When a new restaurant opens, it becomes the talk of the town. The idea of having something different delivered to our dinner tables, to spice up our taste buds, is what all foodies live for. To experience the science beyond just a few simple ingredients, allows us to understand how food is a true form of art; the chef is the artist while the plate becomes their canvas, but the overall impact from the flavors dancing on our tongues, is what brings a community together to share the love that we all have in common. The love for amazing food.
Over the weekend, I was invited to partake in the grand opening of Hal’s Bar&Grill for the exclusive tasting of their new bar, crafted cocktails and an exquisite food menu. I was aware, months ago, that the restaurant was awaiting the approval to open their bar in order to add to their delicious menu. They already had a selective option of non-alcoholic beverages, but in order to appease to the loyalty of their customers, they needed to reroute their business strategy in order to keep themselves on everyone’s radar. While I haven’t been to their former popular location at the social beach spot near Abbot Kinney, The Playa Vista location seems to be among one of the many favorites with the current locals. The food is fresh, flavorful and vibrant, but when you have an establishment that only stays open past a certain hour of the day and shortly into the evening, you’ll find that many of times, while those who enjoy what that restaurant might deliver, it also adds a sense of disappointment when our cravings awaken past conservative business hours.
The event started early mid evening, where it was a perfect event for VIP guest to take a night off from their active duties of work or just to enjoy a night out while still making it home at a decent hour. Guest would be spending the evening tasting Hal’s newly crafted cocktails that were mixed together in order to reach out to customers from their previous location, and now combined with what their current locals would enjoy. Something new, as they have not yet had the experience in this location of staying open during the early morning of 2 a.m. This is a huge ordeal for them as not only will it increase their business revenue, but it’ll further put them on the map as one of the hottest places to wind down.
I invited two of my blogger friends Geummy and Shauna, who I thought could enjoy a night out over drinks and great food. We’ve all made it a promise among ourselves to actively keep in touch beyond just a simple like and comment of each others post, but more so because I just wanted to have a girls night out with these lovely gems. I was the first to arrive, but also at the perfect time where I could observe how quickly guest filled up the stunning restaurant. Gold balloons guided people towards the double doors where we checked our names off the guest list and were met with different choices of champagne in a line of flute glasses. Everything was still being set up, but that didn’t stop the live jazz band from playing soulful music to get the energy going.
It wasn’t long until friends and special guest filled up the restaurant where they were graciously greeted by the sophisticated wait staff in all black attire. The ambiance was classy, stylish and fun. As I’ve been to this restaurant previously where it was a more mellow tone, this evening gave a clear preview as to what’s to come when they keep their doors open for a lively mingle session. By this time, my two friends had both arrived and we planted ourselves in a booth that we reserved as the bloggers table. We were welcomed with open arms as any of other guest would be treated, but it was this evening where we were the first among many other VIP’s who had the first taste of what to expect when their business hours will go later into the night. We observed and admired the decor as well as the art portraits displayed on the walls, as I have found that they’re supportive of the art world and aspiring artist too. Not only is their restaurant open to the public to enjoy a great meal and drink, but they also open up their establishment as an art gallery that will showcase artists creative talents and provide them with a home to sell their work pieces.
I was informed that our table would be trying a variety of special crafted cocktails that are unique to attracting a larger demographic of people within the area. We were thrilled to be the first to try their signature drinks as this was a moment that we had been waiting for. Each drink delivered a punch of strong flavors that would gain the appeal of any person who loves a good cocktail.
Our first round of drinks were the, Dated Old Fashioned, Candied Ginger Mule and the Stoned Tokyo Smash. Between the three of us, the drinks were so strong that we could barely finish them all, but that doesn’t mean that they weren’t still good. I’m a bit of a light weight, so I’ve always been known to request only 2% of alcohol in my drinks, which I’m not ashamed of even though I get mocked for it. Though my preferences in my drink request are quite abnormal from the mass majority, I can honestly say that they get a thumbs up in my book from an unbiased opinion. If I had to choose between the three choices, I’d definitely go with the Old Fashion, as I am a loyal Whiskey girl at heart. Once I allowed it to sit over ice, it became the perfect drink for a much need relaxation time.
