January 21, 2021 The Newspaper Serving LGBT Los Angeles

Employees Only Takes L.A.

You might want to sit down for this,  Angelenos. New York City-based Employees Only, considered to be one of the world’s best bars, is now in West Hollywood. Located at 7953 Santa Monica Boulevard, in the former home of Baby Blues BBQ, Employees Only brings the same delicious cocktail scene and upscale dining experience of New York to the West Coast. (Eat your heart out, Carrie Bradshaw.)

Since its first launch in New York in 2004, Employees Only has achieved global success with prestigious accolades like the Spirited Awards for “World’s Best Cocktail Bar,” “World’s Best Drink Selection,” “Best American Bar Team,” and “Best American High Volume Bar.” Other locations of Employees Only include Singapore, Hong Kong, and Miami locations. However, the West Hollywood location is the only one on the West Coast and brings with it some of New York’s most popular menu items with an expanded menu that caters to the Los Angeles patron.   

True to the original 20s speakeasies popular among mobsters and sinners alike, Employees Only is virtually indistinguishable from the outside; the only sign that it even exists is a red, neon Psychic sign above the front door. Step one foot inside, however, and it’s like being in the heart of New York, but in Los Angeles. It’s a definite vibe. The art deco look and new age disco feel match perfectly with that good ol’ city sensibility, blending a bit of the old with the new. 

I went to Employees Only on a Saturday night, and it was packed with L.A.’s finest, the upper echelon of the “see and be seen” crowd. To the left was the dining area where close knit round tables created a warm, intimate feel.  And to the right was an impressively full bar with bottles of liquor as far as the eye can see. Tucked away in the back was Henry’s, a reservation only, speakeasy style room that would make Al Capone proud. Rich, velvet curtains led to maybe one of the best communal bathrooms I’ve ever seen (and trust me, I’ve seen my fair share.)

People go to Employees Only for two reasons: great food and great drinks.

The bartenders are true mixologists creating liquid works of art. Just because you put a splash of vermouth and a plant in your drink doesn’t mean you’re a mixologist; it takes a true talent and knowledge of libations to make the perfect cocktail. With a rum, bourbon, and scotch list that could make you cry, the bartenders take their job seriously, serving a bar filled with people some of the best drinks in Los Angeles. Start with a classic like the Manhattan Cocktail or Billionaire Cocktail and follow it up with the West Side or the Mata Hari.

Dinner is served from 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. every evening and for the night owls, late night dinner is served from 10:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. (If you’re currently “hangry,” stop reading. You’ve been warned.) Employees Only offers some of the best appetizers this side of the US- 281, the kind that you could make a meal out of. (Any “Will and Grace” fans out there?) From the oysters and their popular bone marrow poppers, to the bacon wrapped lamb chops and rillettes of duck, rabbit, and pork, every bite is full of flavor and incredibly satisfying. Dinner favorites include the penne puttanesca with shrimp, grilled salmon, 26- ounce ribeye, and bacon cheeseburger with fried egg.  And no New York inspired meal would be complete without the perfect slice of cheesecake.

As busy as it was, the staff at Employees Only was calm and engaging. Jeff, at the front door, looked like a younger more tattooed version of Johnny Depp and the hostess, Riley, was incredibly sweet. I briefly met co-founder Dushan Zaric, who was understandably a little preoccupied with a bar and restaurant filled to capacity.

If you plan on grabbing a drink and a bite to eat at Employees Only, be sure to make a reservation first. It’s always a treat when a world- renowned bar makes its way to Los Angeles. Employees Only offers that authentic, New York City feel with an L.A. twist. West Hollywood just got an upgrade.     

Related Posts

WeHo Will Commemorate MLK Jr. Day With Virtual Donation Drive

January 17, 2021

January 17, 2021

In January 2021, the City of West Hollywood will continue its tradition of joining hundreds of communities across the country...

WeHo Renaming The West Hollywood Library

January 14, 2021

January 14, 2021

The City Council of the City of West Hollywood approved an item to submit a request to rename the West...

2021 WeHo Artist Grant Recipients

January 9, 2021

January 9, 2021

The City of West Hollywood has announced three $5,000 grant awards, totaling $15,000, for three resident artists for its 2021...

WeHo Fighting Climate Change

January 6, 2021

January 6, 2021

The City of West Hollywood is currently updating its Climate Action Plan — an effort called “WeHo Climate Action” —...

Two New Council Members Sworn-In To The City Council Of WeHo

December 20, 2020

December 20, 2020

The City of West Hollywood has sworn-in two newly elected Councilmembers: Sepi Shyne and John M. Erickson. Each Councilmember took...

Meet WeHo’s New Poet Laureate Brian Sonia-Wallace

December 17, 2020

December 17, 2020

Brian Sonia-Wallace has been named West Hollywood’s 4th City Poet Laureate making him the youngest person to occupy the role. ...

Weho Celebrates 30th Annual Toy And Food Drive

December 13, 2020

December 13, 2020

The 30th Annual West Hollywood Toy and Food Drive will be accepting monetary donations until Friday, Dec. 18th, 2020 with...

Restrictions In WeHo And LA County As COVID Cases Surge

November 29, 2020

November 29, 2020

The City of West Hollywood is getting the word out that Los Angeles County has announced it will be issuing...

COVID-19 Cases Surging In Los Angeles

November 22, 2020

November 22, 2020

As California surpassed one million COVID-19 cases as the rate of infections continued to rise across the country, Los Angeles...

WeHo Sounds Virtual Concert Series

November 12, 2020

November 12, 2020

The City of West Hollywood is launching its 2020-21 WeHo Sounds Free Virtual Concert Series, which will take place on...

City Of WeHo Celebrates Veterans Day 2020

November 8, 2020

November 8, 2020

The City of West Hollywood will honor veterans and active members of the United States Armed Forces during a virtual...

WeHo Commemorates Transgender Awareness With Online Events

November 1, 2020

November 1, 2020

The City of West Hollywood and its Transgender Advisory Board recognize November as Transgender Awareness Month with a series of...

WeHo Carnaval 2020 Cancelled

October 29, 2020

October 29, 2020

One of the year’s biggest events in West Hollywood, The Halloween Carnaval, has been cancelled.  The massive Halloween party has...

WeHo Launches “Masks Are…” PSA

October 25, 2020

October 25, 2020

The City of West Hollywood has had a mandatory face-covering requirement in effect since late May 2020 and has been...

Gays For Donald Trump March In WeHo

October 25, 2020

October 25, 2020

On Oct. 23 2020 a march, organized by the Log Cabin Republicans, a group of gay Republicans, rallied to proclaim...