Happy Hour: $$
District- New American Restaurant & Lounge
711 S Hope St
Everyday: 3:00 - 7:00 P.M.
The Bloc in DTLA is a vision of the very near future. The city is going through renovations everywhere. The Historic Core, the Arts District, South Park, and the Civic Center are all being renovated and transformed to better suit downtown’s upcoming metropolitan look. The Bloc is at the center of it all. It’s set out to be a sort of mall for downtown—something the area has needed for a very long time. Among the businesses that have made an early stake in the prime real estate stretching from Grand to Hope and 7th & 8th streets, is a restaurant that stood out to us for it’s great deals during Happy Hour—District LA. Or as some call it, District on the Bloc.
What attracted us to District was the fact that it was the first to open on the Bloc. Keep in mind, the Bloc is still well underway and it’s supposed to grow even bigger in 2018, we think in a year it’s going to be immensely popular. It’s going to bring in a lot of tourism and business downtown—two things us locals know it desperately needs but are hesitant to accept. But District opened up back in early 2017, and so far it has stood it's ground. As shops fill up on The Bloc, this lounge and restaurant is bound to be visited by the masses. So it's only fit they have the room for crowds, and that they do.
After a year in District seems to be the favorite of one specific sort of customer: suits. It's a great place for those who work in the nearby sky scrapers to come unwind while traffic dies down. If that's not your scene come earlier than 5 where it's a little less crowded and you get Happy Hour prices. Besides the crowd that has adopted District, business seems to be on the up and up. It is an extension of the Sheraton, also apart of the Bloc, we love the fact that locals and guests of the hotel get a chance to experience it. Because the honest truth is, the food is delicious and the Happy Hour is damn well worth a visit.
As we mentioned, the design of the place is extremely industrial, the pipes of the ceiling show, the floor is not decorated at all, the chairs and furniture matches so very well with the interior decor. The space is ample, they have lots of tables to relax at, plenty big for parties of 4 or less, there’s also plenty room to sit at the bar. If your party is HUGE they can accommodate you at the large booth that sits about 16 guests in the dining room.
Happy Hour at District is daily from 3:00-7:00 P.M. The atmosphere in the lounge/bar area is what really gives their Happy Hour a relaxing—perfect for after work, or a small get-together—vibe. The food is all sourced from local farmers and the different tasting dishes are what really blew us away. The Chef, Hansen Lee, has taken the perfect dishes from their regular menu to sample on the Happy Hour for an exceptional price. Since they are the fine dining option for the Sheraton, locals and hotel guests are welcomed to come join District for any food service like 6 AM weekday breakfast or weekend brunch- District has it all. The bar manager, Tony, was kind enough to care for our table and inform us on all things District. Including the famous cocktail that got them the attention from Sheratons all over the world.
District prides itself on its Moscow Mules, which they keep on draft. This, along with their 5oz wine pours are what gets ordered most. The daily cocktail they serve is a weekly invention by Tony and his team of bartenders. During our visit it was a Bourbon based drink named Nouveau Carree, which we’ll cover later in this post.
If you want a classic like a Margarita or Gin and tonic, you can choose from any of their premium well drinks selection for only $6. And any cocktail can be smoked!
And even if cocktails aren’t your thing, their rotating draft beers alone are worth a visit. Tony and the team at District know that LA locals love LA beers. They offer the familiar options such as Phoenix by Coachella Valley Brewing Company, the Brown Ale from Golden Road, and even the Coconut Stout Patsy from Barley Forge.
But their cocktails are what they're most known for. Including one that, sadly, is not on the Happy Hour that got them international recognition- Opium. Which we couldn't resist, read all about it below.
