Wednesday, March 27, 2019

The Wolves Is The Name Of A Really Cool Bar Actually

By Jonathan Bilski and TTDILA's resident whiskey snob

Arooooo! Did you hear that? It sounds like being pretentious. It's The Wolves. And when a place looks this nice, it can have that name.

Daniel Salin
I'm writing about The Wolves. Not coyotes, it's not in the mountains. It's downtown. It's a bar you might have heard off of Instagram or seen online. It's easy to miss while driving around downtown LA. Once you go in, your just blown away, by how cool it is. And think about how better dressed you should be. One of those who is better dressed is Daniel Salin, a co-owner in The Wolves. He talked to me a little about the place as we sat at the bar and had some lovely drinks.

You'll first notice the ceiling when you enter. "From the late 1800' came out of a train station in Paris, Illinois. It was 22 feet wide, our space was 11 feet wide. I had the idea of cutting it in half and doing a double arch, instead of a single arch. It was a huge gamble...," Daniel said about what was over our heads. The gamble paid off, you'll admire it every time you look up. He told me it took 2 1/2 years before they could even open and it looks worth it.

After telling me about the front doors from Argentina, pre-Nazis hiding there, from the 1890's same as the beautiful lamps on the bar, Daniel went over having all the ingredients being locally sourced at the bar, which is something many people care about and you might be one of them. I sure as hell don't, but if you want that locally sourced saying to your friends, you got it here. And they do the ingredients in-house too. Really, that does make the drinks sparkle compared to other bars in town.

Thursday nights are special at The Wolves. "There's an elevated cocktail experience called Le Néant. which is French for The Nothingness," Daniel told me. I just started laughing when he told me what it meant in French. Daniel knows it's pretentious and told me the first go of the name was the French term "To get into trouble."

Here's what's ripped from the Le Neant online page on the experience:

"Le Néant is an upscale cocktail experience inspired by the Japanese idea of omakase which directly translates to “I’ll leave it up to you”. There is no menu, only a list of curated ingredients from a local farmer’s market. Bar Director Kevin Lee uses these ingredients to design your cocktail. The list changes every week and the cocktails will change based on these ingredients. Every amaro, bitter, liqueur and vermouth are made in-house using the ingredients for the current week."

Le Néant
$75, must reserve

Why, The Wolves? Daniel's love of the movie Gangs of New York. He really liked a gang called The Hounds after researching what the movie was based on, but they kind of had a dark history. So, The Wolves was a "close enough" gang name for one that might have roamed New York.

You can also have a delicious meal. "Our style is era specific, turn-of-the-century. So, we tried to permeate that through our menu. We wanted to have old world classics with maybe a slight twist on them," Daniel said. He also told me that the favorites are the Seafood Chitarra Pasta and Steak Frites. He made me hungry for the Beef Wellington too.

I forgot to ask about the skeletons. They're in the back.

But...but what about the drinks, Jonathan? Other than people seemingly having a good time, I don't think the would have hired that many actors enjoying themselves, people we're have a blast at the bar or in their booths.

The Wolves has set a rather high bar for itself in that the handsome interior design and the patina of the furnishing dictate a certain style of cocktails. Perhaps it is more of a feeling or the imagination of what these cocktails should be. The Wolves exceeded our expectations. After sampling beverages across the menu, the best words to describe the Wolves’ cocktails would be “seasonal” and “balanced.” The High West Double Rye Old Fashioned was particularly well done, and the spicy notes of the rye whiskey were complemented by home-made pork fat bitters. Magnificent. The Wolves managed to tastefully incorporate a touch of richness to a classic staple without the result ending up as a trendy, overly-sweet, bacon-flavored, disaster. The bourbon-based, Banana Cream with Some Herbs, was delightfully refreshing, and the cocktail tasted exactly as it sounds. There are several gems on the menu including cocktails that incorporate mild-to-heavily peated Scotch whisky for all you smoky whisky enthusiasts.For those who prefer to experience the satisfying aroma and visual experience of actual burning wood port barrel smoke, give the Bourbon Cranberry with Smoke a whirl.

The Wolves
519 S Spring St, Los Angeles, CA 90013
5pm - 1am
Paid parking lot nearby
Valet parking is available at City Center Parking structure at 501 S Spring St Garage. Rates may vary.
Reservations are not accepted. Please expect to wait during weekends.