Birds & Bees
Follow the wooden fence in the corner of the parking lot at Broadway and 2nd. Enter the gate, go down the stairs, and pass through the small alley. You know you’re in the right place when you find the golden door. Once inside, the first thing you’ll notice is the decor — a beautiful 1950’s-style living room awaits you. Take a seat around the hanging fireplace and grab a drink. You’re here to talk about the Birds & Bees. The design of Birds & Bees is impeccable. Even though they’ve only been open since January, their interior, designed by David Poffenberger and Ryan Turner of Raveled Studio, was nominated for Time Out L.A.’s 2017 Bar Award for Best Bar Design.
Head bartender Bethany Ham stands behind the gorgeous bar with a warm smile on her face. Tonight she’ll be your wingman. “All bartenders should be good wingmen,” she says. “We’re here to make you look cool.” Perhaps she’ll help you find that perfect conversation starter — “You can’t go wrong by talking about how awesome Helen Mirren is,” Bethany explains while she guides you to a cocktail you’ll love. Bethany’s got your back. “We want Birds & Bees to feel like you’ve been invited to a cocktail party at someone’s house,” Bethany insists.
“We want you to feel welcome. If there’s a spirit you’re unfamiliar with, we’re happy to let you sample it. We never want you to be intimidated by drinking. We’re excited to let you know what’s in your cocktail. We’re here to give you exactly what you want,” says Bethany.
What you want is most likely to be found inside of their menu. Keeping in theme with the bar’s retro feel, the cover features hip young people gathered around a record player with the suggestion to turn the page to learn How To Host A Cocktail Party. In order to create the drink list, Bethany scoured old cocktail recipes then used her extensive bartending experience to update the drinks.
The cocktails are named after celebrities of yore, such as the Ella Fitzgerald, the Desi Arnaz and the Lucille Ball. “I asked myself ‘What would Lucy drink?’” says Bethany, “And then made that.” Mrs. Ball’s namesake brings muddled strawberries, saffron-infused Alto Reposado tequila, amontillado sherry, a house-made white peppercorn tincture, cinnamon cordial and a splash of lemon juice, topped off with some fresh-grated cinnamon. “It’s summer in a glass,” describes Bethany. “A cheerful drink for such a cheerful personality.”
It seems that everything at Birds & Bees has been put together with such delight, with every small detail tended to with care. Even the water glasses were carefully considered. The owners, Ankur and Dev Desai, brought the cups back from India. They are convinced (rightly) that water tastes better in stainless steel.
Birds & Bees is a hidden gem of a bar. Just don’t call it a speakeasy — as that’s more closely associated with 1920’s prohibition design. Rather, Birds & Bees is DTLA’s best open secret. A neighborhood bar where you’ll feel right at home.
Written by Abel Horwitz
Photographed by Laetitia Wajnapel