The Queesnberry -
Social Hour: Wednesday - Saturday 5:00 P.M. - 10:00 P.M.
819 S Flower St.
Downtown LA is currently a hub of entertainment that’s so niche we can’t even begin listing the categories for you, what we have noticed is the shortage of “cool” lounges that aren’t an absurdity in our neighborhood.
Allow us to clarify, the term swanky in DTLA doesn’t quite exist, and the happy medium between that and The Reserve is absent. It’s one extreme or the other if you want a dark, sexy, and mysterious ambiance with the right quality of drinks, food, and dancing.
In comes The Queensberry, and we know you have heard of it. Nestled underground the O Hotel, the latest to come from Circa93 is that perfect balance of chill, upscale but not pretentious, boogie-down-if-you-want-cocktail-lounge that’s breaking all the rules.
Circa93 is the powerhouse team that owns the few reputable lounges in DTLA (The Association and The Continental Club) known for throwing killer parties and having lines that wrap around the block every weekend.
Now, they have The Queensberry and we are happy to report- they nailed the blend of their previously successful endeavors with a whole new concept that includes a killer Social Hour, but let’s talk about the space first.
The Queensberry is named so after the 9th Marquess of Queensberry, John Sholto Douglas, who is credited with originating The Queensberry Rules followed by boxers to this day. It might be tricky to find but that’s the point- and if you’ve ever visited London, this place will transport you right back to the underground scene that elevated lounges have over the pond.
The main door is in an alleyway behind the O Hotel marked by a pink Q. After going down 15ft of stairs you’ll find it on the right after the bathrooms. You’re greeted by seductive low lighting, leather couches tucked in booths, paintings of boxers, Andy Warhol and Basquiat, a mysterious hallway to the right, and right in front - the bar.
The staff will welcome you with the utmost respect but the vibe is heightened to make you feel like you’re part of an exclusive craft cocktail lounge so don’t come here to act a fool- but do bring your dancing shoes if you want to.
If you want to party the mysterious hallway will lead you to the dance floor that was made famous by the last resident of the space Honeycut, the popular hip-hop NYE spot for years that shut down recently and made room for The Queensberry. In our humble opinion, Circa93 managed to elevate the dancefloor and made room for private tables, another bar that features on draft cocktails for those looking to quickly get back to grooving.
Back in the main room fans of whiskey will be drawn to the bar immediately for the specialty of The Queensberry- whiskey.
One bottle for every U.S. state is mounted on the back wall, and if you thought 50 whiskeys were impossible to find, you haven’t met Scott Cushman.
The mind behind the cocktail menu at multiple Circa locations, he knew what he wanted to do with The Queensberry in the early stages of planning, the challenge of finding the whiskeys enthralled him and only a few proved to be difficult to bring back to LA but he did a fine job at it- which leads us to their menu.
The Social Hour at The Queensberry starts at 5 PM - 10 PM every day. It’s such a refreshing concept to see a lounge of this quality understand that Happy Hour for those who get off work at 5 doesn’t really begin until around 6 PM thanks to that LA traffic. The range of hours available for discounted cocktails was our first hint at the top-notch attention detail available.
Though The Queensberry does pay hommage to whiskeys, they have an entire menu featuring other spirited cocktails as to not shun anyone out, they also have a full selection of beers, wines, and bubbles.
Cocktails are discounted $3, beers go down to $5 and wines will run you just $10 a glass. Comparing the quality of the cocktails, ingredients, Scott’s talent, and ambiance- the prices are more than fair.
Food is offered from 5 PM - 10 PM as well but it is not specially discounted. The food ranges from snacks to a full-sized burger dinner if you’re starving for more. You shouldn’t drink on an empty stomach so do indulge if you’re sampling their fine whiskeys.
According to Scott, the most popular cocktails so far include the Halekulani and the Maria La Estrella. The Halekulani comes from his desire to open a tiki bar (which might hint at what’s next for the Cushman) all while maintaining the whiskey focused concept.
Over on the dance floor, he also gets creative with draft cocktails but you should note those are NOT discounted for Social Hour.
Now, on to what we ordered!
The HHC Team Sipped On:
La Maria La Estrella-
M: I rarely trust tequila cocktails that come in a coupe glass because I am afraid of their strength.
However, La Maria La Estrella managed to balance all the ingredients perfectly in!
It’s not a boozy forward cocktail and the tequila they use is smooth and takes a back seat to the freshness of the grapefruit.
Absolutely loved it and I love the name!
A: I went for a gin cocktail right away and it was the perfect choice.
The egg whites are a talented touch and combined with the smooth ingredients- the cocktail has a velvet texture.
I kid you not if we could drink velvet dipped in gin, this would be it. What a fascinating concoction.
Don’s Own Dog-
M: I never go for vodka but the allure of seeing cinnamon in a cocktail got me, and boy it got me good.
An adult lemonade with the sweetness of cinnamon, topped off with the rose made from a lemon peel was just ugh- everything!
The cinnamon doesn’t just sit on the ice, it is well blended from top to bottom.
The attention to detail and not being afraid to have a little flair is what makes this cocktail amazing.
The Overall Experience:
What Scott and the Circa93 have accomplished to do here is unheard of, they’re claiming their stake in the ever-growing DTLA bar scene and they deserve the fame.
We loved the neighborhood vibe mixed in with the underground lounge for professionals from all walks of life to come hang after work. From the feat of finding 50 whiskeys to keeping them stocked, the uniqueness and luxury of The Queensberry isn’t lost among the dance floor and welcoming ambiance.
Places like these don’t often offer social or happy hour specials because of the refinement of their programs, but The Queensberry doesn’t care about that- they want people to experience the magic and quality of their hard work.
A quality that isn’t only obvious when you come in and enjoy a few- but also put on display when their cocktail classes take place. This also speaks to their insistence of teaching their patrons first hand why they are the best and how they do it.
The Queensberry might be underground but they are not hiding. Most cocktails come with some sort of flame show or flare that deserves your attention as they are being prepared, and when you can save a buck or two while doing so- why the heck not?
SOCIAL HOUR- 4.8/5
We’d like to thank Farah Casis, Scott Cushman, Dale, and the entire staff of The Queensberry for welcoming us to their social hour. We can’t wait to see the success that is to follow the grand opening of The Queensberry and we are very excited to have one of the better dance floors in DTLA.
Go see them and tell them Happy Hour City sent you!
Thanks for reading, and as always…