I went with some Venice locals to check out the new bar The Otheroom on Abbot Kinney on Friday. I was hopeful for this place because I am really fond of the owners' bars in New York for their low-key sophistication.
The Otheroom doesn't serve food, but the manager told me that they stock the take-out and delivery menus from all the nearby restaurants so you can bring in whatever you want to eat. It also doesn't serve spirits, but it compensates for that with an extensive assortment of microbrews and wines by the glass. The real deficiency of the place, though, might be cured with time and the fickleness of LA's hot spots: it's indecently packed and loud. The space is really lovely - all greys and sleek lines contrasting with exposed brick walls and faux pressed-tin ceilings - but all the hard surfaces make the din practically unbearable. The music was incongruously loud (why play self-conscious jazz at painful decibel levels?), the people were packed too tightly, and the lounge atmosphere was severely compromised by the 20-minute wait required to obtain a $9 draft beer from the bartender. On the other hand, there were a lot of people there who seemed happy to skip conversation in favor of seeing and being seen. Until this place settles down, I won't be going back (and it's just around the corner from my home so I'd love to be a regular).