The Hostess with the Mostest
This town can be a recipe for disaster: Rockstars hitting on scenesters, hipsters hating on celebutantes, fashionistas competing with glamazons. Michelle Engstrom, the entertainment relations manager for Bolthouse Productions, is always behind the scenes orchestrating events so that all partygoers have fun.
“Clients don’t want to feel that they are only as good as their last dollar amount spent with you,” says Engstrom, who also doubles as V.I.P. host for Trousdale, the latest Bolthouse hotspot. “You have to make sure the waitress is really giving them great service and that they are having fun.” Engstrom adds that a V.I.P. host should remember a client’s favorite drink, birthday and table preference. Attention to detail in LA has become even more important because of the constant influx of new venues. “Everyone is pretty much pulling from the same pool of people,” she says. “Staying power is hard in this town. If you make it a year and your crowd is still good, you are doing something right.” On her fifth year in the industry, Engstrom is clearly doing something right.
Y Drive LA
To go out in LA means you have to figure out how to get home at some point. How many times has one stood outside of a bar and heard “are you sure you’re OK to drive?” Finally, five friends — Alex Kozakov, Shawn Vardi, Hunter Gellin, and brothers Omid and Amir Kalantari — created Y Drive LA, after realizing that people don’t take a cab home, because they don’t want to leave their car and deal with getting it back the next day.
Y Drive LA’s ninja-looking drivers pull up to your car on their futuristic fold-up scooters. They put the scooter in a no-leak pouch that fits easily in your trunk then drive you home. You and your car get home safe and sound, while the Y-Driver takes off into the night. Y Drive LA will bring you as far as you want to go with prices comparable to cab fare. Omid Kalantari says his drivers are “modern-day superheroes, because they are keeping people out of jail. Why risk everything that you’ve worked so hard for because of one ride home?” Kalantari acknowledges that his personal penchant for drinking and getting into trouble spawned the idea for Y Drive LA. He hopes that now people can enjoy nightlife more than ever before because, as he puts it, “they have the convenience of us and don’t have to worry about the repercussions of driving.”
The Bacchus Blogger and the Epicurean Diner
Girl at a Bar and Kat Odell
LA nightlife can be a jungle. Luckily, two brave bloggers delve deeply into the restaurant and bar scene to give us an inside scoop. Girl At a Bar goes to LA’s hippest night spots alone without the excuse of a cell phone, friends or reading material then blogs and Twitters about what happens.
Author and chef, Kat Odell is the editor of Eater LA, an intrepid blog that chronicles the LA restaurant scene. Grassroots critics Girl At a Bar and Odell report on what an average diner and nightgoer should really expect.
How does Girl At a Bar get her honest perspective? “You have to be in a mind-set that is open and receptive to whatever happens to you — moments of silence to rude people to having amazing conversations, or, simply going home with nothing to report,” she says. Girl At a Bar has even blogged on the time when a woman threatened to scratch her eyes out. Or how she circumvented a bouncer who told her to wait in line. Or when she met real LA natives, who actually remember when school would be cancelled because of smog days. “It’s all worth it, when a place is unpretentious and everyone seems genuinely happy to be there and share a cool experience,” she says.
girlatabar.blogspot.com | la.eater.com
The Curator of Cool
As the distinction between cocktail connoisseur and food epicure has blurred, some expect their drinks to receive the same level of attention to detail reserved for fine dining. A bartender-turned-iceman, Michel Dozois founded Névé Luxury Ice, which provides elegant ice in various shapes, color and designs for drinks or parties.
Dozois discovered this concept in Japan, where bartenders sculpt ice to order. He loved the idea and was able to turn ice sculpting into a process done ahead of time for delivery to bars all over the city. Névé Luxury Ice supplies LA places like Library Bar, Comme Ça, and the Dining Room in Santa Monica with custom ice forms such as highball ice for tall drinks and frozen orbs with a cherry inside for a fruity suprise. Dozois’s personal favorites are ice cubes for shaking with no corners. Névé Luxury Ice is also designed to provide the perfect temperature for the drink, while taking up less surface area, resulting in less dilution. In a town where everyone aspires to be hot, Dozois has turned the science of molecules into the epitome of cool. “Water wants to be ice,” says Dozois, whose drink is a Laphroaig old-fashioned on a Névé Luxury Ice cracked cube. Santé!