“May I help you?” a voice bellows from behind an unmarked metal door on Melrose. Once inside, it’s a steep walk up a flight of stairs to a 1920s-themed space with Oriental rugs, damask wallpaper and, of course, a large copper bathtub. To complete the Prohibition vibe, a swig of hooch—in this case fruit-flavored brandy—is served in teacups as a welcome offering. Dave Oz originally brought the concept to New York City, opening the first Bathtub Gin in Chelsea in 2011. He later partnered with actor Joel David Moore and Laura Parkening to open the Los Angeles rendition in December of 2021.
This isn’t just a tourist trap banking off Instagram photos. The creative cocktail list is overseen by Brendan Bartley (who also curated the New York list) and managed by Leah Pupkin, who present it in two sections. The first features twists on classic cocktails, including the Fiore Negroni, made with gin, amaro, Lillet Rouge, lemongrass, sage and violet. The second section is devoted to seven specialty gin and tonics. Try the Malfy Blood Orange Gin mixed with Fever-Tree Elderflower tonic, dried pear and a lavender sprig for a refreshing, easy-drinking sipper. For something more exotic, select the Roku Gin with Fever-Tree Sparkling Yuzu Lime, dried apricot, Umeshu and basil.
The food menu is small, focused on bar favorites—calamari and truffle fries—and fresher fare—burratta and salmon crudo. The white prosciutto flatbread with sunny-side-up egg is delicious and satisfies hunger while maintaining the cocktails as the star of the show . That is, until the music acts start. Bathtub Gin features live burlesque, jazz and saxophone Tuesday through Thursday with DJ’s on Friday and Saturday.
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