The Wolves opens tonight in Downtown LA in the historic Alexandria Hotel, bringing what might be LA’s most stunning and ambitious cocktail space this year. Although it seems like a bit of surprise, the design and construction team took three years to build out this space, filling it with antiques and period-authentic pieces while restoring original elements of the 1911 building. Al Almeida and Daniel Salin, who himself spearheaded the design, along with managing partner Isaac Mejia, bring on former Puzzle Bar owner Kevin Lee as the creative bar director.
Together, the group marries a glorious Belle Epoch-style interior with 100-year-old white marble, antique mahogany at the bar, and European accent pieces sprinkled throughout. The attention to detail is truly immense, from the booths and bar stools to the stained glass and the outdoor patio.
As mentioned in yesterday’s piece about Kevin Lee’s innovative and terroir-centric approach to making drinks, the beverages here lean primarily on their own amari, vermouths, bitters, and liqueurs to present a seasonally based, but maximal approach to cocktails. The ingredient list on the menu looks almost dizzying, perhaps too much so. Upstairs there’s a separate Japanese omakase-style cocktail experience, called Le Néant, with an even more custom cocktail menu (and higher prices).
That upstairs will come with some live performances, vaudevillian theater, dancers, readers, and performance art to complete the package. It’s all a bit lofty sounding, but thankfully the place has Matthew Poley of Heirloom LA to put together an approachable set of bar bites like lush charcuterie and pickled vege plates, french fries, open-faced beef Wellington, and brisket grilled cheese sandwich. The Wolves will be open from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. daily, with reservations at the upstairs Le Néant available by calling 213-265-7952.
The Wolves. 519 South Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90013.