Hidden away in a non-descript corner of Koreatown is The Normandie Club, a partnership between 213 Nightlife and Proprietors LLC. You might better know them collectively as the folks behind Seven Grand and The Varnish, or NYC’s Death + Company and Nitecap, respectively. Together, the two liquor-loving entities have collaborated on downtown’s technicolor-lit Honeycut and are now responsible for K-Town’s newest destination for casual indulgence.
Unlike their other ventures, The Normandie Club isn’t hyper-focused on a highly customized, themed experience. You won’t find any fancy cocktails here with clever names to be deciphered. Neighborhood casual is The Normandie Club’s game, and as bar manager Daniel Eun (of The Varnish, Please Don’t Tell, Honeycut) tells me, The Normandie Club is all about being an accessible spot where locals feel comfortable congregating.
And, casual doesn’t necessarily mean compromised, nor is the The Normandie Club lacking charm. The Normandie takes iconic cocktails, retains their familiarity by keeping their names unchanged, and elevates the classic concoctions by tweaking staple ingredients in subtle but delightfully tasty ways. Eun and his team have got quite a few tricks up their sleeve, from sous-vide coconut to strange-looking, newfangled distilling devices that look more like the tools of a mad scientist rather than a mixologist’s.
Still, it’s a cozy little place, and one of which K-Town has been in dire need. Nestled against the bar is an alleyway that’s like Little Tokyo’s Far Bar, with its amber string lights swaying above. But with just a handful of two-tops, the space plays more like a romantic date spot than a cursory pregame joint.
When you visit Normandie, try their take on an Old Fashioned: Bourbon infused with nutty sous-vide toasted coconut; Apple Brandy; Spiced Almond Demarara; and Angostura Bitters, which join for a thankfully non-syrupy rendition of the classic cocktail. Eun says that coconut-haters are often surprised by The Normandie Club’s interpretations and suggests that perhaps the modern gentleman not only knows what he wants, but is also unafraid of what he doesn’t know. “The menu embodies that,” Eun tells us. Their cocktails strike the perfect balance of the familiar and the unchartered.
For those willing to venture one step further into unknown territory, a little-known secret is that The Normandie Club actually houses another smaller bar, the omakase-style (“bartender’s choice”) Walker Inn. With 27 seats, it’s an even more intimate way to dive into new territory with coursed-out cocktail tastings at the counter, and servers who essentially act as bartenders for those who choose to go à la carte at the tables.
The Normandie Club and its Walker Inn joins other celebrated recent K-Town additions, such as The LINE Hotel (and their POT Lobby Bar, Commissary, and Break Room 86), Le Comptoir, and Saint Martha. Indeed, K-Town is experiencing a gastronomic upswing, and that’s something we can definitely get down with.
THE NORMANDIE CLUB / 3612 W. Sixth St. / Los Angeles, CA / Photography by Katie Boink