FIN the restaurant opened in Culver City in November. Serving an Asian fusion–ish menu with a loungy vibe, it provided the neighborhood with a new dinner option, if the neighborhood was in the mood for citrus salmon sashimi with truffle, or spicy rock shrimp tempura.
But recently, the owners of Fin have opened a second business out of the back of the building, a “secret” bar called the Alley. What makes it secret? No sign, no evidence that you're entering a bar, just a plain door at the back of a building that looks like a kitchen entrance. ]
If you walk into Fin and ask about the bar, they'll gladly take you back there. Or you can just go to the back of the building and poke your head in. If you see the majestic peacock painting, you know you're in the right place.
Once safely inside, the Alley is quite a looker. Deep blue walls are punctuated by stark white ceramic moose heads. Faux-vintage chandeliers hang from the dark wood vaulted ceilings. There are plenty of comfy booths and banquettes around the room, or you can just pull up a stool at the small bar.
The short cocktail menu, of about 10 drinks, is mainly made up of twists on classics — and mainly named for icons of Old Hollywood. The Hemingway, for instance, is a fairly straightforward Hemingway daiquiri with perhaps a bit more Luxardo and grapefruit than the classic drink. The Audrey Hepburn is a large wine glass with ice, aperol, sparkling wine and cucumber, and it's far sweeter than it maybe needs to be.
There's also a large jar of fruit soaking in vodka behind the bar, which you can order as a Fin Fruit Fusion.
For now, the Alley is the uncommon stylish cocktail bar that's a quiet place to grab a drink with a friend. I'm sure when the secret really gets out, that low-key atmosphere will get a generous bump in energy.
12223 W. Washington Blvd., Culver City. (310) 398-8611.