Wednesday, August 22, 2012

New Cocktails at Next Door Lounge (Hollywood)

I liked both the beautiful space and the great drinks when I first visited Next Door Lounge and had been curious how they were doing after head bartender Joe Brooke had left, so I recently accepted an invitation to come in for the summer cocktail menu. At Next Door Lounge, there's a doorman asking for a password before you enter. Even though you need a "password" to get in, you can get the password by signing up for their newsletter or making a reservation!

We didn't know that we were supposed to preview a new summer menu when we first sat down so we had gone ahead and ordered two drinks from the then-current menu. The menu was divided into classic and modern cocktails, some of them had been there since my first visit (especially the classics).

The Scot's Pear was made with scotch, Tawny port, ginger syrup, lemon and pear juice ($14)


The Eastside with Tanqueray gin, cucumber water, mint, lime juice ($12). Both of them are a nice start to whet our palates.

After these two drinks, we started trying out the new summer menu. It seems like there's always a spicy tequila drink everywhere these days (and they always sell well!), and Next Door Lounge is no exception. The Pistolero is jmade with Silver Tequila, lemon juice, simple syrup, grand marnier, Angostura and orange bitters and cracked jalapeno.

Even if you are skeptical of vodka drinks, the Light Cavalry (Vodka, simple, green Chartreuse, fresh white grape juice) deserves a chance. Using fresh grape juice, it's not overly sweet and has a nice complexity thanks to the green chartreuse (which I always love). The Lovely Afternoon is another nice aromatic drink that isn't too strong with Genever, Chamomile syrup, pineapple juice, lemon juice, and Lillet. I loved the subtle aroma of the chamomile.

Fans of the brown spirits should try the Outside Fenway (1.5oz Whiskey,1/2oz Benedictine,1/2oz Cynar)
Apparently it was named such because when they came up with this drink the bartender, a Boston native, said he could see himself drinking this all day watching a game at Fenway. The sweetness of the benedictine makes this strong cocktail easy to drink.

Since it's summer, fruits and especially strawberries found their way into a big part of the menu. If you prefer the sweeter drinks, try one of these like The Debutante avec Vodka (Strawberries, vodka, rosemary syrup, lemon, honey) and All That Razz (Gin Citadel, Lillet Rose, muddled raspberry and strawberry, sour, simple syrup, strawberry puree.

There's also a summer food menu, including the weird-sounding-but-actually-really-good Sweet Potato Kale Pizza with Rosemary and Red Onion ($9)
It's not the sweet potato-stuffed-crust of Mr. Pizza, the sweet potato are cut into slices and baked along with the pizza.

You can find healthy (and addictive) bar snacks here, a great change from all the fried bar bites around town. We loved the Kale Chips ($6), I need to try making these at home!

I asked them who the "head bartender" was right now, but they said everyone really works together as a team to develop the cocktail menu and there was really no one particular person responsible for the menu. I'm glad to see they're still going strong and coming out with great new drinks!

Next Door Lounge
1154 N Highland Ave
Hollywood, CA 90038


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