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
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
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
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.
Caroline Pardilla is the Los Angeles Localite
for BBC Travel. She also writes Carolineoncrack.com.