The chefs started lining up their buffet of dishes as I noticed a line starting to form. While I observed the many guest sitting at bar top tables, I noticed that plates were being brought to them by the handful. Of course my eyes widened as I was hoping for rounds of food to come towards our table too, but just as I spoke too soon, we were offered hors d’oeuvres of a chicken pâté topped with a pickle slice. Now this is where the acquired taste comes to test how much I truly love food and all the culinary elements of it. This wasn’t necessarily one of mine or Geummy’s favorites, but Shauna found this as one of her favorites as a tray had passed. I on the other hand, didn’t pass up on the seared cooked scallops that had a zest to the sauce that it sat on top of. After making nice with the amazing wait staff who showed far more personality beyond the appearance of just doing their job, we managed to work up a friendly bond where they took care of us so that we never missed a presented sample. We were also treated with some healthy delightful roughage of Brussels sprout salads, and for those who are strictly vegetarian or on the verge of vegan, this is definitely right up your ally.
While tasting all the savory dishes that were coming our way, we were told that the chefs were cutting through a special type of beef that had been aged for a thorough 28 days. While its been a good three years since I’ve sunk my teeth into a hearty steak, this definitely enthused Shauna and Geummy. We hadn’t taken the chance to go to the buffet table considering we had been catered to this entire time, but we thought to take it upon ourselves to preview what everyone in the room were talking about. Guest filled their small plates with several helpings of rich creamy pasta and smokey pork sausage, 28 day old aged beef, Caesar dressing on a stem of lettuce and a delicious concoction of Salmon topped with tuna over a guacamole blend dressed with vinegar, salt and olive oil. Everything was a mouthful of heaven, so much that I had at least 10 helpings of the Salmon plate alone. I managed to use my former server skills by balancing a few plates on my hands and wrist careful not to waste a bite from a plate. Each bite was better than the last, but the idea of judgement in my head prevented me from being able to shamelessly lick my plate to the very last flavorful drop.
We still had glasses left over on our tables from the drinks we hadn’t finished from earlier, but leave it up to putting on a good show of how to mix the perfect cocktail, we were given the ultimate preview of their Aviation cocktail. Beautiful flower petals aligned a martini glass as a shaker filled it with a sweet blend of Creme de Violette and Maraschino Liquer. This cocktail was among our favorites at the table, not because of the taste of a light sweetness and a hint of sour, but mainly due to the presentation. As any social media influencer or anyone who just enjoys taking a good photo of something that is thought to be a photo op, this became our perfect photo moment of the evening. Geummy had ordered herself a fine wine and Shauna preferred a glass of water, so it was up to me to set the example. I had four drinks all to myself and could hardly handle one, but I took turns in between each sip, slowly sipping so I could still manage to stand on my two feet at the end of the night.
As the night went on, more and more people continued to walk through the doors. There was never a moment where Hal’s ran out of food or drinks for their guest, but this is what is to be expected when their hours will now be extended. The ladies and I had a moment to sit down with one of the respectable owners, Don Novack, who had generously provided this eventful night of fun for each person who had attended. This evening was going to mark the expectations of their customers raising the bar so high that they could possibly give their other competitors a run for their money. Co-owner, Hal Fredrick, was greeted throughout the evening by guest who praised his new menu and bar while also complimenting him on his new reinvented concept to continue the appeal . Guest surrounded the bar ordering drinks in a casual yet sociable environment, all mingling with one another as if in a social mixer setting. What looked like a full bar, their mixologist knew exactly how to create a drink that fit each individual personality and standards by the minute.
Overall, the evening was a perfect setting for a group of friends like ourselves, to sit back and relax among a room full of class and elegance. We talked and we laughed while simply having a girls night out and Hal’s made that happen.
Hal’s is open for business Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.
Breakfast is served 8:00 am – 3:00 pm.
Lunch is served 8:00 am – 3:00 pm.
Dinner is served Monday-Thursday, Sunday 5:00 pm – 9:45 pm
Friday, Saturday 5:00 pm – 10:45 pm.
Bar is now open!