In the thick of the craft brewing craze, a beer bar really has to stand out from the pack. You could go with a school-dazed themed like P.S. 612, turn your bar into a dive from the sticks like Rambutan, or just stick to the speakeasy-era like Federal Bar and let all your taps do the talking. City Tavern, the new bar and restaurant coming to Culver City from the forces behind Rush Street, plans on just sticking the taps right next to your head.
City Tavern will open on Culver Blvd. in less than two weeks, on April 4th. A press release for the new venture calls it "of the people, by the people and for the people," which better mean there's not a single 'effing fifteen dollar cocktail in sight.
Whereas Rush Street goes for the frat party vibe, City Tavern is adhering more to a vintage industrial feel, with exposed brick and beams, low lighting, and reclaimed wood floors. Wooden chairs and tables and a cafeteria table line the front patio, while inside dining and drinking gets communal at a central table. But where you really want to be is in one of the three booths that come with taps built-in.
The restaurant is California's first-state approved business that will have its booths fitted with a computerized draft system. This means you can pour your own beers from three taps without having to wait ten minutes for some good-lookin' dummy's attention at the bar. Unfortunately, like those computerized hotel minibars, they will be hard to fool as a monitor will keep track of everything you drink.
The rest of us will find 22 taps at the main bar, including Bear Republic, Craftsman, Eagle Rock, and Iron Fist. There will be sizes from a sampler to a growler, so you can try or covet your favorite brew. If you're not swallowing today's revolution in beer-making, there will also be a list of boutique California wines and handcrafted classic cocktails with a contemporary curve. Food, meanwhile, will be small and shareable plates from Jessica Christensen, a vet of Ritz-Carlton Laguna Nigel, Tracht's , and Studio at Montage. Expect entrees like Arctic char roasted with bacon and port and stout-poached hangar steak, plus smaller servings like halibut crudo, crudite, and a Jidori chicken panini.
So far it sounds like a cooler, more grown-up experience than Rush. But with beer taps so close to your mouths, we have a feeling the night could still end back on the stripper pole at the owners' flagship restaurant. We'll see what comes on April 4th.
City Tavern, 9739 Culver Blvd, Culver City. 310-838-9739.
Earlier: Rush Street Owners Double The Double Dutch Space For City Tavern [Grub Street]