A cozy new aperitivo bar is stirring things up along Eagle Rock Boulevard this week. The wide stretch east of the Los Angeles River has ebbed and flowed mightily over the decades as neighborhoods like Eagle Rock, Highland Park, and Glassell Park change and fluctuate, but the boulevard has likely never had something quite as distinct as Capri Club before.
Longtime Eastsiders will know the building at 4604 Eagle Rock Boulevard from its former tenant, the laidback Italian American destination Capri. That restaurant opened more than 50 years ago as a hangout for pasta and wine, though more recently it had fallen out of favor and even suffered through an episode of the Gordon Ramsay show Kitchen Nightmares. Capri officially closed in 2019, with plans revealed for new tenant Capri Club in early 2020. Now, more than two years and one pandemic later, the bar is actually here.
So, what to expect inside Capri Club? Deep red leather booths, an arcing wood bar, and a throwback coastal Italian mural that nods to the former tenant, for starters. Owner Robert Fleming, who has spent years working in wine around Los Angeles as well as the music industry, says that he wanted to nod to the timelessness of the place — first opened in 1963 — so expect some lived-in touches like a worn floor and wood paneling, too. There’s room for three dozen people or so at a clip, plus some sidewalk seating out under the preserved neon blade sign.
The primary focus at Capri Club, of course, is the drinks, with Nic Vascocu (Bavel, Acme NYC) on as beverage director to oversee the entire program. There’s a full lineup of $14 cocktails like negronis, jungle birds, and martinis, as well as $12 spritzes, 50/50s, wines, and beers. A separate menu for aperitivi weaves in and out of varying amaro styles and fernets, vermouths, and beyond.
Fleming has brought on Puglian-born chef Francesco Allegro — known as something of a pasta whisperer at Arts District restaurant Rossoblu — to oversee a simple menu of bar bites and snacks alongside the drinks. Options range from marinated anchovies and tuna-stuffed peppers to meatballs in sugo, cured meat and cheese plates, and chickpea polpettes, with nothing opening over $15. The opening food and drink menus are below.
The new Capri Club is just one of a number of new projects that either have been or will soon be further changing the landscape of Glassell Park, Eagle Rock, and Highland Park. Walt’s Bar remains one of the area’s best neighborhood hangouts just up the street, and the newly opened Bagel + Slice is already making waves around the corner. Drink spots include Wife & the Somm and the Grant in addition to staples like Verdugo Bar, and even big-name players like chef Brian Dunsmoor are getting in on the action these days.
Capri Club opens this Friday, June 17 at 4604 Eagle Rock Boulevard. From there, expect weekly hours from Wednesday to Friday from 5 p.m. to midnight, and from 4 p.m. to midnight on Saturday and Sunday. Eventually, locals will be able to pop by during the daytime on weekends, keeping the restaurant and bar’s “Open Day & Night” mantra alive.