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/// L.A. UPDATE
 
FEBRUARY/MARCH 2008
 
To Live and Drink in L.A.
Will FeBREWary Be L.A.’s Lucky Month?
It was not a very Beery Christmas, nor a Happy Brew Year, for L.A.–area beer geeks. The gift they all wanted — indeed, were promised — was the December launch of a certain drinking destination. We’re talking, of course, of the long-anticipated, oft-heralded, much-delayed, increasingly imminent opening of Father’s Office 2, the much bigger spin-off location of Santa Monica’s premier craft beer bar.

“The new Father’s Office will open in mid-February,” claims owner/chef Sang Yoon (through his publicist). Yoon transformed the original bar into a nationally renowned gourmet pub destination after he took it over in 2000. (I’ll believe the new place is open when I’m sitting at the new bar sipping a snifter of Craftsman Brewing’s Sour Lavender saison.) Construction is still going on steadily behind the boarded-off patio and entrance to the new venue, which is located next to H. D. Buttercup in the landmark Helms Bakery building off Venice Boulevard in L.A.

Despite the fact that a couple of alleged artists’ illustrations of the frontage and inside have appeared on some restaurant blogs, no one from the press has yet to see inside the site. Yoon is happy to discuss the new space, however, which he did with me late last year. “We’re calling it ‘Father’s Office Version 2.0,’” he explains. “We’re treating it like a software update, streamlining the whole experience and making it more efficient.” There will likely be further tweaks to FO2 once it’s up and running, Yoon expects.

The new Father’s Office will be a much larger space than the tiny hovel that the original occupies. For starters, the seating capacity will be two-and-a-half times that of FO1, which is a cramped 80. There will also be an open-air patio fronting Helms Avenue (which will eventually be closed to automobile traffic). With any luck, it will be a nonsmoking patio.

“The new place will keep the same spirit of the original, only it will be a modern version.”

“The new place will keep the same spirit of the original, only it will be a modern version,” Yoon says. “It will be a long, narrow room with wood finishes, and we’ll have 1950s barstools.” The all-new FO2 should look more like a retro ’50s place, according to the owner — which means that the original bar’s mid-century–era neon sign will be reprised. In fact, the new sign has already been up for about a month.

Now for the important stuff: The bar will be bigger and roomier, and there will be 72 taps — but only 36 different beers. “We’re not like the Yard House, touting the taps we have,” Yoon laughs. “We’ll have the same amount of beers as the original Father’s Office [the beers at both FOs will always mirror each other], only there will be two taps of each.” He admits that he will be bringing on some special new beers for the opening, but he remains mum on what they might be. Given the season, they’ll likely be barley wines.

Food-wise, the Office Burger will make the transition to the new place, as will most of FO1’s menu. “It will be essentially the same food as the original Father’s Office, but the menu will grow; we’ll have a bigger kitchen,” Yoon explains. There will be a major change to the wine list, however. FO2 will begin serving wine only by the glass or the carafe — and from kegs. “It cuts down on waste,” he said, adding that he will feature the high-end wares of small wineries from Santa Barbara County and the Central California Coast. FO1 will be retrofitted to make the switch to wine kegs as well, according to Yoon.

Another big change — and one that will not be duplicated at the original bar due to licensing regulations — will be the availability of hard liquor at FO2. But in keeping with the Father’s Office esoteric spirit, “We will have a small selection of artisanal spirits from microdistilleries, such as Anchor Distillery, Distillery No. 209 [both in San Francisco] and Rogue Spirits [Newport, Ore.],” said Yoon. “There will be three or four in each category of liquor — but no vodka.”

Why the exclusion of the colorless distilled beverage? “The same reason that Father’s Office serves no Budweiser and no chicken,” he responds. “They’re ubiquitous; you can get them anywhere!” And speaking of no-no’s, Yoon’s disdain for corn syrup remains unabated. There will be no soda mixers (bottled Coca-Cola without corn syrup will be available, like at FO1). “We’ll make our own seltzer,” he adds. “And we will feature only four cocktails — complete with those giant ice cubes; we have one of those ice cube-making machines.”

Yoon has big plans for the new Father’s Office, one of which is a nod to his serious beer-geek clientele, particularly homebrewers, who have been longtime regulars at FO1. “In 2008, we’re going to host an amateur brewing contest, and we will serve the winner’s beer at the bar,” he reveals. “The Food Network has expressed interest in covering it.”
Once it finally opens, FO2 will have hours identical to those of FO1, with one exception. The new place will open at noon on Fridays instead of 4:00 p.m. For more information and updates, check the Web site, fathersoffice.com.

L.A.’s collective holiday dream didn’t come true last year. But there’s always Valentine’s Day!

Father’s Office 2
3229 Helms Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90034

Father’s Office 1
1018 Montana Ave.
Santa Monica, CA 90403
310-393-BEER
fathersoffice.com

 

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