Bar None: Veranda and Rick’s At The Hotel FigueroaAuthor:Abigail Stone
One of the singular pleasures of living in Los Angeles is the option of dining — and drinking — poolside almost year round. Now, with the re-opening of the venerable Hotel Figueroa, the bar — make that bars — has been elevated. Veranda and Rick’s, the hotel’s plein air options, are can’t miss design destinations.
Opened in 1926 by the YWCA as a retreat for women, the 14 story hotel has undergone a stunning renovation. In the hands of Studio Collective in partnership with Rockefeller Kempel Architects, the 1926 Spanish Colonial architecture has been skillfully redone. Seamless updates modernize the hotel — the lobby has been lifted, its ceiling punctured with skylights that flood the space with light; new front doors invite in foot traffic; the walls have been white-washed — bringing it into the present which keeping a firm eye on the past.
Part and parcel of the transition is its reimagined outdoor space. Here, on either end of the famous coffin shaped pool, two waterside options vie for attention. One of the hotel’s four dining options, Veranda slips off the back. Here, under the guidance of Chef Casey Lane from Venice’s Tasting Kitchen, is the place a beautiful evening al fresco. The original 1920’s fireplace is now doube-sided. Pull up a spot near here on chilly nights. There’s a lounge area to one side with a long mirrored bar. On the other side, a mix of wood and marble tabletops with comfortable rattan chairs set up the spot in which to partake of an array of Meditteranean-inspired bites from a bright steak tartare and crispy flatbreads to a roasted branzino and a grilled chicken with lemon and olives.
Across the courtyard, Rick’s, a two story open air bar with a cocktail program headed by Dushan Zaric of New York City’s Employees Only (we recently profiled the Los Angeles itineration here), is the destination for when the night runs long and a nightcap is in order or, post-game at the nearby Staples Center, it’s time to toast a victory with champagne or drown a defeat in a glass of whiskey by the cozy fire. The space is annchored by thick wooden columns, a bright checkerboard floor and rattan chairs. Stick to the downstairs if you’re after a cozy, intimate vibe head upstairs to take advantage of the view. After a few of the bar’s signature concoctions — a Hemingway Regal, a Daquiri Tropicale, or Joe’s Mojo, their tamirind-infused take on a mojito — you may mistake the twinkling lights of downtown for a tropical sky. Luckily the check-in desk’s only a few feet away.