609 N La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, CA | Directions 9003634.082204 -118.344233
Neighborhoods: Melrose, Central LA
BEST DRINKS IN HOLLYWOOD! – We recently came into the Tar Pit to have drinks for our friend's birthday. . . I was not expecting it to be so beautiful especially because of the name. This was a few weeks ago so I can't remember what the exact drink was, but it was honestly one of the best drinks I have ever had. The server is very knowladgeable and great at giving suggestions.
Good hapy hour – Great drinks. Food is bleah. Bartenders are awesome, but table service can be pretty bad.
Come for "Guilded Hour" drinks only – The Guilded Hour is from 5pm - 6:30pm which really amounts to a "happy hour and a half". The drinks I LOVED while the food was just kind of "meh".
At $6 each during happy hour I was able to try a couple different cocktails - Sazerac, The Duchess (the apertivo of the week) - made with absinthe, and the Brown Derby - bourbon. Each cocktail was the perfect size for my sipping enjoyment.
The group I was with tried a selection of several food items on the happy hour menu but I wasn't particularly impressed. I DID really enjoy the mac and cheese though. It was crispy on top and full of ooey gooey cheesiness. The deviled eggs were...interesting? I really liked the taste of them, being pickled, but the pickling seemed to turn the texture of the eggs into rubbery shells. Thumbs up on taste, thumbs down on texture.
Keep in mind that everything is in mini or "snack" sized portions so you should probably plan on still needing to get dinner after a very brief happy hour (and a half) at The Tarpit.
Keep Searching – We made reservation for six. When we got there, they didn't have our reservation, so we waited...for a while. Drinks, food, presentation and waitress were mediocre, over priced for the quality. The waitress then added three extra drinks to our tab, which we had to dispute with her and then dispute with the manager. It was my friend's BDay, I requested a surprise desert after dinner, it never came! The crowd was okay and the ambiance was nice -- otherwise, the staff and their work were poor. Side note: their tuna tartar is a joke. Go to Mozza two doors north - guaranteed quality food, service and atmosphere.
Stay Away – What a horrible experience we had at this so called establishment. Jay Perrin (one of the owners) is an absolute horrible human being. I think he takes pride in making people feel stupid when inquiring about wine. I will NOT come back because of him.
The only positive of this establishment is Mark Peel. It's a shame he partnered with Jay Perrin. Maybe one day Mark will wake up and see how Jay is totally ruining his business. Jay wasn't any better while at Campanile. Thank god he left Campanile so I may enjoy myself there and have no problem dealing with Taylor Parsons. Mark Peel, WAKE UP! Jay will ruin you!
Like Stepping Back to Old Miami – We slipped in a few weeks back for cocktails after dinner. It was like slipping back to old Miami. I can imagine Buena Vista Social Club in the background.
I had the Little Italy which is very similar to a Manhattan. I also enjoyed the Trident which is made with Aquavit.
We also had the fried oysters and dessert. I liked the oysters highly recommend the Banana Fosters.
Good news and bad news – So there is good news and bad news here. The good news is that the vibe in this place is great. The decor, lighting, energy etc. was terrific - loved the deco look and the fact that the place was bustling. Drink menu was very interesting. We tried three different drinks, all were good. Not sure they fully warranted their price tags, though.
The bad news is the service was terrible and the food mediocre. It started with our arrival when a very air-headed hostess didn't have our reservation down despite a call the day before confirming it. Once we were finally seated, a very nice waitress came to take our drink order. We sat for almost 15min before the drinks came. The menu was limited but interesting. Our appetizers of crab cakes and bibb lettuce salad were decent. The entrees were unimpressive. Steak Diane ordered medium rare arrived so rare it looked uncooked. The swordfish was rare like seared tuna (not how it was described on the menu) and was literally cold. Big disappointment in the food department.
We chalked the food issue up to the newness of the place and the need to work out the kinks. We'll give it another try because we liked the vibe so much but REALLY hope the food improves.
Citysearch Editorial Review – While a cocktail culture revolution was bubbling in Los Angeles, Mark Peel was plotting. The Campanile chef (along with partner Jay Perrin) finally opened his Art Deco-inspired bar and restaurant in late 2009, much to the delight of those looking to try a classic cocktail in a decidedly adult setting while snacking on upscale fare such as wild boar meatballs. The small plates here run the gamut from duck confit sliders to steak and kidney pie. But most everyone comes to the Tar Pit for the sultry 1930's vibe and sumptuous decor (check the lush mirrored leather booths or the dramatic bar). Of course, a good looking bar only takes the experience so far...mixologist Audrey Saunders' cocktails are among the best in the city and complete the experience of drinking expertly executed drinks (try the "Old Cuban") from the 1930s inside a space that might have been the hottest spot in town circa 1931. Prices are semi-reasonable, given the experience and attention paid to each cocktail, but expect to pay an average of $12 per drink here. If you like downtown bars such as the Edison or Varnish, chances are you'll want to fall into this Tar Pit. This is not a speakeasy and there is usually no line. Just show up with an appetite and your credit card of choice (it's easy to drop $100 or more here).
An example for the rest of LA – Wow, what a cool place!
Going out should be a good time. I've been desperate for a place in LA that draws a clean sophisticated crowd, but is fun, and conducive to great vibes and conversations.
Just went to The Tar Pit for dinner. This place is classy and sophisticated, but fun and with attitude. The space feels like a high end restaurant lounge from an era long past but with the technology and materials of today. I think of New York, the 1940's, Clean and Modern.
Don't come in jeans. C'mon, I know you've got some nice clothes, wear them. It's fun. You can never overdress, especially not here. This place has style. Have fun with yours.
The food here is delicious. Painters create in the visual realm. Musicians play with sounds. Chef Mark Peel and Mixologist Audrey Sanders craft in the details of tastes. I had the Steak Diane, mmm... still thinking about it. The cocktail I was recommended, I think it was called Junipertiva or something like that, this is really good. I'm actually not big on drinking, don't even really like the taste of alcohol (I know, I'm sorry), but this was really tasty; fruity and refreshing. To finish off the meal, my friends and I ordered this african french press coffee, the one with chocolate in it. I'm also usually not a fan of coffee and don't like to drink it, but this, this was so good. I think I can safely say this is the best cup of coffee I've ever had. We ordered more.
If co-owners Mark Peel and Audrey Sanders are artists of taste, then the other co-owner Jay Perrin is an artist of service. What a great team he assembled. Jay is a strong highly disciplined character, ensuring your experience is phenomenal. The general manager Joey, great guy. Very welcoming, easy to talk to and get along with, and meticulous; it doesn't look like there's a detail he doesn't notice. And our server Liz, she was so fun. She told us interesting details about the origins of the menu items and their names. She offered great suggestions, and was quickly on top of any of our requests. She's a great example of an attentive, helpful and friendly waitress.
Even the Valet was helpful and friendly.
I am so glad The Tar Pit exists. It brings to Los Angeles a better understanding of what nightlife should be.
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