Redwood Bar & Grill
by Anthony Vargas
When Trader Vic’s in Beverly Hills suddenly closed its doors, I was inconsolable for days on end. The nautical-themed restaurant was a mainstay in the United States since the 1950s and seeing it slowly disappear has been too much to handle. Luckily for us, the fine people at Redwood Bar and Grill have recreated this era with a few modern touches and an edgy soundtrack.
What was once a dive bar dominated by L.A. Times staff writers and cranky old judges is now what people mistakenly refer to as a “gastropub.” To set the record straight, the Redwood Bar and Grill is a restaurant for the simple fact that waiters take your order tableside. In a true pub, or “gastropub,” one would order through the bartender.
Getting to the Redwood is as easy walking down the plank. Located on Second between Broadway and Hill Streets, street parking has always been easy to find and nearby freeway access makes this spot a great place to hit before a show in Silver Lake or Hollywood.
Walking in through the smoking patio, which is adorned with anchors and fishing net, prepares one for a transition into a world of pirates, mermaids and all things nautical. We were quickly seated at one of the white vinyl booths and handed a wonderfully simple menu.
The cheeseburgers cannot be recommended enough. They were served open faced with a huge helping of sweet potato fries and beautifully ripened tomatoes. The patty itself was thick and juicy which made it a bit messy, but most burgers are. The bun was slightly toasted; it was just a joy all around especially while Iggy Pop was playing on the jukebox.
The calamari and fried cheese plates are also great for nibbling while enjoying a few cocktails. All around I noticed the food to be well-presented and of high quality. The wait staff was consistently friendly and quite fashionable to boot.
The drinks were my only slight disappointment. My Tanqueray #10 gin martini was served in a still warm glass and had far too much vermouth. The tonic in my vodka tonic seemed flat and, overall, I felt the bartending staff was rather intermediate compared to the tip-top kitchen staff.
The jukebox has almost every CD imaginable and can even download songs not currently on disc. I have also seen several bands play at this venue and DJs who played a wonderfully eclectic mix. Coupled along with a mature nautical theme, you might almost feel like a band of indie kids took over the local yacht club.
As seen in The Rockit News.
Redwood Bar and Grill, 316 W. Second Street, Los Angeles, CA. 90012, (213) 680-2600
Close to: The Bordello, La Cita, The Smell, Bar 107, Mr. T’s Bowl, The Mountain Bar, Grandstar Jazz Club, Standard Hotel, Casey’s Irish Pub.