A few weeks ago, we wrote about the seemingly historic Writer’s Room opening back up in Hollywood behind Musso & Frank. After a splendid meal at Musso & Frank last night, we decided to check out the small cocktail lounge and were surprised, but I’m not sure if you could say it was a pleasant surprise.
First things first: this place feels like you are walking into a Moroccan vampire den, guarded by a small girl in a North Face jacket and a large bouncer both freezing their lives away without heaters. They greeted us as we walked up, we asked we were at the correct place, to which they replied, “Are you on the list?” Well, it’s a Tuesday night, there is no line, and no one is here: no, we are not on a list. They then kindly asked if we had been there before, we said we had not, and then they let us in. It was a strange exchange but, hey, that must be part of their deal.
Once you walk in the gate, you walk down the said Moroccan outdoor area, which makes you feel like you are in Casablanca. The inside is not the same though: lots of leather, silhouette wallpaper (that we joked were made by Kara Walker), yellow glowing lights, and a crazy (read: all over the place) mix of music. We stood at the bar, admiring the menu, taking in the cocktails and waitstaff who are all dressed in–you guessed it–funny vampire clothes. The song that was playing even unleashed a scream before switching to 1960s pop and 1970s post-punk, in a move most confusing. The bouncing Supper Club logo on the computer at the bar gave the place away, though: Writer’s Room is as Hollywood fake snobby as it gets instead of being a cool, understated craft drink establishment. They really did go out of their way to make us feel weird.
However confusing the environment was, the drinks were a total step up. We sampled three of the menu items and one classic, all of which were super intense while being light and easy to drink (for the most part). They also were incredibly strange at points, which is admirable from a place equally as strange and unexpected. First on the agenda was a Manhattan, which was not on the menu. Served in a small cordial like glass, this drink was all whiskey and rye. It was smokey with a hint of sweet and was perfect for sending you on your very boozy way: it was a treat.
As for the menu items, we snagged up the Fukishima Meltdown, the Cho Sun One, and the Dead Man Oaxacan, all of which seem to travel the globe in one form or another. The Fukishima was a yellow drink that I was hoping to be the crowned jewel in the place’s crown. The drink was “Yamazaki Rye, Kiuchi No Shizuku, Yuzu-Jalepeno, Sanchp Pepper, and Orange Juice” and certainly was that. It was spicy and pulpy, bitter and butterscotchy, but was garnished with seemingly out of the blue black sesame seeds, which were a surprise in a “What was that?” way. The Cho Sun One played with sesame as well, but in a delightful way: the drink was corn whiskey, Korean pear, lemon, date, along with a Perrilla leaf, which was sprayed with sesame essence. Sounds insane, but was quite delightful. It reminded me of Little Dom’s Penicillin in that it’s smell was to scare you away from a delightful drink; however, the scare of the sesame essence didn’t seem to service anything else but the leaf and nose of the drink. It seemed to be just for scare but, regardless, the drink was a delight.
The best drink and departure from East to Southwest was the Dead Man Oaxacan. This drink was out of control: it was almost like a savory mole cocktail. The deadman consisted of Mescal, mole-orange liqueur, Mexican oregano, and a chapulin garnish. What’s a chapulin? A little grasshopper. The drink was so delightfully inventive that it really made the stop into The Writer’s Room worth it. Don’t get me wrong: all of the drinks were fantastic–all of them. However, the one that worked best for us was the Dead Man Oaxacan.
The Writer’s Room is a strange little alleyway bar behind The Supper Club that is all leather and crazy cocktails. If you are in a daring mood early in the week and have thirty dollars in your pocket, stop by the place for a cocktail. Don’t let the flickering outdoor lights, the vampire nightclub feel, and the slightly insane music scare you away: the drinks are in fact good. And, once you have gone there, you can tell people about how crazy the drinks were…but that you probably don’t need to return there with them.