by Kim Tronic, Resident Cocktail Mistress…
I’m no fan of hotel bars in Los Angeles — too much pretension and plastic surgery. But when a friend brought me to The Culver Hotel, my apprehension melted away.
Filled with locals and tourists, the lobby bar welcomes its customers with a flowing serenade of jazz tunes by the Mark Alan Group, who’ve played Saturday nights there for the last 5 years.
A classic film projected onto the wall behind the band provides the perfect backdrop for Culver’s glammy vintage Hollywood-cinema vibe.
The gigantic bookcase, sweeping curtains, and antique furniture make you wonder if you stepped into an old library that sells cocktails. (Now that would be a reason to read more.)
The Culver Hotel’s rich history matches its ornate décor. Opened in 1924 as Hotel Hunt, the Culver has hosted legendary film stars, like the cast of “Gone With The Wind” and, most notably, all 100+ munchkins from the “Wizard Of Oz.” The historic hotel nearly shut down in the 80s, then underwent serious renovations and upgrades in 2007 to earn its current 4-star rating.
And the Culver Hotel’s cocktails are reminiscent of a drink menu unearthed from decades prior. The inspiration behind the libations runs deeper than just a desire to serve artisanal intoxicants. As the menu explains:
“One of the world’s ancient professions, bartending, dates back 2,000 years. These masters of the craft were creating concoctions and libations that defined the art itself. However, when Prohibition came in 1929, these artists were forced to flee to other countries and continents. Alas, the art was lost at a time when it was most valuable…The drinks here represent our reclamation of the lost art of the cocktail with a modern twist on Classic Prohibition Cocktails.”
After sipping a few items on the list, I settled on one such delight, which was created “to honor the 8th Ward of Boston for its loyalty to Anti-Prohibition legislation…and anybody who tried to keep them from drinking!”
2 ounces Bulleit Bourbon
.75 ounces fresh lemon juice
.75 ounces orange juice
You’ll first taste a smooth blast of orange, then a tantalizing tartness, kinda like an adult Snapple.
And after you’ve celebrated the end of Prohibition with a couple of Ward Eights, break out your paranormal investigation gear: rumor has it that some supernatural characters still roam the premises. So if you dare, come enjoy the bright flavor of Culver Hotel drinks — and keep an eye out for their other spirits.