HOUSTON....WE HAVE COCKTAILS LIFT OFF!
People in the know are well aware that the Houston Brothers and their groundbreaking company Houston Hospitality practically run this town when it comes to cool spots that you want to hang and drink at. Always making a splash with their latest and greatest new bar and club opening (think Break Room 86 and Good Times at Davey Wayne’s) or their new restaurant Butchers & Barbers, these guys run the hottest spots in Los Angeles.
Fraternal twins Mark and Jonnie Houston have cornered a niche market of high-end, nightlife hot spots. The duo launched Piano Bar in 2008—followed in short order by La Descarga, Harvard & Stone, Pour Vous, No Vacancy, Dirty Laundry, Good Times at Davey Wayne’s, their first restaurant Butchers and Barbers and the 80's inspired Break Room 86 at The Line Hotel. Each establishment is a transportation of space and time, all engineering a unique experience. Some of their venues have really cool entrances while others simply deliver a solid good time.
Recently I paid a visit to Pour Vous, a Parisian-themed lounge that calls for cocktail attire and is perhaps the Houston Bros most solid of watering holes, to try the bar’s spring and summer cocktail menu. Pour Vous doesn’t have the sexy entrance that No Vacancy offers, but it does have better drinks. Likewise, it’s not as much of a scene as La Descarga, a sweet throwback to all things rum and Havana, including a daring entrance as well, but instead, Pour Vous, which does offer an entertaining caged show of its own, hits it out of the park with adventurous and delicious cocktails.
From head barman Francois Vera, a soft-spoken Brazilian from Curitiba, the largest city in Brazil’s south region, is a drink menu that is bold and really pushes the envelope. In Hollywood, it’s among the best bars alongside Copper Still Bar, Melrose Umbrella Co., and Harlowe.
“I came from a classic background, it’s always been my passion,” Vera has said in the past. “It’s not that I don’t appreciate the super-creative side, I think it’s super interesting. But I’m more on the side of the classic cocktail feel, and it’s very appropriate and I felt like it would fit really well [at Pour Vous].”
Unlike many of the other Houston Bros’ establishments, Pour Vous does not sell food, except for the occasional crepes, so make sure to drink responsibly as the cocktails tend to be boozy and you won’t find any sustenance to fight off the looming buzz.
During our drinking session, we started with the Bon Appétit made with Beefeater Gin, ginger syrup, lemon juice, atomic mustard, soda and thyme. This is a pretty pungent libation yet manages to be very tasty.
The Wolf with Devil’s Share Moonshine, Crème de Menthe, Carpano Antica Vermouth and mint surprised me because I am not a fan at all of mint. I even tell my dentist not to use mint during my cleaning, that’s how much I can’t stand the stuff, yet this drink was pretty appealing.
Now the Sherry Cherie with Vida mezcal, Amaro Nonino (walnut liqueur), East India sherry and bitters is a seriously good fucking drink. I dare say it was my favorite new cocktail and one of the best drinks I’ve had in some time. In fact, I refused to share this one and had the bar make my own (yes, when working my way down an extensive cocktail list, I often will share a drink out of responsibility—insider’s tip—but this one was just too damn good). I loved the smokiness and the sweet yet bitter walnut liqueur. Really, this drink works on all cylinders.
Another pleasing cocktail was the Dublin Jam with Jameson Black Barrel, Cointreau, lemon juice, apricot jam, orange bitters, angostura bitters, and orange flower. While I absolutely love Jameson Irish Whiskey, I’m often not a fan of it in cocktails as I can tell that familiar Jameson taste and it just makes me want it straight instead of in a drink, but this one was different, it’s complex and very pleasing.
Another pet peeve of mine with it comes to cocktails is sweet drinks yet I found the Copa Cabana with Avua Aburana Brazilian aged rum, pineapple juice, agave nectar, orange marmalade, and all spice nice and sweet but in a good way. The secret of this drink is how well balanced it is.
Rounding out the new drinks we tried were the L’Americain with Buffalo Trace Bourbon, lemon juice, maple syrup, Framboise Alambic, and bitters, along with the Le Papillon with Singani 63, Carpano Antica Vermouth, Cherry Heering liqueur, bitters, and orange oils. Both drinks were crowd pleasers but if I could, I would have ordered another Sherry Cherie. There is definitely another coming in my immediate future. Cheers!
Pour Vous is located at 5574 Melrose Ave. Open Tuesday through Saturday from 8pm to closing. Call (323) 871-8699.
Story By Jose Martinez Photography Cocktails By: Adrien Vargucci - Photography Interior By: Luke Gibson