NOHO’S NEW CRAFT COCKTAIL BAR SOARS
Billed as “a craft cocktail hideaway tucked inside The Federal Bar in NoHo,” The Salon has put North Hollywood into the craft libation game. While I always liked grubbing at The Federal Bar, I’ve never been a fan of its cocktails, let alone craft cocktails, but now things have changed at the popular gastropub.
Find the right door inside The Federal Bar’s main bar and head upstairs to a lovely lounge where the drinks run the gamut from divine to just plain damn good. The story goes that The Salon menu is the brainchild of Damian Windsor whose resume includes The Roger Room, Seven Grand, Warwick and the remodeled Clifton’s. The concept, four years in the making, is based on Windsor’s specific interest in fine craft cocktails with a focus on the classics.
“The space is comfortable, warm and features dark colors without being drab,” Windsor explains. “It feels familiar and welcoming, and it’s kind of like a living room and kind of like a bar at the same time.”
While the fare at The Federal Bar is off limits in The Salon, you should eat first downstairs and then make your way up for cocktails. The Salon space started off as a green room for performing talent, then became a private dining room, then a lounge, and now it’s The Salon. And thank goodness for that.
With its velour wallpaper and brick walls, there’s lounge seating in a library with red velvet drapes; a baby grand piano; Edison lighting and a wall counter with stools; along with a wood bar. The Salon is comfy to say the least.
During our recent visit, we bellied up to the bar and started with the Improved Whiskey Cocktail with Rittenhouse 100pf Rye, Maraschino, Butterfly Absinthe and Peychud’s Bitters. While it’s strong, it’s well balanced and comes across as a good and stiff Old Fashioned.
The Fortune Favors the Bold with Double Cross Vodka, Carpano Antica Formula, Manzanilla Sherry, Cointreau and Spanish Queen Olives is great for a vodka drink (not really my spirit of choice) and taste somewhat like a rum Manhattan (go figure).
Gin martini fans will love the Montgomery Martini with 15 Parts Ford Gin, 1 Part Del Professore Bianco and orange bitters. This was almost too ginny for me but it really works and it’s perfect to satisfy any Martini craving.
The Pearl Button with Rhum Clemente, Cocchi Americano, lemon, egg white and seltzer is very light and comes across as more of a day drink. Be careful, this one goes down very easy.
Whiskey fans will dig on the Francisco San with Suntory Whisky, Punt e Mes, and D.O.M. Benedictine. This one is very nice as the stiff whisky flavor is balanced and well rounded.
One of the bar’s most popular drinks on the menu is the Horse’s Neck, an apple version of a mule with Laird’s applejack, ginger beer, Angostura bitters and citrus oil. Sweet, a little too sweet for me, this is a pleasant and light libation.
The Eastern Sour with Eagle Rare Bourbon (high end Buffalo Trace), lemon, orgeat, egg white and Angostura Bitter is very booze forward—just the way I like my drinks.
And props to Damian Windsor for curating a fine music playlist that serves as a great soundtrack for your night out. I haven’t always been a fan of Damian’s ventures but I think he did standout job with The Salon. It’s now given me reason to drink in NoHo—a previous wasteland for craft cocktails. With a chic and comfy setting, cool music playing and first rate drinks on the menu, The (secret) Salon is worth looking for. In this case, X marks the spot for a good time.
The Salon is located upstairs at The Federal Bar at 5303 Lankershim Blvd in North Hollywood. Call (818) 980-2555 to make sure The Salon is open since performances in the adjacent showroom sometimes take priority. Open Tuesday through Fridays from 8pm until close.
Main Photo By: Barry Fontenot
Story and some Photography by Jose Martinez
Photography Courtesy Of: The Salon