Sunday, June 9, 2013

Geezer Gals on the town

My friend Patty sometimes likes to call herself a "geezer" since she's a person older than 55. She's got a great "old lady" voice she uses to confound telemarketers, posing as a dotty old dear ready to chat endlessly with the nice young man who calls her up to sell her home contracting services, daring him to hang up on her. 

Although I often forget my age, and feel a sudden slap-in-the-face sense of WTF when someone treats me like the more-than-middle-aged lady I am, I am beginning to appreciate the license that geezerhood lends.  Old ladies can say any damn thing they want to and get away with it - and some people even admire it!

Patty and I were going to a movie, and wanted a drink and some light eats before the curtain. Just two blocks from the theatre is a trendy bar that calls itself a rooftop bistro. Perfect for two geezer girls to try out a night on the town.

The elevator lobby held an interesting group, all bound for the bar. There were two young women wearing shorts, tank tops, and huge backpacks, including various strapped-in accessories like water bottles. There was a group of young British tourists, who discussed on the way up which fantasy names they planned to call themselves. "Just Ace, you know, one name?" "Or Zed," said the young man with the platinum hair and cheek studs. "Elvis?"

Finally, one young woman said, "I think we should just use real names, so we can remember. How about Harry, like the Prince?" They tried on alternatives like Mick, Caroline, Stacia, Ian and others until the elevator disgorged us all into a beautiful room on the 15th floor.

Curving tapestry-upholstered couches, tufted Victorian armchairs, patterned arte nouveau tile.  An eclectic assortment of antique tables, chairs, and settees.  Arch-topped French doors leading out to a terrace furnished with potted palms and propane heaters. A view of the city stretched onward.

It was all guarded fiercely by a couple of willowy young women at the hostess stand. "All the tables are reserved; you can sit at the bar or on the couches." Despite our entreaties - me channeling wealthy donor-ladies I've met, Patty with her eccentric-artsy-doyenne act - we were snubbed, just like the rest of the happy hour crowd. No special treatment for geezers here.

All the tables are reserved
The back-pack girls were already there, crowding up to the bar across the way. The Brits were clustered in a clump at the corner, casting predatory eyes on the couches for an opening.

One barstool all the way toward the service end was empty so I grabbed it for us. "It'll all open up in a minute," said the gentlemen next to us, "when the rooftop bar opens at six."

Sure enough, precisely at six o'clock the Brits and a handful of suit-clad young men vacated the bar, heading up the back stairs. Patty and I settled in with a cocktail from the Happy Hour menu. She had their cocktail of the day, which was a peach-flavored cosmopolitan, I had a concoction with gin, lemon, and luxardo. They were nicely crafted, sweet, and quite small, served in little champagne coupe glasses.

I strolled outside to look at the terrace view. Here, many of the pleasant tables were empty - but reserved, I presumed. The view was fantastic - a summer eve's city view of downtown Los Angeles, with the rising glass skyscrapers and the old-time historic buildings. Across the way there's a fantastic art deco tower, with its own terraced deck.

The bartender was a nice young kid from Edinburgh, who worked fast. I asked if this was a particularly busy day, and he said no, it was usually a lot busier than this. Both he and the other waitstaff were friendly and pleasant, but harried.

We asked to order food, and learned that Happy Hour - actually, they call it Apertif Hour - ended at six, and that menu was no longer available. We ordered from the regular bar menu.

Here are lamb sliders and gougeres.  They make a pretty picture, those shiny brioche buns, but the burgers, even with a nice garlic aoli, were disappointing, overcooked and dry. So, too, were the gougeres - probably re-warmed.

The ladies' room was nice - tiled in old-fashioned lavender glass tile, in keeping with the antique French bistro theme. Before we left for our movie, Patty and I decided to peek at the rooftop bar, up a flight of stairs. When we emerged, we were confronted by a heavy-set bouncer dressed in black, who was wrist-banding the patrons who were already up there. "Sorry, it's a buy-out," he said. "Private party."

How does this work, does someone just decide to buy out the bar on a whim? What about the people who'd gone up there before, did they get kicked out?

"Can't we just take a quick look?"

"No, it's a buy-out!"

Oh, well. It was time to go anyway.

Here's the takeaway - It's a beautiful place, but not for walk-ins.  I'd say it's not for walk-ins of any age, but the younger folks didn't seem to mind the somewhat unwelcoming service. There seemed to be a sense that it was so popular you have to put up what you get. I wonder what kind of treatment you get if you have a reservation.

Was it geezer-friendly? Well, it's accessible, not too loud, and possessed the old fashioned charm we geezers appreciate. The menu was interesting, and can't be judged on the basis of a bar appetizer.. The tables we were unable to sit at were pleasant, and the view was a knockout.

I'm willing to give it one more try, with a table reservation - or wait until it's less "hot" so they appreciate their customers more. Perhaps a second visit will be nice enough for me to share the name of the place.


M. Bouffant said...

I noticed the rooftop greenery & took some pictures from the street a yr. or two ago.

Didn't know it was a bar; my suspicion was that the hotel had gone condo & it was for residents.

I'll be waiting for news of your second visit, because the view alone isn't enough to get me up there.

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

Geezer Gals


I've never had patience for trendy places with antagonistic service. Me? I'd rather go to an unpretentious dive than an unwelcoming hotspot.

cactus petunia said...

I'm always amazed that a place can let so many (all of them?) tables be "reserved" and not full....guess they don't want the business?