to others.

But again, the drinks are the stars here. The Tar Pit keeps it antique, specializing in cocktails of the gin, lemon and ginger sort, but I tried to venture out with the Agave Bravo, a tequila drink with mezcal and agave syrup. As it seems, agave has got nothing on tequila. Definitely meant to mulled over for some time to let the giant ice cube in the middle ease the alcohol; otherwise you're in for a rough ride.

Sticking with the classics will do you good, though. The Lil Jig's mixture of tequila and lime juice is a bit on the margarita side, but tasty nonetheless, and the Jamaican Firefly with rum and ginger beer is a winner.

And in the end, this 'classic' thing is what is going to keep The Tar Pit around for a while; it may be hip and hot right now, but as long as it maintains a no-frills, stick-to-the-tried-and-true atmosphere, there'll be a reason to come and people-watch.

The Tar Pit is located at 609 N. La Brea Ave.

-- Chau Tu

Photo credit: Blackburn and Sweetzer (the Agave Bravo)

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