Close friends of ours live in Bel-Air. I know. Before you conjur up images of the Fresh Prince, you can actually rent in Bel-Air (hashtag—slummingit). Even though Bel-Air is situated in the middle of the city, it still feels far removed from everything else. So, like the rest of us mere peasants, they too need a local bar. It just happens to be the famed five star Hotel Bel-Air, which my friend Jason described to me as “just your average neighborhood watering hole.” And this is why we get along so well. The Hotel Bel-Air reopened about a year ago as a Dorchester property after a two year renovation and it’s pretty spectacular. It’s lost it’s uber stuffy old school country club vibe (guys were required to wear a jacket in the bar and if you didn’t, they gave you one) and now it feels like it should—a cool, luxurious hideaway where you can escape from the madness that is L.A.—if only for a few hours.
We met up last night for dinner and drinks in the Bar & Lounge. There’s a full menu by Wolfgang Puck and it’s full service, so it’s a (relatively) affordable, relaxed place to hang with friends on any given Sunday night…
Jamie and I love a well mixed cocktail at a well designed bar. Call us high maintenance.
This little tea pot caught my eye as soon as we walked in, which I was told was full of spiced rum.
Past the bar is the lounge, where a pianist sets the mood.
My favorite detail was the Limited Edition black and white Norman Seeff celebrity portraits that demanded your attention upon entry, giving the modern decor a timeless backdrop.
The menu is more casual than the main dining room—burgers (my choice), pizzas as well as a nightly special…
Which tonight was fried chicken and biscuits with sausage gravy. Jason ordered this, but of course I had to sample it…I am, after all, Southern. And, I approved.
After dinner, we decided to have a little nightcap on the patio outside (because today was a holiday…so why not?).
Our waitress was awesome—entertaining us with stories about working in Vegas (then we all decided we were in the wrong profession).
And for those who actually live in the neighborhood, an exclusive Bel-Air card is delivered to your door that gets you 15% off everything and free valet (normally a staggering $18). It’s good to have friends in high places.
Hotel Bel-Air. 701 Stone Canyon Rd. Los Angeles, CA 90077. 310-472-1211