Julian Cox and Josh Goldman have built a career out of creating cocktail programs for restaurants and bars, but this is the first time they can truly call the gin joint their own. Welcome Brilliantshine, a classy, timeless saloon located in the former Renee's Courtyard space, where Cox and Goldman, who've partnered with Michael Lafetra and Jerry Baker, display years of experience and cocktail expertise in a short list of drinks. With an old-timey vibe that still manages to feel like it has some legitimate weathering on its seats, it's the kind of place where you want to saddle up, drink up, and dress down.
In addition to drinks, Richie Lopez (Paiche) puts together a tight list of cocktail-friendly bites, like chicken wings with kale, honey and gochuchang (straight out of the Korean bar canon), or short ribs with cheese sauce, focaccia and salsa criolla. Also consider the Maine lobster with rice and sea urchin, or the shrimp tartare with chips.
As for the cocktail menu, the Fermented Strawberry looks to be an early specialty, made with vodka, amaro sibona, pisco and lemon salt. Or sip on the duo's legendary Cobbler, made with sherry, bourbon, glogg, cane syrup and seasonal fruit. The Auchentoshan is also another early favorite, made with lemon, Chinese cinnamon, apple, and ginger ale. All throughout, Cox and Goldman are keen to present unique drinks that don't necessarily follow the trends. If cocktails aren't your thing, try one of the six beers on tap or wines by the glass (remember that Goldman is also a top-grade sommelier).
522 Wilshire Blvd
Santa Monica, CA
Open Tuesday to Sunday, 5 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Weekend brunch runs 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
· All Brilliantshine Coverage [~ELA~]