..::Phone Home::..


Business in the front, party Backstage
July 28, 2009, 5:06 am
Filed under: American, Booze, Full Bar, Grub | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Weeks have passed as I traveled across the pond to Greece, split the Black Sea to Ukraine, and motored through the Bosphorous to Istanbul, but I won’t bore you with tales of my journey 8)

Backstage

Maximum 3====D
Food 3=D
Beer 3==D
Service N/A
Atmosphere 3==D
Eye Candy 3===D

My return to LA also meant my return to homeostasis – bar hopping. Upon arrival I found myself rooted at Backstage Bar in Culver City for some drinks and pub fare. Sort of a “Welcome Back to America” night if you will. What I didn’t know was that it was also Karaoke Night at Backstage. Upon hearing this I almost immediately bolted. Don’t get me wrong, I think singing and dancing is a vital part of social interaction, but I am completely and irreparably tone deaf. Not to mention that the sound of drunkards belting out off-notes to ancient power ballads requires a certain BAL that I had yet to reach. Nonetheless, curious to see why every table in the joint was reserved, I stayed to have some grub and watch the night unfold.

Standard bar items like quesadillas, onion rings, and fries line the menu. Certainly nothing to call home about, but the food is greasy and does a good job of coating your insides for a night of heavy boozing – which of course goes hand-in-hand with karaoke for us Westerners.

After putting down a few Glenmorangies with my steak quesadilla and onion rings, people began filing in and the place quickly filled. Karaoke started somewhere between 5 and 6…drinks. I think it was somewhere around 9:30pm. To my pleasant surprise, there were some patrons that could actually sing and were even enjoyable. The place wasn’t La Cita packed but since I was comfortably perched on my stool at the bar I can’t be certain how hard it was to get a drink. Atmosphere was casual, fun and aptly putting out a “Let’s Get Drunk and Screw” vibe. Overall it was a good time worthy of going back with a group and consuming copious amounts of alcohol; I would go somewhere else beforehand for food.

After I had my fill of the local American Idol contest, I made my way over to Lost & Found around the corner on National

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Silverlake Barbarella
June 19, 2009, 6:16 pm
Filed under: American, Beer, Booze, Grub, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Barbarella taps

Maximum 3====D
Food 3==D
Beer 3====D
Service 3==D
Atmosphere 3===D
Eye Candy 3===D

The same people that opened the Bungalow Club bring a beer haven to Silverlake in the form of Barbarella Bar. The name may evoke images of surreal space scenery with shiny outfits and phallic rockets reminiscent of the movie…don’t worry, it’s not that tacky. The place is spacious and pretty massive sprawling 4300 square feet with high ceilings so elbow room is plentiful.

There isn’t much wow factor to the menu but ingredients are fresh and local when possible which is a plus. The fare is pretty standard consisting of some appies like modified bruschettas and Ahi Tar Tar, both of which were good but not “OMG I just creamed my pants” good. Items like pumpkin ravioli, mac & cheese, burgers and pizza comprise the entree section. While this is far from the most innovative menu in town, it is accessible and gets the job done for a decent price with quality ingredients. The mac & cheese hits the spot.

Bartenders and servers are attractive, friendly and maintain the leather and heels sort of ambiance. However, their knowledge on the available taps is disappointing to say the least. I didn’t order wine so I can’t speak to their level of expertise in that sense, but when I ask if a beer is on nitro I don’t expect bewildered looks from both server and bartender. Nonetheless, their tap selection is impressive with about 25 varieties ranging from SoCal hop to Belgian malt. I had the Old Rasputin on nitro which was tight, but I wouldn’t have known had I been relying on the staff to tell me.

For those of you curious about this nitro nonsense, here’s the skinny: Conventionally beers are carbon dioxide carbonated. On nitrogen the bubbles are finer and make for a creamier, softer mouth feel (that’s what she said) typically used with stouts and porters.

Overall, I would say that the tap selection is the big draw while the food is mildly above pedestrian and the price point is reasonable for both. The majority female staff balances the heavily male population of the East LA scene while providing enjoyable scenery and ample opportunity for light conversation. Will definitely go back for drinks, but dinner would mostly be out of convenience.

  • Don’t expect the staff to know much about their beers
  • Service is friendly pleasant to look at
  • Good place for a group to meet or to start/end the night
  • Again, more of a group spot than a date thing
  • I saw Keanu Reeves and his beard there