Dress up to spend the evening at Pour Vous, the gorgeous new cocktail bar on Melrose that serves stellar French inspired libations, their “Look Sharp” dress code translates to “leave your hoodies and flip flops at home.” The magical experience that awaits is more than worth the extra time it takes to gussy up. Opening the door to the Parisian style bar, conceived by Pablo Moix and Steve Livigni, Pour Vous may just be the sexiest new space to open in LA in a long time.
Walking into the Parisian style champagne salon feels like stepping back in time to another era where bartenders wore bowties and revelers dressed up for an evening out. In fact at Pour Vous the bartenders do wear hand-tied bow ties with their dress shirts rolled up to the elbows. The style of the bar, domed seating area, and warm glow of the light captures the atmosphere of a hotel in the French Riviera.
The ambitious 26 specialty cocktails on the menu do not disappoint. Each recipe derives from a classic French drink or a Parisian interpretation of cocktails and flavors from around the world. The all-star line up of bartenders: Steve Livigni, Pablo Moix, Dave Fernie, Lindsay Nader, Devon Espinoza, and Adrian Biggs pour ingredients into authentic Parisian cocktail shakers. An extensive collection of cognac, armagnac, pastis, and calvados line the bar shelves. Whiskey and bourbon drinkers will enjoy a shot of the Marie Duffau Napoleon Armagnac.
The cocktail menu is divided into categories: Aperitif- for digestives, Parfum- a series of refreshing citrus, fruit, and flower focused drinks, Potion- the more spirit-forward choices, Par Avion- for recipes inspired by French colonies, and Sante- a set of cocktails with healthy ingredients with everything from live algae to carrot, berries, and herbs.
Start off with an aperitif: the Kina Crusta gets gently set down on the bar in a small sugar-rimmed glass. This palate cleanser combines the pleasantly bitter orange and herbal flavor of Campari with grapefruit, lemon, Curaco, and champagne. Sipping this little stunner it is easy to understand why apertifs are so popular in France.
La Vie en Rose
From the Parfum section of the menu the La Vie en Rose combines Lillet, Framboise, lime, pineapple, and aromatic rosewater. Topped with a rose petal, the framboise eau de vie flavors in this cocktail edge towards a sweet note without the addition of any sugar.
De Peche Mode
From the Potion offerings, the De Peche Mode draws its inspiration from the classic Floradora cocktail. Pour Vous’ bubby version is served in a collins glass with a tall ice cube. This combination of gin, peach, citrus, ginger, Jamaican rum and soda water is topped with a peach candy.
Also on the Potion page, the Pour Vous’ take on a classic Stinger has been reimagined as Pétanques (named after the French game that is similar to Bocce). In the classic Stinger recipe brandy and crème de menthe are shaken and strained into a chilled glass – here it has found a new life as a mix of cognac and Branca Menta. Served in a glass of crushed ice and topped with a crown of fresh mint leaves, the Pentanques tastes like a French mint julep.
Moving on to the Par Avion page, these cocktails feature flavors from around the world. For L’Indochinois, bartender Devon Espinoza combines Bonal, lime, Curaco, Thai basil, and cucumber in a martini glass. The herbal tones of the Thai basil mixed with the fresh cucumber make for light, bright sips and some dreaming of trips to Vietnam.
Menage a Trois
Finishing the night with something a bit stronger, Dave Fernie makes his Menage a Trois with calvados, cognac, demerrara sugar, bitters and citrus zest. This naughty name for a French-ified old-fashioned style drink is the perfect end to a delicious cocktails tasting. Spending an evening tasting amazing flavors, in a festive atmosphere, with stunning décor- it all feels like an embarrassment of riches. Time to open iCal to plan a return visit.
**Before even finishing this story I headed back to Pour Vous for one more cocktail (this time no camera but trust me it was gorgeous and unique.) This time the Sur La Mer from the Sante health page. Did we feel healed? Maybe – sipping this tart daiquiri-like mixture of rhum, E3 live algae, fresca slat, and evaporated cane may be the most unique flavor experience in quite some time. That and one more shot of Marie Duffau Napoleon Armagnac for bonne chance. Viva la France!