Garçons de Cafe
During the month of May Happy Hour City will be celebrating all things wine related. Each week we will educate you on the different types of wine, we will also show you how to make wine centered cocktails/drinks, and we will be giving you the inside scoop on some of the best wine bars & wineries around LA.
Happy Hour: $$
Garçons de Cafe - Wine Bar
Sunday - Friday: 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
The Historic Core of Downtown Los Angeles is probably the most populated area in the neighborhood. At any hour of any day, you will find plenty of locals and visitors wandering the streets, admiring the architecture and lively nightlife. There’s always a crowd inside the Spring Arcade building, thanks to the popular Blu Jam opening up, and those crowds are only going to get bigger. 4-8 new businesses all fit inside the arcade, so who knows what the future holds, but that doesn’t matter, the time is 2018 and in the arcade there is so much more than Blu Jam.
Once you pass Blu Jam, on your right, you will find yourself at a more peaceful environment- welcome to Garcons de Cafe, the French wine bar you’ve been needing in your life. The inside will blow your mind, but we will get there. The two outside tables are the perfect setting for their brunch service, though don’t be fooled, there is plenty of seating inside.
When you first walk in the height of the ceiling will surprise you, (no? Just us? Okay) and then there’s the decor.
It’s like all the random pieces of furniture you have always wanted in your life, but never bought because they didn’t match, found their home at Garcons. No lie, it made us a little jealous, Mariana, in particular, would really love to live there.
To the left there are a couple of tables perfect for an intimate date night, to the right there are three loveseats for those who plan to stay a while catching up or whatever, the gorgeous white marble-esque bar (didn’t ask what it was) has ample seating and the chairs are comfortable.
Keep walking in and you’re bound to be drawn in by the merchandise displayed on the left, yep they got merch! Hats, notebooks, clothes, mini-skateboards, French music CDs, and more. If you’re a Wes Anderson fan this is definitely for you! Walk in for Happy Hour, walkout ready for a part in any of his movies.
The space continues to feel incredibly accommodating, there’s a leather couch with the perfect coffee table where plenty of people can sit at comfortably, another table for four, and a fitting room should you decide to try on any of the clothes they sell.
Oh, and if you’re having a business meeting, there’s a giant dinner table that seats 6 people. Throwback fact, Happy Hour City had our first business meeting here, ah the memories...Anyway, you get the point the place isn’t small.
Garçons de Cafe is French for, “the gentleman serving a selection of fine French refreshments,” per the owners themselves. Sofiane and Thomas have something truly special, besides what is made right in the store, they source their products from France.
The bar wall has so many fine wine bottles, you almost want to climb it and never come down. Sofiane is the in-house Sommelier, and you can tell both he and Thomas truly value his choices of rotating wines.
The excitement on their faces always shows when opening up a new or rare bottle for guests. Who happen to be for the most part loyal regulars enjoying the jams coming from their awesome sound system.
They are open for brunch but other than that you’re just looking at Happy Hour and dinner-time services, and it’s all deliciously French and simple. Simplicity is something that, in our humble opinion, some wineries overlook.
Happy Hour at Garçons goes on Sunday-Friday (with the exception of Monday because they’re closed) from 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM.
Due to the fact the wines are all rotating and depending on what’s in store or in season, we will simply explain to you how it works. You have the option of three reds, three whites, or a rose, none higher than $10.
Then there’s the Sommelier’s Choice, a tasting of three wines for $15, and the pour sizes are decent!
So, doing some math, you can get 6 glasses or so of wine for under $45-ish.
As for food, they keep it simple and French, the Salami plate goes for $9 and you get 4 pieces of delicious and fresh cheese for $10, they’re both accompanied by some bread and jam, presented beautifully on the plate. We tried a bit of everything and loved it all.
The HHC Team Shared:
Rosé: Château Pas de Cerf Le Merle
Côtes de Provence 2016 (Cinsault Grenache Tibouren)
X: Very fruity light aroma with very fresh and fruity acidity it has. Also, it comes with a light body and fresh taste. Of course, very clean finish.
M: Very easy drinking good rose wine.
Red: Domaine Jean-Luc Maldant
Bourgogne 2015 (Pinot Noir)
X: Quite light for a Burgandy Pinot. Some strawberry & raspberry with touches of bramble and earth. Nice acidity and balance.
M: Floral, delicious, light, well balanced.
White: Jean Paul Brun
Beaujolais Villages 2016 (Chardonnay)
X: Tangy and fresh white with a hint of apple or peach. Medium to full body, lovely fruit, and a fresh finish.
M: Rich, and full with honeyed flavors.
Sommelier's Choice Tasting 3 Half Pours
The Salami Plate
Loukanika, Greek Salami w/ cumin and orange zest.
Chorizo Navarre Spanish salami w/ smoked paprika
Finocchiona Italian salami w/ fennel seed and garlic
Each of these has a strong presence of the flavors noted on the menu, our favorite was definitely the Chorizo Navarre. The plate pairs well with any red wine on the Happy Hour. Sofiane did let us know that the Salami is in fact imported from Oregon because the FDA does not allow it to come into the U.S. from France.
The Cheese Plate
The cheese selection changes from time to time as well, but if you’re not ready for a mix of pugnant and flavorful selection, you’re missing out but skip out on it.
The lack of food on their Happy Hour menu doesn’t represent anything except the simplicity of Garçons, the quality of the food they can keep in their space, and their choice to concentrate more of their value on the wine.
If you came with an appetite or afraid to drink on an empty stomach we’d highly recommend any of their regular dinner plates which are, if anything, even more delicious and prepared right in front of you.
The Overall Experience:
Garçons de Cafe isn’t just a neighborhood wine bar, it’s a neighborhood wine bar for adults. It’s for enjoying yourself in a dimly light, comfortable, home-like environment while eating and drinking the best France has to offer.
Sofiane and Thomas are constantly traveling back and forth from LA to France and that’s what keeps their place so up to par with French culture.
It doesn’t sound like a compliment for a wine bar, but the fact that their focus is all about the quality, variety, and simplicity of drinking wine is just so… refreshing. There’s truly no one like them in Los Angeles.
Overall Score: 5/5
HH Score: 4.8/5
We’d like to thank Sofiane for being so attentive to our visit and answering all our questions. If you’re in the neighborhood around DTLA’s historic core, come check out Garçons inside the Spring Arcade for Happy Hour, and get a real taste of how well the French are eating and drinking.
Stick with us for one more review for this glorious wine month, as it sadly comes to an end. Thanks for reading and as always…