The in house chef, Hansen Lee, prepares all appetizers, finger food, and shareable plates. The GREAT thing about their Happy Hour prices is guests can order any 3 plates for only $22! The 3 for $22 is perfect if you can’t choose, are coming in with a group of people, or you’re just really damn hungry. Try everything and then, if it interests you District has a fantastic dinner menu. We highly recommend it for staying afterwards. We also included their menu links here for you, since their cocktails and beer are constantly rotating. Plus they have a large selection of spirits:
Mariana ordered a Margarita:
Simple but refreshing. This was one of the premium well drinks for $6.50. Not too much ice, not entirely made sour by the lime, and not too sugary.
A good Margarita has that nice balance between sour, strong and citrus, sweet tones, this had it. Mariana could have easily ordered another one, and another one, and still the tab would have been just under $20 without tip.
Mariana also ordered the Moscow Mule:
District is supposedly well known for their Moscow Mules and their Smoked Cocktails. So despite not being a fan of Vodka, Mariana geared up and gave it a shot. It was delicious.
Sarah, a bartender that used to work at District, once told Mariana that they actually keep them on draft.
Their delicious Mule includes freshly squeezed lime juice, homemade ginger syrup, and Cock’n Bull ginger beer. They garnish it in a unique way by actually slapping the mint to better release the scent! Mariana loved it and found it to be made perfectly balanced as well, no strong aroma of Vodka to burn your nose hairs!
Alex ordered the Nouveau Carre:
Alex was the one that braved the mysterious rotating cocktail- Nouveau Carre. Which in English translates to: New Square.
The Bourbon based drink contains a lot of bitter liqueurs yet Alex thought it was very good and it had a nice smooth and clean taste. The overall mix of bitters in it could compare it to a much more complex Manhattan.
Alex also ordered the Opium:
Ladies and gents, without any further ado, the Opium cocktail. This pretty in pink drink is not on the Happy Hour menu, though we are holding our breath to see if maybe they add it to the rotating cocktail list. After Tony told us about this Internationally known drink, we had to give it a try.
It's no wonder this drink earned them a international spotlight on the Sheraton's world stage. The drink is incredible, the garnish, the presentation, the mix of ingredients is just so well prepared and carefully curated by Tony and co. It does have that subtle Gin taste but it blends so well with the rose water, which also balances out the bitterness of a Campari. If roses roses grew cocktails- this is what it would be. And we only wish we could pick them as easily as the flower. Maybe Tony will take his masterpiece and feature it on the Happy Hour soon, given that they sell 200/a week who knows.
Xena ordered the House White, which was a Magnolia Chardonnay:
This wonderful Chardonnay was very aromatic, her nose was able to sense delicate tones of honey and pear, though It’s not floral. Subtle peach tones make it a very enjoyable wine.
Her guess was that it was a young Chardonnay, betting on 2014 we asked Tony, it's a 2015. So close! In her opinion, this wine for a Happy Hour is one of her top 3 for sure. The pour is generous, the wine is fresh, very smooth instead of dry and not overly sweet. It pairs well with most of the appetizers offered and the weather.
Xena also ordered the daily beer, a Saint Arnold's White Ale:
As for the rotating beer, being a Houston native (like Mariana!), Tony had a Saint Arnold's White Ale on draft that day.
Xena claims it was a very light, refreshing and crisp beer. It had a hint of citrus but a great seasonal choice. The pour is plenty and the glass is great presentation.
She compared the taste to the local Golden Brewery -329 Days beer which she adores.
The HHC Team shared:
LA Tacos, Avocado Hummus, and Brocollini Bruschetta:
This is plate #1 out of 2 of the 3 for $22 deal we ordered. (Whoa that's a lot of math).
So out of this 3 item combo, Xena's favorite was the Arugula Hummus, Mariana absolutely adored the Brocollini Bruschetta, but we all agreed the LA tacos are a must.
The Aurugula Hummus includes the crispiest little garbanzo bean, which are also adorable. They also add texture to the texture of the Hummus.
Given that it's Fresh cherry tomatoes are also nice, given the greenery of the Hummus this adds a nice contrast. Best of all, it tasted so fresh and it remained that way throughout our visit.
Chef Lee marinated beef tenderloin, added sauteed Kimchi, topped off with a cilantro creme, and sprinkled with queso fresco.
