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The Remodeled Hotel Figueroa Wants to Change the Way You Think About Cocktails

What (and where) to drink inside the rethought Downtown hotel, opening this summer

Hotel Figueroa's pool bar
The upcoming Hotel Figueroa remodel
The Hotel Figueroa
Farley Elliott is the Senior Editor at Eater LA and the author of Los Angeles Street Food: A History From Tamaleros to Taco Trucks. He covers restaurants in every form, from breaking news to the culture, people, and history that surrounds LA's dining landscape.

The waves of summer are surely here already, with a week of 80 degree weather and more sunshine on the way. That’s what makes the poolside drinking options at the upcoming Hotel Figueroa in Downtown so tantalizing: You can almost feel the water and the cold cocktail in your hand already. The place is still a couple of months off sadly, but there are plenty of cool details coming out about the bar program at the hotel to keep you satiated until then.

Eater sat down with Dushan Zaric to talk about his upcoming plans for the Hotel Figueroa space, including what could be one of the most inventive new bars in the entire city. Here’s what to know:

There will be five bars

Right off the bat, you should know that this place will be loaded with drink options. There’s going to be a front bar inside Casey Lane’s upcoming Basque-tinged restaurant Breva, serving variations on classic gin & tonics. You’ll also find two bars out by the pool, one doing classic, fun, summery drinks, and another offering up a more cultivated experience in conjunction with the all-day restaurant Veranda on site there. Downstairs will offer a bar for events and private parties, and there will be a gorgeous new drinking den on the second floor as well.

About that upstairs bar

Zaric, who is perhaps most famous for New York City’s Employees Only and his truncated tenure with The 86 Company, says that his upstairs Bar Alta will offer a new model for cocktail drinking in Los Angeles. This will be a world-class kind of place, he offers, but not necessarily with the same level of pretension as some of the other great cocktail bars throughout the rest of the country. Guests will be able to book a reservation for a small, intimate evening where bartenders will work in tandem to offer both a seated and roving experience from inside the room.

Wait, what?

Yeah, it’s going to be new. Imagine a wide half-circle table that seats ten or so guests, all facing towards a center point where two bartenders stand, ready for service. They’ll have a classic list of drinks, a rotating seasonal offer sheet, and will also be engaging guests in conversation to potentially whip something up on the spot. The bartenders will be the focus of the room, eyelines across the table and limited numbers mean guests are likely (and encouraged) to strike up their own conversations as well.

Plus carts

That upstairs bar will also offer cart service for some smaller tables located around the rest of the room. While one bartender plays to the table, another can be pushing a Zaric-made cart that offers literally everything for on-the-fly cocktail making. The whole room will be part dim sum cart, part omakase cocktail experience, and all focused on extreme quality.

And then there’s the pool

Back down by the pool, expect a much less stoic (and much more lively) atmosphere, particularly at the back bar tucked into the far corner. The mood is going to be fun and energetic, right down to the limited list of grab and go drink options. What’s more, Zaric says guests will be able to buy buckets of pre-bottled cocktails to enjoy with friends, like an upscaled version of a bucket of Budweiser at sports bars.

In all, Hotel Figueroa is slated to offer plenty of drinking opportunities, and more than a few places to dine well too. Things are currently tracking for a June arrival, though with construction ongoing it’s a moving target. Still, it sounds like the place will be well-populated once it arrives, and the proximity to tourist and celebrity-friendly LA Live should only help.

Veranda Bar at the Hotel Figueroa

939 S Figueroa St, Los Angeles, CA 90015 (213) 627-8971 Visit Website