What if you could order cocktails that were made by a chef, enjoy them in a cool, historic building with a discreet second floor lounge that’s close by, and where you could host your best friends for a fraction of what it would cost at a top restaurant?
Well, now you can. That’s Mando Aceves’ vision behind The Residency, patterned after the Alley Lounge at FIN Asian Tapas’s Culver City location. The Residency is discreetly hidden on the on the second floor of FIN Asian Tapas Larchmont restaurant at 5750 Melrose Avenue. Designed to feel like a 1920s Speakeasy, The Residency is currently open and featuring a special menu paired with the craft cocktails developed exclusively for bar guests.
A culinary school trained chef, Aceves brings his love of food and flavor to craft of making cocktails.
“We try to be innovative with spices and herbs, fusing different ingredients to create flavorful, innovative cocktails that go an extra step,” explained Aceves. He told us how us will finish a spicy Margarita with a torched rinse — literally setting the alcohol on fire to leave a smoky flavor in the glass. He’s also developed several flavorful sprays that he uses to infuse a mist of flavor to finish off a cocktail. They make all their own bitters in house. For those who want a lower alcohol content, Aceves is developing a clarified milk punch with, rum, tequila, star anise and cardamon that steeps for two days to blend all the flavors.
“Bartenders are almost like a chef now,” said Aceves, who prides himself on educating himself and his staff. “You can make it a career now.”
He collaborates closely with FIN’s chef to develop cocktails that compliment the tapas menu available upstairs. Aceves wants customers to have the option of two great places to eat and drink in the neighborhood.
We met with Aceves as he’s preparing to open The Residency to nearby residents who want join their exclusive Bottle Holder’s Club. You can purchase a rare, unlisted, bottle of Scotch, whisky, gin or vodka to store in one of the bar’s cabinets and serve to your guests for a very nominal fee. Bottles average around $250. If your guests want it mixed into a cocktail, the cost is only $2. Or you can drink it straight or on the rocks with those super cool large ice cubes designed to yield the proper the dilution of the alcohol.
“We love the diversity of the neighborhood,” said Aceves, now that FIN is closing in on its one year anniversary. He said he and his partners chose Larchmont because of the solid neighborhood, as well as the hipster vibe…and they liked the idea of being in the middle of the city — halfway between downtown and the Westside.
But more than anything, Aceves said he wants to make people comfortable. So if you know a lot about spirits, this is place for you. And if you don’t know anything, Aceves wants to be your guide. He says he loves the idea of de-mystifying something foreign, and he loves sharing what he’s learning from distillers who invite him out to their operations. He’s also planning to have tastings and social hours to introduce people to the wide variety of spirits available. So watch for more information coming soon. And if you’re interested in joining the Bottle Holders Club, just e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.