Monday, April 22, 2024

The Attic’s (underrated) cocktail program stands on par with its (still underrated) food in Long Beach


As we push toward celebrating Long Beach Food Scene: Last Call—a 10-day, 15-event celebration of our city’s rich bar culture and the people who make it happen—we will offer a series of features that highlight everything from our most stellar cocktail programs at restaurants to to the very events occurring (like this feature on The Attic Long Beach)… All in order to lift a glass to a social and economic driver that rarely receives the love its deserves: our bar industry. For more information on Long Beach Last Call, tap here.

To write about The Attic is, at least for me, a deeply personal endeavor. And that is not due to some inherent hesitation or bothersome-ness with doing it; in fact, I love writing about what I still feel is an deeply underrated space—and therein lies the irony: It was, at one point, a vastly overrated space, and something its owner, Steve Massis, wildly altered when he brought on Chef Cameron Slaugh to take the reins of the kitchen.

To watch that growth has been not just an honoring and humbling experience—I was certainly part of the cabal that criticized The Attic as being overrated when, in all frankness, it was just absurdly popular with the Instagram crowd—but a prideful moment as well: Slaugh’s supper club? Arguably the best in the city. Their bakery-meets-pasta wonder that is Nonna Mercato? From when it opened to taking on brunch to becoming one of the best pasta spaces in the city has been nothing short of a wondrous evolution. Iano Dovi’s management? A testament to Long Beach’s growing strength in knowing what great hospitality is and can be.

At The Attic in Long Beach, an embracing of both its former and newer self

This isn’t to say The Attic has completely ditched its old self—no: It has opted to embrace its former self, with Slaugh creating some of the best Southern American-inspired food in the region with beautiful riffs on everything from bacon-fat baked cornbread to chicken’n’waffles while also offering up sea urchin cappuccinos, beef carpaccio, fried octopus, and eye-widening hunks of bone sliced down the middle and stacked for the burrowing of marrow.

(They’ve also done an amazing job of simultaneously taking themselves seriously but not at all: Their dog menu is one of the most adorable things on the planet.)

In this vein, the same could be said of its cocktail program: They have not remotely ditched their (even better) Bloody Mary menu that came to define its Instagram era but rather, embrace and elevate it. And when it comes to cocktails specifically, it is worthy of note that they were serving Vieux Carrés and sazeracs long before the rest of the city caught up—but current lead cocktail developer Nathaniel Ochoa has taken on a (repeat: simultaneous) embracing of that classic cocktail past and the current.

You will undoubtedly be able to score a masterful martini or Last Word from Ochoa; the man has worked the bar in everywhere from Chicago to New York City so that is a given. But his playful if not outright whimsical take on drinks—from mimicking a carrot stick to giving a nod to Operation Ivy—are nothing short of awesome.

The Attic will also feature an exclusive Long Beach Last Call menu

Ochoa has created a two-cocktail menu which will be exclusively featured through the stretch of Long Beach Last Call, Mar. 1 through Mar. 10.

They are…

Operation Pomegranate: Bourbon | Pomegranate-caramel syrup | Lemon | Egg white

Bunny in the Bank: Mezcal | Carrot syrup | Lemon | “Hearty pinch of salt” | Parsley | Thyme

Wait–you mention “Long Beach Last Call.” What is it?

After the success of my restaurant week last year during August, Long Beach Food Scene Week, bar owners and tenders rightfully asked: “What about a week for us?”

So I decided to oblige and present Long Beach Food Scene: Last Call, a ten-day long celebration of Long Beach’s amazing bar culture, it’s even more amazing workers, and the industry that often goes without recognition as one of our city’s largest economic and social drivers. 

Thanks to my collaborators—Scott Lennard of RNDC and Chris Lewis of Nosotros Tequila y Mezcal—we’ve created some 15 events across the ten-day span on Last Call. To say the least, we’ve worked our asses off and we hope you’ll come out and celebrate with us (that is, if we make it to Day 10 alive).

And The Attic is a part of that—so go order a drink.

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The Attic on Broadway is located 3441 E. Broadway

Brian Addison
Brian Addison
Brian Addison has been a writer, editor, and photographer for more than a decade, covering everything from food and culture to transportation and housing. In 2015, he was named Journalist of the Year by the Los Angeles Press Club and has since garnered 25 nominations and three additional wins. In 2019, he was awarded the Food/Culture Critic of the Year across any platform at the National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards.


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