In a Nutshell
Bar Stella is a little something for the ‘grown ups’ in the decidedly young and hip(ster) Sunset Junction neighborhood.
In 2012, Gareth and Christine Kanner of Silver Lake staple Cafe Stella opened the intimate Bar Stella in an unassuming space on the corner of Sanborn and Sunset--adjacent to the original namesake French eatery. It’s so unassuming that you will easily pass it by if you don’t keep your eyes peeled--but obscurity is par for the course in Silver Lake scenester central.
Setting and Scene
Bar Stella is a dark and eccentric North African style watering hole of exposed brick, complete with a checkered outdoor patio which features cozy benches with pillows and lanterns. Oil paintings of exotic birds line the interior walls. Furniture is Caribbean style, and the sofa seating area dark and comfy — perfect for that nerve-wracking second date.
Classic soul tunes set the fanciful and romantic mood--as does the Old-World-charm-meets-nouveau-chic of the joint. The crowd is largely civilized, chill and under the radar--not your usual ironic t-shirt clad crew. This is especially true earlier in the evening during the week: a prime time to enjoy Stella's special charms. This is also when you'll catch chatty solo regulars dotting the marble-ridged bar. Groups and date-nighters tend to gravitate towards the patio and sofas.
The unspoken dress code is the usual LA ‘smart casual’ with the occasional ‘cool dude’ sporting ironic thick rimmed glasses.
Drinks at Bar Stella
Stella's resident mixologists can be seen sporting white uniforms and smart black ties; they would fit right in on the set of Mad Men. These mixmasters serve up some of the top cocktails in LA or at least on the East Side according to Stella locals reluctant to tear themselves away from the serene and savvy spot.
Cocktails offer a little something for everyone: the old-fashioned and dapper, and the cool and new, and are listed accordingly on the menu. Classic infusions range in price from $12 to $15, and include the basics like mojitos and martinis. Modern cocktails run from $13 to $15.
Draft beers are slightly off the radar (at least for me) and include Chimay Triple, Hitachina White Nest, and Three Philosophers Quadrupel. You can also order ham or roast beef sandwiches and what one Stella frequenter called “The best Croque Monsieur in town.” That’s grilled ham and cheese to the un-initiated and non-European.
If you’re like me and are a sucker for the classics, you won’t be able to resist most of the cocktails on the menu. If you like to play it extra safe, no one has a bad word to say about Stella’s superb Manhattan (with Hudson Manhattan rye, Carpano Antiqua vermouth, barrel-aged bitters and Luxardo Maraschino).
If you prefer light and refreshing, it’s always summertime with their sparkly and refreshing French 77 (Domain Rolet 2007 brut, St. Germain elderflower and lemon).
On the ‘modern track,’ egg white cocktail aficionados won’t want to miss sampling the Red Star (consisting of W.L. Weller antique bourbon, Lazzaroni Amaretto, lemon, Angostura bitters, and of course egg white).
3932 West Sunset Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA