Ok, so apparently we have a thing for semi-secret bars perched above restaurants that we've previously frequented. Like The Fiscal Agent, The Guest Room sits above Estate Restaurant in Santa Monica, and serves up creative cocktails and small plates in a classic, speakeasy environment. The bar scene in Santa Monica can be tricky; spots range from gems like The Chestnut Club (one of our favorites since opening in 2014, we love the low-key atmosphere and stellar bar program), to perpetual hot spots like Bungalow, to dive-y spots catering to tourists who just want to bask in that salty, ocean air. Finding a consistent watering hole with excellent cocktails, an upscale environment, and that aren't impossible to get into is surprisingly difficult for an area as bustling as Santa Monica, but we think that The Guest Room may just tick all those boxes. From barman Greg Bryson with bites from Estate's Chef Hisashi Yoshiara, The Guest Room has an airy space, plenty of seating, and a cocktail list that reflects both the 1930's Prohibition-era classics and the modern libations that bring this bar into the year 2015.
The door is easily missable (we certainly did), with a subtle handle on the wall outside the entrance to Estate as the only indication of the bar's existence. With dim lighting, plush seating, lots of wood, and some beautiful light fixtures, it's certainly looks the part of the modern speakeasy. Click through the gallery below to check out some more photos of the interior.
Now, onto the drinks:
Kyle ordered the Eliot Ness-essity, because it had bourbon in it and he's a classic kind of guy (read: old). Though I didn't taste it (full disclosure: I have stomach issues with dark alcohol. That's really all you need to know), he really enjoyed it, and described it as "dry and smooth."
I decided to go for 2 drinks tonight (and then showed up to Kyle's softball game drunk, because why not?), the first of which was the "Mob Rule." A light, refreshing, vodka cocktail that was very subtle and citrus-y. It was like a tastier hard lemonade-- definitely a nice libation, and would be great for a Saturday night out.
My second drink (going craayy-zayy) was the "I've Still Got 99," which I can only assume refers to "99 Problems," but who knows? It was like a fruity, prohibition-take on a margarita, but with gin and cava. It was bubbly, refreshing, and definitely got me drunk. Win-win.
The Guest Room definitely has the formula down for a new hotspot, with the air of mystery that will either keep it exclusive or encourage lines out the door. Either way, you might be able to catch us lounging on the plush couches, sipping on some classic cocktails this weekend.