By GERRY and
North Palm Beach Life
Published October, 2019.
LOS ANGELES_After we settled into our room at a downtown hotel, the next question was obvious: Where's the best Happy Hour around here?
Our hotel had a nice bar, but since we were in an historic district, adjacent to Little Toyko, we wanted to get out and explore what was around. After consulting Siri, and checking a map on our mobile, up popped a place called Birds and Bees. We were intrigued, and it was only a few blocks away.
The first hint that this was some place special were the directions to find it: Go to a parking lot, then follow the wooden fence until you get to the northwest corner. Once there, we were greeted by a man in black who asked for our IDs (been a while since that happened). He told us to go down a flight of stairs and proceed down a narrow, industrial-looking alley. We thought, this is something out of a spy movie, or Prohibition.
When we came to a yellow door, we weren't sure if we needed a password or a secret handshake. We took a chance and just went in.
It was like walking into a 1950s speakeasy: Dark, subterranean, with tables, chairs and couches that invited socializing. As it happened, we had arrived for "Violet Hour," which is their version of Happy Hour. We both agreed: "This place is pretty cool!"
Birds and Bees is all about the cocktails, and we learned their mixologists go to great lengths to create unique combinations of flavors and ingredients. Check out these creations:
The Gregory Peck: Barbados rum, pineapple rum, yellow chartreuse, citrus aleo, white peppercorn lincture: "Serious. Powerful. Legendary." ($15)
The Peggy Sue: Gin, yuzu kosho, grapefruit, lime, house vermouth #2, bitters and mochi. ($17).
While we there, we were joined at our table by Ryan Koller, the general manager, who gave us some fascinating insights into how they create their drinks and about the place itself. For example, we learned the space used to serve as the gym for the Los Angeles Police Dept. It was converted into a 50s-era, "Mad Men"-style bar that debuted three years ago.
Koller talked about how they create a new drink. It's a collaboration between himself and their chief mixologist, and can be a fairly lengthy process. (Hey, need some beta testers?)
As a special treat, Koller let us sample a one-off brew that combined whiskey and banana bread. It was pure goodness that packed a punch.
In a town full of trendy bars and glitzy nightlife, it's become a cult favorite. If you happen to be this way, look it up. Tell Ryan, Pam and Gerry sent you, and you're golden.
The drink on the left is called "The Devil in Disguise," a combination of pumpernickel, corn rye, bread-infused vodka, burnt honey, orange, lemon and angostura bitters. Delicious.
North Palm Beach Life
Keep going ... it's just a little farther.
General Manager Ryan Koller at the entrance.
Gerry tries to blend in.
This is their drink menu.
Gerry waits at the bottom
of the stairs. Getting to
Birds and Bees is half the fun.