Now Boarding opened its doors at the end of December, touching down in West Hollywood with a ‘60s-era-air-travel aesthetic. The glamorous frills of a bygone era permeate everything from the walls lined with booths (the seats themselves are inspired by an old-school flight cabin) to a large mural depicting flight routes and connections across the globe.
Showcasing a diverse list of thoughtful offerings on the cocktail list, bar manager Wil Figueroa has woven his international experience into a first-class program. Figueroa's racked up serious frequent fliers miles himself over the years, professionally mixing his way from London to Seattle.
“A lot of thought went into combining both interesting textures as well as tastes to each cocktail,” he says. He's taken advantage of California’s lengthy growing season, incorporating fresh produce in many of his drinks.
In fact, it’s difficult to order a cocktail that doesn’t feature a fruit or vegetable. The Fog Cutter, for example, weaves zesty citrus into a rum drink spiked with orgeat. Ripe tangerines serve to tie the parts into a cohesive whole.
The menu is a straightforward breakdown of drinks by base spirit, with three examples under each category and all priced at $14.
The D.B. Cooper uses muddled watermelon and jalapeño to combat the vegetal twang of a tequila blanco with sweet and spice. The Puddle Jumper unites mezcal with tequila in a ginger-infused mojito mock-up. Lovers of American whiskey and Scotch can find common ground with the Ginsburg, an unlikely triptych of single malt, rye and Fernet.
The menu soon will be expanded to offer sparkling cocktails and punch-bowl suitcases designed to hold ten servings of punch for $75. Additionally, liquor lockers are available behind the bar for folks willing to shell out $600 a year to join the Fifty50 Club. Perks include members-only parties, priority seating on weekends and half-off bottles, with the first stored bottle free of charge.
The bar's commitment to its theme makes for an enjoyable, if kitschy, evening out, but Figueroa’s devotion to craft cocktails is what distinguishes this spot as L.A.'s true mile-high club.
Now Boarding, 7746 Santa Monica Boulevard, West Hollywood; (323) 848-8447; nowboardingla.com