Everyone’s been asking, “What are you doing New Year’s Eve?” Well, chances are I’m going to ring in 2012 at my favorite haunt of late: Bodega Hollywood. It’s one of the few stylish spots in the heart of Hollywood that will have no reservations, no dress code, no insane prices and no obnoxious clientele. Instead, it will have a DJ and a complimentary midnight round of champagne (yay).
Not your average wine bar, Bodega Hollywood is one of the few places in the area that successfully combines an uptown look (think The Standard) with a downtown vibe (your friend’s loft apartment). Two blocks south of the W, it’s a place where you can sip one of 12 reds or whites on the menu and groove to the sounds of Radiohead’s Reckoner while Sixteen Candles is silently projected on a wall in the background.
Like a pair of Current/Elliott jeans, the venue goes with everything: a black turtleneck and a beer, or sequin Louboutins and a soju cocktail named White Tiger. The imaginative design, by MAKE architecture firm, resembles an abstract film strip showing a glass of red wine mid-pour. And while there’s no dance floor, chances are the incredibly cool staff won’t stop you if you feel like shaking to the music.
Also, the food’s not only tasty, but the menu is just the right mix of gourmet ingredients and midnight snacks. Case in point: While I’m likely to order the beet and avocado salad (made with baby arugula, red onion slivers, toasted hazelnuts & champagne dressing), my friends are likely to order the grilled cheese (made with fig challah, brie and sliced apples) or the pepperoni and white cheddar plate (made with sliced margherita pepperoni, aged vermont white cheddar and sourdough mini toasts).
The third of the Bodega wine bars in Los Angeles, Bodega Hollywood is run by local boys Jason “Red” McEntee and Greg Seares, who opened the first bar in Pasadena in 2002 and the second bar in Santa Monica in 2004. Bodega Hollywood has been open since 2010, but recently started opening for lunch and has expanded its menu to accommodate the lunch crowd. When I asked Red if they planned to go corporate and open more locations, he said, “We have talked about getting big, but we really like the mom and pop atmosphere we have been able to maintain so far. Our employees are some of our best friends and we are very cautious not to make Bodega a place they don’t want to work, and that we don’t want to run.”
You hit the nail on the head, Red. That’s exactly what I like about the place.
Bodega Hollywood is located at 6290 Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. For New Year’s Eve details, visit Facebook.