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Employees Only Brings NYC’s Finest Cocktail Culture to West Hollywood

Inside one of LA’s most promising new dinner and a drink spots

One of Employees Only’s first LA cocktails
Jakob Layman
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.

It’s time for the full reveal of one of America’s best bars, as Employees Only officially opens its doors on Sunday night. The West Hollywood spot has completely rethought the former Baby Blues BBQ space, offering room for dinner, drinks, and semi-private partying in the back.

Employees Only is the work of Midnight Hospitality’s Steven B. Weisburd and Tom Sopit, though the prominence of the name belongs largely to co-founder Dushan Zaric, who has long been considered one of the best bartenders in the world. This time he’s teaming up with chef Sascha Lyon (Commerson, Daniel, Balthazar) to craft a full-on dinner destination that comes in at double the side of the original Employees Only in New York City, meaning there’s plenty of space for two bars, long banquettes, and a wood-fired oven.

Lyon’s menu will focus on some EO classics like bone marrow poppers and steak tartare as well as a variety of California-fresh vegetables and seafood and decadent options like a roasted black truffle chicken or seared foie gras. Zaric, for his part, will offer throwback Employees Only drinks for $16 a pop as well as a variety of cocktails made specifically for this location.

Design details from Jon Sofio of Built, Inc.

There will also be space private parties and New Orleans-inspired drinks in the attached Henry’s Room, which can be cordoned off to the rest of the restaurant depending on the need. That’s where Zaric will preside over a wide bartender’s table for in-person cocktail experiences, while a fireplace crackles in the corner. And yes, there will be real live psychic readings up front at the “secret” entrance, available for $25 per 15-minute session.

Employees Only opens on Sunday night, keeping evening hours from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Employees Only
7953 Santa Monica Blvd.
West Hollywood

The front dining area
Sunlight over the big corner booth
Wood floors and greenery
A handmade wood-fired oven
The front bar
Dinner seating
The private-ish area with wide bar
A glittering back bar
World-class cocktails prepared in full view
Hanging chandelier and photo of celebrity smoking a cigar.
Mellow touches
The psychic sign for the “secret” front entrance
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