First Look: Roy Choi's Pot Bar at The Line Hotel
Only Roy Choi could get away with serving kimchi soju in a hotel lobby bar. And only Choi could call that bar Pot. The chef was tapped to oversee the food and beverage program at The Line Hotel, a new boutiqe hotel that replaced Koreatown's Radisson. His POT restaurant is yet to be unveiled. Look for the Korean hot pot restaurant, the Cafe and the vegetarian Commissary soon. But the Pot Lobby Bar opened this week, with cocktails curated by Matt Biancaniello, a barman known for keeping things like uni, nori, dill, arugula and mushrooms in his arsenal. Here's the lowdown.
The Drinks: Biancaniello, who created the cocktail list for Plan Check Fairfax and tended at the Library Bar at The Roosevelt and Cliff's Edge, is in rare form here. Choi asked him to really push the envelope with the drinks, and he delivered. Classics aren't Manhattans and sazeracs but Long Island Iced Teas, White Russians and Fuzzy Navels - all with a twist. There's soju infused with kimchi or curry, which is great if you like kimchi or curry; the spice in the latter is very prominent, like you're drinking, well, curry. There's also beer on tap (Hite, Hitachino, Negro Modelo) and in cans and bottles; red, white and sparkling wine by the glass and bottle, which veers from French Burgandy to "glassy" selections like Fetzer white zinfandel; and a nice artisanal spirits list for more straightforward cocktails. Check out the slide show for more.
The Space: Sean Knibb took the very open lobby space of the hotel and formed a swank puzzle of angled banquettes and cozy pentagonal-shaped booths. The bar, which anchors the back of the room, looks almost like a large wooden mushroom with shiny balloons that spell out "pot bar" nesting in the top. Boxes full of toy water guns and colorful glasses, big bowls of fruit, Mexican candelas, lollipop roses, tamarind sticks and bowls of candy line the bar. The vibe is playful, low-key, groovy and dark. In a word: Choi.
The Prices: Cocktails are $11-$13; beers $6-$10 on tap, $6-$14 in bottles, and $9-$19 for large format bottles; wine is $7-$23 for a glass. Valet is $8 with a validated ticket from the bar.
The Details: Opens nightly at 5 PM; 3515 Wilshire Blvd., 213-368-3030