A couple of Fridays ago, drained after a long work week, we wanted to go out without the fuss of crazy crowds, lines and parking. Most importantly, we wanted to be able to get some good drinks — not drink to get blacked out (hi, that’s what shots are for) — with good friends and unwind. That’s when we remembered that one of our neighborhood bars released a new cocktail menu last month. By no surprise- we were there!
Melrose Umbrella Co. located in the heart of Melrose Ave amidst some of the funkiest shops (and people) in LA — think medical marijuana dispensaries next to vintage t-shirts shops next to tattoo parlors — has a laid back Silverlake-cool vibe, without the trek. As a post-prohibition craft cocktail lounge with a saloon feel, the decor consists of old creepy photos, random artifacts and umbrellas. The are two small bars: the main one up front (with a wall of bottles so high there’s a sliding ladder for the bartenders to hop on hop off), and to the side, a separate bar that makes nothing but old-fashions (the boys were loving this). The crowd was a mix of hipsters, ‘entertainment biz’ people and randoms just looking for a good ol’ time. While no one was dancing (bummer for us — how do you think we burn off all the food we eat), the DJ played music that everyone was feelin’, but wasn’t too loud as to drown out the conversation.
And then the true test for any craft cocktail bar— the ice game and presentation. In this department Melrose Umbrella Co. passes with flying colors. From slushed to cubed ice. From fresh fruit to homemade syrups, purees and bitters. You are paying for the love and sweat going into these concoctions. Sure, some of the combos didn’t float our boat (see below), but the creativity, uniqueness, and passion (demonstrated by their attitude when we sent something back) is present.
If you have (or are planning) a date in this part of town, we recommend this place (ahem ahem). It’s easy to snag a intimate table and you can be sure to impress by ordering her or yourself a fancy shmancy drink. If you get the drunk munchies (or need to sober up), they have a light bites menu you can peruse as well. You can chat and get cozy without battling the loud beats and crazy-can’t-move crowds. Best of all, this place is not the obvious choice — predictability is so boring these days. If you are planning a big night out with a group and want to get, well, WiLd… there are plenty other options close by.
Conveniently located, not an ordeal to get in, and innovative cocktails? No doubt, we’ll be back. And the fact that we’re happy to have something nearby other than a sports bar with fratty middle-aged men acting like they’re 21 again and hitting on girls who barely are, may have something to do with it as well.
WHAT WE DRANK:
Melrose Mule $11 [Alex] – Ginger & Cinnamon Brown Sugar Syrup/ Blood Orange Juice/ Lime/ Vodka. Strikingly beautiful. The poster child of cocktails. Delicious, but more than 2 and I see a bottle of Advil in the forecast the following day. If you’re looking to have just “1 drink” (if you have that kind of manpower) this cocktail is a dreamboat.
I Dream of Greenie $14 [Alie] – Plum Infused Mezcal, Avocado, Matcha Green Tea, Lime, Licor 43. First of all, being obsessed with I Dream of Jeanie (shoutout P) and matcha green tea, I was SOLD at first menu glance. Sadly, at first taste, I was ready to spit it out. And so were the subsequent 4 people I made taste it. It was basically like drinking smoky garbage on the streets of New York that your 5 cats peed on. I asked to swap out my drink – if I’m gonna pay $14 you better believe I will be licking the cup at the end – and was greeted by some AT-TI-TUDE. After avoiding eye contact and making me wait 15 minutes, the bartendress (is there a word for a chic bartender) finally swapped out my drink for something pink and delish. I can’t promise she didn’t put some of that liquid “pooh” (see pictures above) in it, but whatever it was, it was real good!
Wondering if it’s about to rain up in here with all these damn umbrellas,