Since MessHall first opened in 2012, the former Louise’s Trattoria space has been a big draw for cocktails. Ben Scott has taken over its bar program from Erik Lund, who recently decamped to the new French bistro Republique on La Brea. Scott’s changes are well worth exploring, whether you’re a first-time visitor or one of the many neighborhood regulars.
The cocktail menu is broken up into several categories, with the emphasis being on approximately 10 drinks each in the “shake” and “stir” sections. The spirit selection itself is boutique, with nary a Jack Daniel’s or Jose Cuervo in sight. What’s most interesting, however, is some of the ethnic flavors Scott melds together.
The Tiger Milk mixes a base of Brazilian cachaca with ginger, coconut cream, a whole egg and a kaffir lime finishing spray. The concept was inspired by Scott’s love of Thai soups, drawing on the ginger, lime and coconut cream flavors.
The barrel-aged section of the menu uses playful expressions to suggest how long each drink spent maturing. For instance, the Boulevardier’s (Fighting Cock bourbon, Campari, sweet vermouth) lists the final ingredient as “father time.”
There have already been three iterations of Scott’s cocktail menu since September, but he still considers the brunch libations to be his favorite. The Bloody Maggi is named for it’s secret ingredient, Maggi — flavor-wise, it’s sort of a cross between bouillon cubes and soy sauce — plus, Serrano-infused potato vodka, house-made smoked tomato jam, garlic purée, lemon and Worcestershire.
Look for a bourbon-pairing dinner with Kentucky distillery Heaven Hill to take place March 19th.
MessHall is located at 4500 Los Feliz Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90027. The phone number is (323) 660-6377.
Tara de Lis is a freelance writer who lives in Hollywood.
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