The gauzy curtains are pouring in light and the glassware is gleaming at Baar Baar, Downtown LA’s genre-bending new Indian bar and restaurant. The tall, colorful newcomer is set to open May 2 in the former Faith & Flower space at 705 W. 9th Street, just a few blocks north of Crypto.com Arena and the wider L.A. Live entertainment complex. Baar Baar is well positioned not only geographically but also ideologically, as Los Angeles has often lacked the kind of cocktail-friendly modern Indian dining experience found in other cities like New York, where the original Baar Baar still resides. With any luck, the Los Angeles expansion will be around for years to come.
That’s the hope, at least, for managing partner Payal Sharma and chef Sujan Sarkar, who previously told Eater that they wanted to create, with the original Baar Baar opening in 2017, an Indian restaurant that was “as appealing as it could be to a younger clientele... a place that was more fun, more vibrant.” They definitely have the bones to create that kind of place in LA thanks to a prime corner location, lots of tufted banquette seats and wide booths, an ample bar section that comes alive with its own lounge-like feel, and a menu that pulls from Bollywood films. A Jessica Kollar mural watches over the lively scene in front of the 50-foot bar, where customers can down drinks like the RRR with Old Monk rum, creme de cacao, chocolate, and coffee bitters.
On the food front, chef Sarkar plans to pull from the bounty of Los Angeles as well as his other restaurants in New York, San Francisco, Chicago, and New Delhi. Sarkar, one of India’s most respected chefs, will offer up small plates like dahi puri with avocado, tamarind, and mint; cauliflower with carrot pachadi, peanut thecha, and pickled kumquat; and a stewed Kashmiri duck taco. Larger portions include a lamb shank that’s roasted with Nihari gravy and ginger, staples like butter chicken and chicken malai tikka, and a monkfish osso bucco.
Baar Baar could well be the next big deal in LA Indian food, and it comes at an interesting moment for the region’s greater South Asian food scene. Newcomers like Tulsi are highlighting a variety of regional Indian flavors in the fast-casual scene, while longtime players like Badmaash — which is celebrating a decade in Downtown this year — continue to impress with big flavors and lots of dinnertime fun. With luck, Baar Baar should slot right in as a talented new option for LA diners.
The new Baar Baar opens Tuesday, May 2 at 705 W. 9th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90017, with valet available in front of the restaurant. The restaurant’s hours are 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday (closed Mondays).