Wednesday, December 03 2014


Two dozen KFAers took the streets of downtown LA on a balmy Friday night in November to enjoy the fruits of their labor with a carefully curated crawl of the bars and restaurants located in KFA-designed adaptive reuse projects. With cars left behind (most attendees took the Metro to get downtown), the group spent the evening savoring drinks and food, while experiencing the new vibrancy of downtown.  All of these spaces didn’t exist just a handful of years ago when KFA completed its first adaptive reuse project in 2001 in the Old Bank District.

Stop 1 – Upstairs Bar @ The Ace Hotel – Completed December 2013

The first stop on the crawl is one of 2014’s new standout bars in DTLA called Upstairs on the roof of the Ace Hotel on Broadway.  The bar settles right in among Downtown’s other well-known spots, mixing amazing views and ambience with great food and drinks–a quintessential L.A. experience. Scattered around this ceilingless oasis are cool oak tables and cushy white linen couches with the building’s iconic historic tower in the background, creating an ultimate rooftop spot.

@JaimeKFA tweeted: “The south side is great for in-formal private parties who feel like lounging in the moonlight, or squatting.  Plus the filigree is more interesting.  Check out another KFA adaptive reuse project (the Eastern).” @KFALosAngeles #acehotel #upstairsbar #dtla

Owen posted on Facebook:  Keep out of the pool if you’ve had diarrhea in the last 14 days, and other words of wisdom learned from pool signage.

@KarenKFA tweeted “Most comfortable seat. Lounge chairs at night by the pool looking at the stars. Such a good way to have the first drink of the night.” In another tweet, “Although drinking a martini out of a plastic stem-less wine glass…next time I’m going to go piña colada. @KFALosAngeles #acehotel #upstairsbar #dtla

Stops 2 & 3 – The Varnish & Artisan House @ Pacific Electric Lofts – Completed 2004

Conceived as a hidden speakeasy, The Varnish, located behind an unmarked door inside of Cole’s at the Pacific Electric Lofts, serves their own crafted beers and drinks made with ice that was chipped away from large ice blocks. The place has a mysterious appeal, with low lighting, bordello-black wallpaper, and intimate banquettes, which welcomes cozy conversation and crafted libations.  Faint jazz standards played in the background. The space is small, and they weren’t quite accustomed to making artisan cocktails for large crowds.

@GinaKFA tweeted, “Not a place for big groups, but the best drink I had all night. Classic martini in the old fashioned size/style glass perfectly chilled and with a non standard variety of olive that was enormous and delicious. They even served the drink with a little dish I could use for the pit when I was done. @KFALosAngeles #TheVarnish #ColesFrenchDip

Getting hungry the group walked upstairs to Artisan House also housed at the Pacific Electric building.  Artisan House was friendly and accommodating to KFA’s crowd and served up delicious hand-crafted cocktails and eclectic bar bites including gourmet pizzas, soups, sliders, pastas, and truffle fries.  Artisan House won the honors for the longest stop on the crawl.

Chad posted on Facebook, “My favorite spot of the night.  I had never been to the Artisan House and this is totally my kind of modern urban vibe.  The only thing missing might have been some live music.  Food was great, service was awesome, and drinks were well crafted.  Loved the original brick walls and little gourmet market.”  #ArtisanHouse

Karen posted: “The Artisan House had the best servers and the food was great. They were amazing dealing with our large rowdy group. Extra bonus… I left without my phone and the gal chased me down the street to give it back!”

John posted: “Two words: truffle fries.”

Stop 4 – Salvage Bar & Lounge @ The Roosevelt – Completed 2008

The Salvage Bar & Lounge’s 2,000 square foot space brings a modern aesthetic accentuated by reclaimed vintage pieces salvaged from the Roosevelt building upstairs. Salvage’s bar is made from an old brass door, vintage panels, and stained glass.  The main room sits amidst timeless remnants of an era, which gives it the feel of an old palatial ballroom given a contemporary spin.

@MonicaKFA posted, “Found it interesting to learn from John about how this bar was constructed.  A lot of work and time obviously went into creating the entire scene from scrap materials left over from the Roosevelt’s construction.”

Stop 5 – Public School 612 @ Pegasus Apartments – Completed 2005

Located on the ground floor of the Pegasus Apartments, Public School 612 features an encyclopedic and eclectic selection of beers and wines to tempt any connoisseur.  A classic gastropub vaguely themed around the idea of school grub with a massive tiled bar, high-top common tables, and a menu that looks like a grade-school composition notebook. The staff is warm and engaging, and the food was by all reports super delicious. KFAers enjoyed the tres adobo tacos, fries, and chicken meatballs which came with a special marinara-type sauce.

Emmanuel posted on Facebook: “During this stop at Public School, KFA’s pub-crawlers found themselves thrilled to begin a lesson in mixology. Drinks were flowing in this part of downtown’s vibrant community while a battle for the next dart champion commenced. What a great way to build camaraderie amongst fellow associates and lasting relationships. #KFAPUBCRAWL”

Peter posted on Facebook: “Public School 612 had an excellent casual atmosphere with well made drinks. The game area was fun, except for the bulgy, broken dartboard. But fortunately, the delicious food was enough to distract from that. #KFAPUBCRAWL”

John posted:  “The fries weren’t truffled but awesome nonetheless.”