The Doheny – South Park, Downtown LA

The name Cedd Moses has become synonymous with the revitalization of Downtown. He’s on a mission to uncover the jewels of Downtown LA’s great history. If you’ve never heard the name, but have been out drinking in downtown, you’ve almost certainly been to one of his bars. He sprang new life into one of the cities oldest watering holes, The Golden Gopher. He opened the glammed up Broadway Bar just around the corner. And my downtown favorite, Seven Grand is located in the historic Cliftons location not far from the previous two. Their bartenders, whiskey selection and pool tables make this place the perfect night time destination.

Later this year Cole’s P.E. is set to open. Moses plans to serve a Neal Fraser version of the classic French Dip, with custom mustards, fresh horseradish sauce and hand-sliced meats. Cole’s was the oldest restaurant in Los Angeles, so when it re-opens, it will again be the oldest restaurant in LA.

But last night I was treated to his latest venture, The Doheny. Designed in Ricki Kline’s signature opulent, time blending style, The Doheny is nestled into a historical downtown building. The location of which is not public, and of which I have sworn to secrecy not to disclose.

But I can tell you, I want to be a member. No, I need to be a member. They have hired the absolute best bartenders from around the globe. Led by Vincenzo Marianella, their very impressive list of experience ranges from Smollensky’s in London, Milk and Honey in NY, to Osteria Mozza in LA.

Our libation guide for the night, Daniel, crafted some top notch cocktails for us. The Fields of Gold, a mix of bourbon, and fresh squeezed lime, lemon, and orange juice is my new Sunday brunch drink. We tried several others, the Arctic Fox, Smoke of Scotland, Pisco Punch, and pour of Bernheim, a unique winter wheat whiskey, neat of course. We also sampled a few others, but in my alcohol induced state, I neglected to write them down.

With the added complications to the drinks, you do have to wait a bit longer for them. Even more so when they are busy. But excellence doesn’t come from simply throwing together ice, mixers and booze as fast as you can. It’s hand crafted with fresh juices, home made bitters, shaved, crushed and block ice, with artisan spirits.

I got to chatting with Cedd and he had a real passion for the history of the building and restoring old spaces. He knows his booze, especially Bourbon. He really loves the cocktail and seemed just as excited as I was about his extraordinary barmen. The proof is in the details. From his elaborate list of 75 cocktails, to the absinthe vases turned lamp globes, super comfy Pullman leather booths, to the vintage patio furniture and hand painted mirrors in the Greenhouse turned smoking lounge, he’s created the perfect private retreat.

We linger over to the Greenhouse, where earlier we had been tasting Milagro tequila. They have cocktail tastings every Tuesday during the summer, with special drinks at the bar crafted from that nights featured spirits, wine or champagne. We enjoy a couple of cigars off the menu by the outdoor fireplace and talk about our favorite drinks from the night. The place is mostly empty on this Tuesday night, which ensured us the utmost attention from the great staff.

They serve food, for which they have partnered with Neal Fraser of Grace. Mainly small plates and such, but unfortunately I didn’t get to try any. Maybe if I can wiggle my way back in I can try the food next time.

When it comes down to it, membership wasn’t that expensive. I mean, if I canceled my cable and my gym membership, it pretty much adds up to the monthly cost of being a member. The initial membership fee is $2,750 with the annual fee coming out to $2200. They also have a junior membership for those single and under 35 kids out there. The annual membership fees for that are $1200, plus initiation fees are waved but it doesn’t include concierge services.

Membership does have it’s privileges. For standard memberships, benefits include, admission to the bar for you and your guests, valet parking while you attend the Staples Center and it also includes a Concierge service which fulfills member requests for downtown events, dinner reservations, and transportation, as well as access to private mixology bars in select American and European cities. Granted it’s not a matter of simply writing a check, as you have to apply for admission.

But I love my cable and occasionally have the need to feel semi-athletic at the gym. So for now, my respite from life is Seven Grand. Their cocktails, like the Big Mac with mulled blackberry and Maker’s Mark, still have that hand crafted feel. But with it, you get the crowds. Something you won’t have to deal with at The Doheny on most nights.

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Author:Matt Mitchell

A lover of everything LA has to offer, Matt created Dig Lounge to tell his friends about all the fun things to do in the city. Matt has worked in the dot com world since 1996, including some of the top online entertainment companies and digital marketing firms. He currently works as a Digital Producer.

4 Responses to “The Doheny – South Park, Downtown LA”

  1. Fee
    July 24, 2008 at 10:35 am #

    This place rocks. I usually don’t like bourbon or scotch and these drinks were so amazing and unigue I couldn’t believe that these spirits could taste so delicious. The staff was amazing and really made our whole night an incredible experience. The place is gorgeous, I would be there every night if I could :)!!

  2. July 24, 2008 at 4:46 pm #

    How funny—I took a photo that’s nearly a twin of that one watching Eric tend bar in New Orleans last week:

    The guys at The Doheny really do know what they’re doing behind the stick!

  3. October 20, 2008 at 3:38 pm #

    i should apply for jr. membership. but how do they know you’re ‘single’? What if I get married in a couple years?…

    If they didn’t have that provision, I could have that jr membership for over 11 years. (do the math 🙂


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