There’s a stretch of Robertson Boulevard where West Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Beverly Grove meet. This junction has served as the backdrop for many of the tabloid images for which Los Angeles has become notorious elsewhere in the country and even the world, thanks to paparazzi parked outside institutions such as Kitson and the Ivy.
In the same neighborhood, locals might be more familiar with A.O.C. around the corner as a dining destination. They might work at Cedars-Sinai or the Pacific Design Center to the north. They could be residents of Beverly Hills to the south. L.A. native Tait Forman, who lives around the corner, saw that the area was lacking a dedicated cocktail bar and decided to fill that void himself.
Forman is no stranger to hospitality (his father, Chris Forman, started ArcLight Cinemas, and his great-grandfather was behind Pacific Theatres), and he has been a bona fide beer geek for years, having achieved first level in the Certified Cicerone program. He also helped oversee the craft cocktail program launch at ArcLight with Proprietors LLC. It’s with this experience that he embarks on this first solo venture with the hopes of attracting his neighbors and other locals to his new bar, called Bibo, in the newly revamped Robertson Plaza.
While Forman is aiming for a neighborhood bar in Bibo, he has decidedly next-level plans. “This area gets a bad rap,” he laments. “It’s seen some hard times.” With Blue Bottle and and an outpost of popular Phoenix restaurant The Henry due to open next door at approximately the same time as Bibo, Robertson Plaza may jump-start the revitalization and even revision the area needs.
Bibo, shorthand for the Latin phrase bibo ergo sum (I drink, therefore I am), is meant to be a welcoming place, with rose gold hues in the materials and custom-built lighting marked by design elements that draw from both old and new. Designed by hOmE Design Studios, who also counts Curtis Stone’s Gwen as a client, Bibo is an elegant hideaway combining cues from turn-of-the-century Vienna, 1960s French bistros and French New Wave film. “I wanted to create a space that truly feels present and of today. It’s not super retro and not futuristic but just feeling like now. [We used] new materials but it feels old and worn,” Forman says.
There are 80 seats in all, 16 of them at the bar, with no standing room to speak of. The menu will have 18 cocktails in all, with prices ranging from $12 to $14. There are four beer taps with plans for a rare beer cellar and a small selection of natural wines. Proprietors LLC are the consultants on the program, which follows Forman’s objective of ensuring that there is something for everyone to drink. In true Hollywood fashion, Forman’s inspiration for the menu comes from the movie The Prestige, and it's presented in three parts — the Pledge, the Turn and (of course) the Prestige.
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Lighthearted cocktail riffs will be found in the Pledge, while the Turn contains cocktails that are more of an avant-garde nature that are partially made back-of-house, where centrifugal configurations and dehydrations take place; The Prestige has classic cocktails reimagined.
In each section there are low- and no-alcohol cocktails, in line with today’s trend of conscientious drinking as well as the bar’s aim to have something for everyone. “With this being a neighborhood bar, I know what it’s like to not feel at ease about having to worry about driving afterward or how I’m going to feel the next day. Those coming off at work at 5 p.m. just want to decompress. And those who choose not to drink alcohol don’t have to,” Forman says.
Bibo will be open to the public on Thursday, Nov. 16. It’ll be open from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. daily.