Kristofer Keith | Spacecraft | www.SpacecraftGroup.com
The Latest Project: Essex Public House
On June 3, Spacecraft designer Kristofer Keith led me on a tour of his latest project, a sharp-looking Hollywood pub called Essex. The former Parc space was already stocked with black-stained oak chairs. The only aspect that needed finishing was the back bar: 20 taps, mirrors, shelving and 6-7 flat screen TVs. Today, Essex co-owner Greg Link said the pub would soft open on July 1, with a grand opening the week after the Fourth.
Keith, who oversees a one-stop shop for design and construction, installed an industrial welded steel bar that he compared to a bridge or elevated train truss, with an oak top. Across the way, the exposed brick wall features a mirror and high-top banquettes. The adjacent room houses both black and natural brick walls, plus oversized chalkboard menus. Both rooms feature clear views of sidewalk tables.
Essex co-owner Greg Link joined me to discuss his pub. He said that he and his partners Essex “built the place we always wanted to drink. Up until BoHo, there was nowhere you could get really good beer and wine and pair it wth good food. We got tired of driving to Santa Monica or Melrose.”
Link met AU Group partner Hunter Hensley in Vegas, where they managed adjacent clubs. Link was in charge of a slew of clubs with $20 million + budgets, including Light, Jet, Rum Jungle and Mix. The friends moved to L.A., where Link was GM at Hollywood club Element. Hensley managed One Sunset, working with opening chef Chris Ennis. On Essex, they ended up partnering with Element land owner Michael Greco and Ennis.
Why the former Parc space? “We wanted something right on the main track,” said Link. “Everybody was trying to force something on this space. This was more natural. We’re all in the 25-45 bracket, so this is something we thought people our age would enjoy.”
“The goal was nobody would look at the menu and say, ‘What is that?,’” says Link. Possible signature dishes include the braised short rib Shepherd’s pie. They’re also playing with a TV dinner concept, “trying to appeal to everybody’s roots.” “Beer Chick” Christina Perozzi is consulting on the beer selection. They’ll have 20 taps and 25-30 bottles, plus beer cocktails. On the wine front, expect 20 wines by the glass and 3-4 sparkling options, all available by quartino and bottle.
In other Spacecraft news, Keith said he started back on Osaka Hollywood in mid May, but it wasn’t quite “full fledge rock ‘em sock ‘em.” The Japanese restaurant, a Lima import co-owned by Adolfo Suaya, will feature a tree-lined patio and an entrance that requires diners to traverse a pond via stepping-stones. Keith also said he was 30 days from completing construction on Public House/Stout, a nearby burgers-and-beer concept from Charles Lew and Alex Kagianaris.
July 2, 2009
The Weekend Guide
What to Do This Weekend
Essex Public House
What: A new modern-day pub with more than 40 specialty brews, twenty wines by the glass, and bar food worth the crawl.
Why: They beer what you’re saying.
When: Daily, 5:30-11:30 p.m.; bar until 2 a.m.
Where: 6683 Hollywood Blvd., between N. Las Palmas & N. Cherokee Aves., Hollywood (323-460-6608).
Essex Public House
6683 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood; 323.460.6608
Some classic combos never grow tired, like the fat dude/skinny sidekick formula that produced comic genius from Laurel & Hardy, Farley & Spade, and Siskel & Ebert. For the timeless combo of great beer and great food, check out Essex Public House. Opening Thursday, Essex is a casual gastropub laser-focused on its menu and beer list, with two distinct interior sections designed by the Kitchen 24 dude: a patio-looking entrance room w/ red-brick floor, exposed-duct ceiling, and two monstrous chalkboards w/ food and drink menus, while further inside’s an oak-topped, wrought-iron-bottomed bar, surrounded by high-top black leather banquettes and mismatched light fixtures — so, much like your grandparents house, without the sneaking suspicion a Life Alert commercial is about to go down. Food’s from a former Asia De Cuba chef, and spans all sorts of gourmetness: “Figs in a Blanket” w/ La Quercia prosciutto & goat cheese fondue; yam gnocchi w/ smoked duck confit, pea tendrils, and hazelnut sauce; and chicken and biscuits w/ sweet English peas & natural gravy, which will taste delicious on your beloved roll, Bun-derboy. Brew’s from the ubiquitous “Beer Chick” (The Library Bar, Father’s Office, etc), who put together a 50+ list including specialty draughts like Lost Coast Raspberry Wheat, Bruery Black Orchid, and Alesmith Nautical Nut Brown, bottles like Green Flash Le Freak Belgian IPA, Chimay Blue, and Hitachino Nest White Ale, and even hard-to-find and vintage bottles like the dense, dark Harviestoun OLA Dubh, which was aged in a whiskey barrel for at least 30 years, so its liver’s probably doing worse than yours.
They’re only open for dinner now, but lunch hours’ll come later this month. In other planned changes, the small patio’s currently smoking-only, though they’re hoping to secure permits for drinking out there too, guaranteeing another classic combo: stocking up on liquid courage before you bat your eyes winsomely for a cigarette.
Hollywood’s New Anything-Goes Hangout
So you’re in Hollywood. You need a respectable dinner. Or a round of pre-club shots. Or some dessert. Or a quick lunch. Or a beer cocktail.
Okay, so sometimes you’re a little all over the place. So you could use one single open-air kind of spot that can manage all of the above—welcome to Essex Public House, soft-opening Thursday.
In the former home of Parc, you’ll now find an industrial pub that brings a little of the gritty Lower East Side to Hollywood Boulevard via two distinct but flowing spaces. Old brick, ramshackle tile and illuminated steel surround one room’s dominant oak-topped bar, and thanks to the doors that open all the way across, the dining area at the entrance is a room that’s actually a patio. (Or maybe a patio that’s actually a room.)
It’s all meant to convey a casually neighborhood-y, anything-goes vibe, fueled by upscale versions of old classics. You might go for some Figs in a Blanket to start, then maybe the Chicken and Biscuits and Banana-Bacon Fritters—all with help from a boutique-heavy list of nearly 60 beers, like an Arrogant Bastard or a Hollywood Blonde.
And we know how you like those.
Essex Public House
6683 Hollywood Blvd
(E. of Las Palmas)
Los Angeles, CA 90028
FROM RARE DAILY
Good Libations on Hollywood Boulevard
Essex Public House opens
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
With just four days ’til the fourth, you’re in the mood to celebrate like every American.
And by that we mean with beer. Lots of it.
Dive in and get comfortable at the brand new Essex Public House, Hollywood’s first official gastropub, opening Thursday. Chef Chris Ennis’s (of One Sunset and Asia De Cuba) laid back addition to the Boulevard boasts a brew selection custom crafted by Christina “The Beer Chick” Perozzi, with over fifty labels including rare and vintage finds, plus beer cocktails to boot.
Once you’ve mastered the liquid first course, it’s time to move to heartier fare like Grilled Pizza with Spicy Pamplona Chorizo, Buffalo Mozzarella, Shiitake Mushrooms, and Oregano, and Chicken, and Biscuits with Sweet English Peas and Natural Gravy. Finish on a sweet note with Bing Cherry Streudel with Warm Cardamom Icing and Pistachio Whip Cream.
It’s Brit charm and interiors, meets your local neighboring watering hole, in the center of global glitz.
In other words… American.
Essex Public House
Located at 6683 Hollywood Blvd. (at N. Las Palmas), Hollywood
Tel: (323) 460-6608