For those of you missing the Temple Bar, or old school enough to miss The Garage, The Virgil brings a breath of nostalgia to the neighborhood. With gold-stained walls, shiny leather banquettes and a stage that gleams, the A Side does right by the bands that once graced the stage, and promises excitement for those to come. The B Side is a comfortable cocktail bar, upscale, yet comfy.
The jukebox is designed to be a draw, and it’s eclectic and charming, with heavy amounts of old-school funk and soul, and a few fairly obscure but classic albums – such as the Beach Boys’ Friends and 20/20, Funkadelic’s first album – among the more standard mix of classic LPs and Greatest Hits collections. I saw the potential for marathon listening sessions in any possible bar-time mood, just be sure to grab a table near the speakers if the room is full, as music is kept at a comfortable level at the bar to enable chatting instead of hollering.
The cocktail menu is comprised of the usual suspects — mojitos and daquiris, with top-shelf spirits and lots of muddling involved. Make sure to look twice for the “secret menu,” featuring their rotating seasonal specials. Right now the summer menu is mainly about lime and mint; the multicoloured Queens Park Swizzle and drily refreshing East Side were the favorites at our table. The Blazing Saddle – made with habanero-infused tequila and raspberry ale – was the most memorable of the signature cocktails we sampled, packing a firm kick on the first sip, but mellowing to a seductive pinch by the halfway mark, as the intense heat was tempered by the sweetness of raspberry ale.
If you’re ready for a well-made drink in Los Feliz, you might have found yourself a new favorite watering hole, and if you’ve been around a while, you might find yourself rediscovering an old one.
Photo courtesy of The Virgil