How to Get into The h.wood Group’s Exclusive New Restaurant-Lounge, The Nice Guy

It’s ”ay ohh, who do ya know?” at this Mafia-inspired hangout
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The Nice Guy, The h.wood Group’s new mafia-inspired lounge and its first restaurant, opens tonight. With elegant white marble bar tops, stylish mid-century decor, intimate booths, it’s exactly where you’d imagine Sinatra entertaining his goombas into the wee hours of the night. There’s even a chef’s table in the kitchen where the pallies would have sated late-night cravings with crispy eggplant “parm” sandwiches and meatballs between sips of whiskey. And a piano and microphone sit in the corner of the main room for spontaneous crooning sessions. Dino would’ve been all over that.

The Nice Guy is a welcome venue on La Cienega, a stretch of street in WeHo that could use another great craft cocktail bar, especially one featuring a 15-cocktail-long menu by mixologist Brian Stewart (Soho House, Petit Ermitage) and h.wood partner Adam Koral.

Only thing is, it’s a reservations-only joint. But not Trois Mec and 10 Pound reservations-only; you have to actually have an in. And sadly, no amount of duking or sweet-talking the hostess will gain you access.

“It’s really our friends and family that have been hand-selected and reached out to,” explained Koral. “We have a Rolodex that we built with everyone that we want here and they all know that if they need to invite someone in, they have to let us know first.” That’s how strict they are.

The space is cozy and lends itself to the lounging vibe. Three-deep at the bar would ruin that. And the reservations-only concept, Koral explains, is their version of hospitality, allowing them to know every single person in the room. “Every night we know who’s coming in. We prepare for them, we have them placed and sat. So we know if someone likes to have a booth in the corner, we know if someone doesn’t like to eat late.”

Now, if you’re reading this and thinking you’d really like to check it out but don’t actually know anyone at The Nice Guy; not to fret. According to Koral all you have to do is the following in this order.

Call. “We have a hostess on call all the time, besides the wee hours of the night of course. And she answers the phone, she knows what to say, she knows what to ask.”

Email. If you don’t have connections, email them and get a meeting. “Basically we meet with them, get to know who they are, and invite them in.”

Done deal.

Once in, celebrate like Frank and grab that booth next to the piano with the perfect view of the room and the front door and order up a round of Gentleman Jack. Or if you want to go the cocktail route, there’s The Chairman which is made with Gentleman Jack, Aperol, cacao, salted cola reduction, cider vinegar and served in a flask. Salute!


http://www.lamag.com/Pics/arrow.pngThe Nice Guy, 401 N. La Cienega Blvd., West Hollywood, 310-360-9500 or email reservations@theniceguyla.com

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