These tacos give a great salute to L.A. street tacos but with a Korean twist given the sauce. We all agreed, the meat is cooked well and tender. If you have never had Kimchi, this is a great dish to start.
Chef Lee's Kimichi is not too spicy- that’s what the hot sauce is for, which pairs amazingly with the Kimichi, but it does add the kick some look for. Tortillas are well made and remained warm.
The Chili paste and Cilantro Creme was delicious but subtle, both aspects help clean cut through the spiciness and heaviness. All together, these tacos are also not "mini-sized" by any means!
The cilantro just really put them over the top, absolutely excellent. And if you’re not digging anything else in the menu for the three for $22 deal, think about this- you can get three amazing tacos for $9!
Would you believe you get 5 of these delicacies for only $7?! Absolutely delicious, Chef Lee chose to adorn these crostinis with balsamic glazed Brocollini, macerated raisins, almonds, and ricotta cheese. This was another one we had a hard time sharing but somehow managed.
BBQ Chicken Quesadilla, Deviled Eggs, & Shishito Pepper & Mushroom:
The second 3 for $22 combo plate we ordered included Alex's favorite dish- the Quesadillas and Mariana's new found love of Deviled eggs.
Alex found the quesadilla to be her favorite for many reasons but the main one was the fact they did not include raw onions inside. As a person who detests raw onion, the substitution of them with bell peppers was delicious. Instead Chef Lee chose to sprinkle green onion on top as a garnish which was a wonderful choice and a delicious companion.
These are also not mini sized and meant to share! There's a total of four decent sized quesadillas. Five deviled eggs and plenty of Shishito to go around.
Shishito Pepper & Mushrooms:
The Shishito peppers are grilled with capers, mushrooms, and sprinkled with a little Parmesan. Sometimes here and there a super spicy batch will come out but these peppers are usually somewhat mild. A simple but yummy addition to the 3 for $22 combo.
Mariana had never had Deviled Eggs before, and given their name she expected Deviled Eggs to be spicy- don't worry fellow newbies, they are not!
They were actually delicious, District makes them with cage free brown eggs. Chef Lee uses the yolk and his signature Kimichi to make a Kimchi Tomato Puree in the center. The bacon only solidified this dish as Mariana's second favorite dish of the whole menu.
Truffle French Fries:
Officially Mariana's favorite thing about the District Happy Hour menu. And really, we had to hold back ordering three orders of these for the 3 for $22 deal.
They are deeelicious! Chef Lee uses pepper, salt, and truffle oil to season the fries and they come with classic ketchup.
We dare you to try and share these. They serve a generous amount so we managed but these are some of the best French fries we have ever had.
The Overall Experience:
If an industrial chic professional businesswoman decorated a man den, this is what it would look like. And personally we love it. The half inside half outside idea is perfect for the upcoming heatwave summer season LA is about to experience. The suits in the place really give it that corporate vibe, so if that's not your scene come back during the weekend and enjoy the brunch and Happy Hour or Happy Hour and dinner service which is truly worth sticking around for.
District's food menu is unique, delicious, well made, and fair priced. We love the fact you can do it up and smoke any cocktail- which bring together Happy Hour and an "experience" under one roof. This is definitely a good place to come if you want to impress someone and stay away from the foot traffic above in the financial district of DTLA.
Not exactly a bar that closes late, District shuts down at midnight, so if you come for Happy Hour until 7, then mosey on over to the main dining room for dinner, if you do belong to the corporate world, this is an amazing place to bring clients and fellow coworkers. Tony's expertise at the bar and Chef Lee's in the kitchen make for an unforgettable time.
Overall Score: 4.4/5
Happy Hour Score: 4.2/5
We would like to thank Tony for taking care of us during our visit and Steve for letting us hang out at the lounge during a very busy Wednesday service. Stop by District for a good time, quality food and drinks, and a relaxing atmosphere during the weekends. Thanks for reading and as always...