Bar None is part of a part of an ongoing series that explores local bartenders' favorite ingredients, familiar haunts, tipple of choice and "scientific" methods.
Ask Chi Lin/RivaBella bar manager Aaron Alvarez what his top drink spot is in town and he doesn't skip a beat. It's the Roger Room. As Alvarez says, "I would actually say it's my go-to, #1 favorite watering hole in Los Angeles."
When the Roger Room opened in Beverly Hills in 2009 - the same year as the Varnish downtown - the speakeasy bar scene was just getting powered up. Five years later, Los Angeles is in the throes of an honest-to-goodness love affair with classic cocktails, and the speakeasy concept, while maybe waning a bit, is ever-evolving. Meanwhile, the Roger Room has become a classic in its own right.
The Roger, as many people call it, took over the former Coronet Pub on Beverly and quickly made the location its own. Overblown neon tarot cards glow red and green outside the entrance. Inside, the walls of the 900-square foot space are dressed with old-time circus posters and lined on one side with cozy booths just right for sipping the whimsically-assembled (plastic monkey trinkets, patterned foams) cocktails.
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More than the trip-back-in-time atmosphere is the fact that this bar is not a pick-up joint (it has a reputation for being "safe"), nor is it a spot where you will be overwhelmed by haughty servers or trend-tastic bar hoppers.
Alvarez started going there because it was on his way home from work. Pretty soon, it "began to feel like a home on the way home." The reasons are many, according to Alvarez. The professional, friendly bartenders always make me feel welcomed," he says, "and I don't have worry about getting a bad drink. All that, and they let me park my motorcycle at the front door."
Lesley blogs at 12 Bottle Bar, tweets at @12BottleBar and is the author of the book "Gin: A Global History." Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Want more Squid Ink? Follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook.