Hot on the heels of debuting mezcal and tequila bar Las Perlas on Mar. 9, Moses soft-opened rum bar Caña last Thursday. After only a one month turnaround, the cozy, vaguely gypsy-themed Caña replaces the absurdly expensive private club The Doheny. If caramel was a feeling and not a food, it's apotheosis would be Caña. Discreet but festive, classy but fun, Caña reeks of calculated semi-exclusivity.
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Located in the historic Petroleum Building, you enter Caña through the parking garage on Flower St. After walking through a narrow hallway illuminated by birdcage chandeliers and lined with glass shelves featuring the bar's showcase rums, you'll come into an inviting warm-brown room. Cream-colored valance decorates the bar and walls, an effect that's equal parts fortune teller's caravan and Pottery Barn. A small performance space breaks up the cognac-colored leather booths along the walls. The night I was there, a hot jazz quintet entertained the crowd. The space stretches into an outdoor smoking patio that gives you the illusion of remaining indoors.
Between Caña and La Descarga, which opened in January, rum is having its moment in Los Angeles. Caña capitalizes on that with 140 rare, imported and small-batch rums. Cocktails include classics like margaritas, daiquiris and mojitos as well as punches, Tiki drinks and more elaborate concoctions mixed by general manager Joel Black (Comme Ça) and bartender John Coltharp (Seven Grand), who came to the 213 Group over year ago with the idea for a rum bar.
Named after cana, Caribbean slang for sugarcane, Caña's annual $20 membership fee goes to charity and entitles members to a free margarita. This month, the money will go to Haitian earthquake relief. After that, it will benefit a different downtown L.A.-based charity each month.
Caña Rum Bar at The Doheny, 714 W. Olympic Blvd., L.A., Mon. - Fri., 6 p.m. - 2 a.m.; Sat., 7 p.m. - 2 a.m. ; closed Sun. except for private parties and special events.