The holidays are upon us.
Maybe this year your self-care includes taking a tiny break from the traffic and tinsel and screaming kids in the mall and hunkering down with a nice cocktail with some nice people in a nice lounge.
If you're looking for a spot where the lighting is soft, the noise-level tolerable and the vibe welcoming, the new Georgia's in Redondo Beach fits the bill.
Partners Tim Foley, Jonathan Dahl and Jocelyn Kaylene all thought Redondo Beach could use a traditional lounge. The sort you might find in Chicago or New York or even downtown LA— a destination for people who want someplace pleasant to imbibe, with friends, for a party, to watch a ballgame.
As partner Tim Foley put it, "A good part of Redondo Beach has been underserved." (no pun intended).
Locals might recognize Dahl from a decade behind the bar at Darren's. It was there he befriended Foley whose company runs the Truxton's restaurants. Foley brought in Kaylene from his Santa Monica store. Each brings his or her own strengths: Foley the corporate vision, Dahl the wine and mixology, and Kaylene the computer guru, "We balance each other well," as she put it.
The trio found a location on Aviation in the recently departed Gassers, and gave that rockabilly/JohnnyCash/biker style space a remodel.
The walls are now a soothing grey-blue, the barstools studded, tufted-leather, adding hint of whimsy and nostalgia in old-timey tennis racquets and gilded mirrors on the walls. They have the requisite five televisions, enough so you can watch Sunday ticket if you must, but also avoid them if you desire. It's refined and female friendly, but not too fancy to be a local hang.
Georgia's takes its name from Foley's grandmother, who died with "a glass of bourbon and a cigar in her hand."
Good, friendly service is the priority—something Foley defines as Cheers-esque, while admitting that while interviewing for staff, whenever he referenced the infamous sitcom bar where 'everybody knows your name,' candidates younger than thirty gave him a blank stare.
There are twelve craft cocktails—and they are inspired—feeling both old school and cool.
The 'Grandma George,' a sort of smoky old-fashioned, has quickly become the most popular; Wild Turkey rye, peaty Laphroaig scotch whisky, coffee & bourbon-aged bitters (from El Segundo!), a sugar cube, and orange zest, garnished with a Luxardo cherry. It's a slow sipping delight.
For holiday flavor Georgia's offers the Kodiak made with Buffalo Trace bourbon, St. George Spiced Pear, apple cider, and lemon, topped with a swoosh of egg white and garnished with a couple of cinnamon sticks. It tastes like frothy, boozy pie with a nice balance of bitter to sweet.
There's also a curated menu of fourteen wines by the glass, mostly Californian and French, plus five local beers on draft and a handful of popular bottled brands.
They are also looking to add a wine night and a bourbon night, and a small stage with some music. Weekend brunch is starting the first of the year. They are still dialing in exactly what they want to be, how best to serve the community.
The kitchen is also ramping up in the next couple of weeks, at which point Georgia's will expand their current bites menu, while sticking to small plates.
I tried the rosemary ham/white cheddar/and havarti grilled cheese, one of three varieties, and it was pretty amazing (seriously, who doesn't like fancy grilled cheese?). There's also a spicy tuna, a cone of mildly spiced fish with forbidden rice and trimmings. They've got a beet hummus, and sriracha deviled eggs and fresh cut fries, with sea salt or fennel salt or truffle, served with aioli or ketchup.
These people take the Cheers thing seriously. At the stroke of five when the regulars started strolling in, I heard them call out each of them by name. Now that's a Season's greeting!
More than half of Georgia's customers Uber or Lyft, but for you designated drivers, they've leased the neighboring office-building parking lot in the evening and weekends.
Georgia's is located at 1500 Aviation Blvd. in Redondo Beach. They are open Mon-Weds. 5 p.m. to midnight, Thurs-Sat. 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. and Sunday 9 a.m. to midnight.
Eileen Shields is a South Bay food writer and creator of 'The Bench:' contact at email@example.com