A new speakeasy has popped up in Hollywood-the Next Door Lounge- serving up classic 1920s cocktails with contemporary twists. The name is derived from the fact that it is directly "next door" to The Counter restaurant on Highland Ave. A neon key is the only sign that the blackened-out windowed place is there. You then walk through heavy black curtains to reveal the cozy old fashioned joint.
The Next Door Lounge's head barman is Joe Brooke, winner of NBC’s On the Rocks: The Search of America’s Top Bartender and former Edison Downtown director of spirits. Joe, besides being a great mixologist and easy on the eyes, serves each drink with flare and presentation. For example, The Dame Next Door cocktail prepared with Canadian Club 12yr, clove-infused pineapple gomme syrup, pineapple juice, pasteurized egg white, and angostura bitters is topped off with a dusting of nutmeg in the shape of a key like in the lounge's logo. Besides the U-shaped bar, there is also a kitchen serving bar bites, tapas and pastries.
According to management, there will soon be live music and entertainment in about a month’s time. And eventually, there will also be another speakeasy within this one. I was given a tour of the soon to be second bar, located in the back, which apparently used to be a secret and illegal swingers club. Currently, it's just a large abandoned space with skylights and a stage.
Oh, and this old-fashioned bar fortunately has a new modern accessory - purse hooks! Always love when I spot those.
Dancing with the Stars' Chelsea Kane recently tweeted and blogged about her admiration for the new spot too.
Next Door Lounge is located at 1154 North Highland Avenue Hollywood, CA 90038.