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“a woman walks into a bar…” at MessHall, Los Feliz

on 16/01/13 at 12:37 pm

a woman walks into a bar...

woman-barfinal2First of all, GOOD RIDDANCE LOUISE’S! Hello, Messhall…owned by one of Louise’s owners, Rob Serritella, plus partner, Bill Chait. Names that only matter if you really care about who owns the joint. The name that really matters is the name of the guy running the bar and that name is Erik Lund. Remember that when you want a very very very good cocktail. Erik has the touch. He introduced me to, what has now become a little obsession of mine, Bitters Based Cocktails.

But I’m ahead of myself. I’ve been to Messhall a few times now and the first time I had a chat with Mr. Lund, we were bantering about booze stuff and he said that he would never carry olives and was disdainful of anyone who would ask for such a low-life drink as a Dirty Martini. I had heard about this as my friend, Bea, asked for one and was turned down flat. Dismissed like a cocktail heretic with a Big Fat “O” seared into her forehead and no doubt ridiculed by the cocktail evangelists behind the bar. Well, excuse me for going to a bar and asking to drink whatever the hell I want.

Yeah, yeah, I know the arguments…no wait, I don’t. Isn’t a bar, a restaurant bar to be exact, supposed to serve their clients? I suppose not having olives could be akin to Sang Yoon not offering ketchup or substitutions. Ok, bring your own damn ketchup if you must, but if you are going to Father’s Office, you know the rules. Don’t like it, don’t go. But this is a bar, a retail operation, and I think ‘the rules’ don’t make sense here. If a Neanderthal comes in and asks for a Dirty Martini and you, barperson, disapprove, then guide that oaf to something less brutish. Look at it as an opportunity to enlighten the Stone Ager.

In any case, the last time I was in, I asked about the no olive policy and apparently a customer went slightly batshit over it and olives are now present. Ok, so here’s another opportunity. If the olives on the market suck, make your own awesome marinated olives.

But back to Erik Lund, Maestro Bartender, who during Happy Hour, 4 – 6, will make a Bartender’s Choice for seven bucks. Just tell him what you like and, presto pronto, you have a beautifully constructed bespoke cocktail. On this auspicious day, Erik made me a ‘Fatigue’:

  • 1 oz Whisky: Erik used Fighting Cock Bourbon, inexpensive and perfect for mixing
  • 1 oz  Luxardo
  • 1 oz Angostura Bitters
  • 1 Citrus Twist
  • Shake ShakeShake with ice and strain into a coupe. Garnish with the citrus twist.a1

OMG, a revelation. Yes, you read that right…ONE OUNCE of Angostura. And Erik added a little bartender’s secret to make this cocktail shine. Delicious. Bitters Based Cocktails have  depth and complexity, are not fruit juicy and don’t require a bar full of limp veggies to make cocktails unnecessarily complicated. Here’s a link where you can find a few interesting bitters based libations: http://bit.ly/V8qZtQ. BTW, the picture to the right is not of the Fatigue but of another bitters cocktail Erik made that is as yet unnamed. But it looks very similar to the Fatigue as the Angostura bitters gives the drink its strong color. That lovely foam on the top is the result of vigorous shaking and gives a ambrosial mouthfeel when first sipped. Ahhh.

So, visit Erik at Messhall, start off by asking him for a Dirty Martini and let the conversation go from there! It’ll be entertaining for sure. And tasty.

4500 Los Feliz Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90027
(323) 660-6377