Let’s face it. Choosing “The Study Hall” as a bar name in the center of college students heaven/hell is the height of wit in a block full of d’oh-inspiring shop names. (“The IV Drip” coffee shop! “Naan Stop” Indian take-out!) How comforting knowing that you can tell the old folks at home that you spent all day (and night) at the Study Hall.
Jason Smith has been serving here for seven years. The regulars all call him Smitty. Come here twice and you too will be a regular. As one of the two bars in sizzled and schnookered Isla Vista, The Study Hall has its work cut out for it. How to convince students to drink here, when the liquor store and a Del Playa house offers a cheaper night out?
Bloody Marys, for one thing. Smitty tells us that at some point a group of drinkers were asking for a crispy slice of bacon in their drink. Really? We couldn’t try that particular variation, but we did have a regular one. Yes, they use Port O’Call’s Bloody Mary Mix, but Smitty adds a lot of Tabasco, Worcestershire Sauce, and celery salt. It’s boozy as well, the hair of the dog on a Sunday (or Monday?or Tuesday?) morning.
More tradition comes by way of a very orange-y Margarita. This is the kind Smitty has memories of from a trip to Mexico. The pint glass is full to the salty rim with five ounces of Hornitos, triple sec (they use Gaetano bar brand), lime cordial (Port O’Call, again), Sprite, topped up with orange juice. As any student knows well, orange juice covers a lot of alcoholic sins.
(On the other hand, most customers weren’t afraid of slinging back shots of Jack with a Coke chaser, or Jager and Red Bulls.)
But we knew Smitty had some secret recipes, so we pressed on. He gave us the Cherry Cheesecake, which has also been going by some other customer-endowed names, most of which we can’t print in the paper. “But the ladies love it!” insisted Smitty, and soon, here it was, a creamy pink and white cocktail laced with red droplets. We can imagine a busy night, you know, “studying” and knocking these back one after the other. It’s sweet, creamy and mixes vodka and rum. Yes, we’ve graduated Smitty’s cocktail to the Drink of the Week.
2 ounces Vanilla Vodka
1 ounce Malibu Rum
2 ounces Pineapple juice
2 to 4 drops of Port O’Call Lime Juice
Add vodka, rum, juices over ice, then spray in enough whipped cream to taste. Shake and strain into glass. Drizzle grenadine into the drink, trying to coat the inside of the glass visibly.
THE STUDY HALL
6543 Pardall Road, Isla Vista