When a mid-century, first-class, airport lounge inspired cocktail bar opened last month in West Hollywood, I immediately wanted to hate it (cheesy much?). But because we are here for you, I decided to take one for the team and check it out; surprisingly, NOW BOARDING wasn’t as I suspected.
From out front it is like most of the best LA bars/clubs; super discrete. All black, with no windows and two simple small signs with wings and the letters “nb” on the bottom corner. After ‘checking-in’ at the door, you are transported. The walls are covered with both geometric and world map wallpaper along with vintage stewardess photos, the intimate booths hint to airport seating and the waitresses are dressed appropriately. The cocktail names are all flight related and come with your complimentary in-flight snack: peanuts. The drinks were stiff, but for $14 bucks a pop I was not mad at it. It was a tequila kind of night so I had the “D.B. Cooper” (a little sweet) and the “Puddle Jumper” (just sweet enough) – both delish. And when your ‘flight attendant’ asks “would like to upgrade to first class”, she means would you like to sub the top-shelf shit.
Now, my most favorite part: the in-flight entertainment. Early in the night it was 50’s rock ‘n’ roll, Motown and Funk and when the DJ started his set it was ALL the jr. high/ high school classics like: “This is how we do it”, “Spice up your life”, “Remix to Ignition” and “Hey Ma” (I can go on & on with the songs, but I’ll let you take a moment to relive your favorites…) . Some serious freak-train flashbacks — am I right?. If you plan on having an early night, make sure and duck out before 10:30-ish, as it becomes impossible to leave the dance floor and stop singing along. My “just one drink” turned into four and “only one more song… ok one more”. The next day I definitely had no voice and a sore body.
Located on Santa Monica Blvd and Genesee, the crowd was a mix of Hollywood and boystown, so this is a great spot for everyone to get down.
Reservations are recommended, but we were told walk-ins are welcome. Also, they are planning to have live jazz on Sunday nights, so I would definitely recommend a res for that in order to score a seat with some extra leg room. Why fly coach when with a little extra planning, first class is the same price?
Will it last? We hope at least for a while, as I would like to dance my ass off, snack on peanuts with a strong drank and pretend like I’m in “Catch Me If You Can” a few more times. All that and miles away from the horror that is LAX).
UPDATES!! (added on 12/15/15) – Now Boarding revamped their cocktail classics and we were just the people to test it out. See below for our top picks and other first class upgrades:
From the 8 new upgrades, these are our favs:
MEXICAN DOVE $13 (Tied for Alex’s fav) – Partida Blanco Tequila, lime, grapefruit juice, squirt soda, served over crushed ice in a can. Besides this being refreshing and absolutely delicious, the ice cold soda can will cool your whole body down. Because at this place, with this crowd, and this music… you dance. And you dance hard.
FLY BY $14 (Alex’s other fav) – Botanist Gin, Maurin Quina, Remi VSOP, Carpano Antica, cherry, served up. Don’t know what half those things are, but apparently I (Alex) like gin now. Smooth, rich and goes down all too easy.
FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE $14 (Tied for Alie’s fav) – Beluga Noble Vodka, Dolin Blanc, stirred and served up. Aside from loving the word play from my most fav Bond movie, I (Alie) was totally obsessed with this fresh take on the Martini. Can other places start including this into the rotation please?
MILE HIGH MULE (Alie’s other fav) – This fresh take on the Moscow Mule, with house made beer and all, tastes as exclusive as being a member of the mile high club (scandalous!)
**Honorable mention: For all the Champagne Campaign hoes in the house they have added a “Sparkling Cocktails” section. We typically reserve the bubbly for celebrations or before 2PM; but if this is your 24/7 jam the Destination Unknown ($13) with Effen vodka, vanilla, jasmine, lemon, strawberry, prosecco, served long would be our #1 pick.
View the new menu here http://www.nowboardingla.com/ and set your next work drinks, bumble meetup, hot date or night out with the boys/girls at NOW BOARDING. They’re also serving some artisinal food from 6pm-9pm from the nearby Croft Alley.
Oh…and two of the BEST first-class perks: 1) HAPPY HOUR (all night Monday and 6PM-8PM Tues-Fri) and 2) LIVE MUSIC on Thursdays starting at 10PM.
Now Boarding ↔ 7746 Santa Monica Blvd. LA, CA 90046 ↔ 323-848-8447