Vive la France in Los Angeles
Pour Vous, a new Parisian-style cocktail bar in LA, is a Francophile’s dream. (Courtesy of Pour Vous)
Pour Vous, a new Parisian-style cocktail bar in Los Angeles by the tastemakers behind Havana-inspired rum bar La Descarga, takes Francophilia to the extreme with its selection of French spirits, wine and beer as well as specialty cocktails made of French distillates.
Distillates -- like cognac, Armagnac and brandy -- are an oft-overlooked category in the bar industry, according to Pour Vous general manager Steve Livigni. "There's not a bar in this country that's focused on French distillates. The French are the first people to make exceptional distillates. They've been making amazing spirits for 300 years... there's a certain attention to detail that the French have with all of their products, whether it's wine or spirits."
The Melrose Avenue bar celebrates drinking en francais with 10 French wines by the glass, 15 champagnes and a few French-style beers. In addition, the well-crafted cocktail menu has been created by some of the best bartenders in the city. Each of the six mixologists has had experience running their own cocktail programs at esteemed bars like PDT in New York and Tasting Kitchen and Harvard & Stone in LA.
But if you're overwhelmed by the list of 25 cocktails, containing unfamiliar ingredients like Velay Jaune (a herbal liqueur) and Bonal (a wine-based aperitif infused with herbs), Livigni recommends the Le Samourai cocktail, made of Armagnac, raspberry, rhubarb and umami. He describes it as "a good representation of French distillation, masculinity and sexiness”.
Livigni, a self-professed Francophile, helped conceive the bar, and along with co-owner Jonnie Houston, travelled to France to research the aesthetic they wanted to emulate, right down to the damask wallpaper.
Stylish partiers enjoy their drinks in an intimate 80-person space, decorated with a romantic fireplace surrounded with half melted candles, a golden-hued Belle Époque dome faux skylight and cafe-style tables. Even smokers, who are normally cast into the back alleys in cigarette-averse Los Angeles, have a comfortable trolley on an outdoor patio in which to enjoy their Gitanes cigarettes.
There isn’t a kitchen at Pour Vous but lovers can sustain themselves on a menu of elegant aphrodisiac finger foods: oysters, chocolate and cheese.
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