Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Mezz Bar, Downtown LA


is located in the Alexandria Hotel on the second floor (The Gorbals is on the ground floor of the hotel that has been turned into apartments).  They barely opened and seem to still be in their soft open phase. 

Half the place is a dance floor and the other half has a small stage, where live jazz is played, and some small tables and 2 pews.  I'm not sure what they plan on doing with the dance floor, but I think it would be fantastic if they used it for swing dancing while a big band plays. 

Since the bar is still being advertised by word of mouth, I got the feeling that the people in there were really hardcore jazz fans, which I really appreciated.  I loved the dark secret jazz club vibe of the place and the musicians were really talented that night.  Unfortunately, there isn't too much information about the bar yet, so I have no idea what the name of the band is.  I did, however, really enjoy the Louie Armstrong-ish voice of the singer and I thought the drummer was great. 

I adored the detailed ceiling plaster.  I mean, I could actually see individual grapes on vines and different types of fruit strung across the ceiling.  I couldn't stop staring at it.  I thought it a bit strange that the ceiling was so ornate and low until the bartender told us that it used to be the ceiling of the hotel lobby, which made complete sense to me.  I found it really added a historical element to the bar and made me forget that I was in the middle of dirty downtown LA. 

Now I'm not sure if it's because The Mezz Bar is still testing things, or that I had just come from The Edison, but the drink I had was kind of awful.  I hate to say anything bad about the drinks because the bartender was SO friendly and told us the history about the bar (how it went from bar to rave club to classy jazz bar).  Honestly, the variety of liquors was very limited and it seemed like they were sponsored by a certain brand of vodka because I saw several huge bottles of the same alcohol lining the bottom shelf.  I saw Chambord and figured they couldn't really go wrong with that, but I was mistaken.  It seemed like all the bartender did was add some tonic water to it.  Also, Matt didn't even finish his drink (I believe it was something basic like a Jack and Coke). 

I'm really hoping the cocktails improve once they get settled in because I will definitely be returning to catch the live jazz bands and take a break from the city.