Yes, the hotel on the corner of Chapala and Carrillo has changed hands over the last decade like Beyonce changes costumes during a concert. And we’ve been with them through every new incarnation. The interior of the bar has, however, remained pretty stable — serving up very good cocktails — and the combo of happy hour drinks and bites has been nicely affordable.
The new restaurant and bar is Finch & Fork. The focus is still on fresh ingredients and infusions. The cocktail menu is packed with goodness (the happy hour food is also great, and we suggest you order the deviled eggs). The Hawaiian Honey Creeper, named after the finch-like bird, is a variation on the mai tai: two kinds of rum, a mix of juices and orgeat syrup, but topped with green Chartreuse in a hollowed lime shell. Instead of the sweetie-sweetie tropical drink we expected, we got an almost bitter mix, and we loved it! The Figueroa uses fig-infused Buffalo Trace in this version of a simple whiskey cocktail, and anybody who likes a Manhattan should try it. And the Guava Jelly is spicy because of its mix of guava and habanero mixed with tequila.
All three made us want to try another one, but if we could pick only one, it’s the Honey Creeper for the surprise. It’s our Drink of the Week.
HAWAIIAN HONEY CREEPER
3/4 ounce Banks white rum
3/4 ounce Sailor Jerry spiced rum
3/4 ounce Honey Creeper mix (equal parts orange juice, lemon juice and orgeat syrup)
2 dashes Fee Brothers orange bitters
Half a lime, for garnish
Green Chartreuse, to top
Shake rums, mix and bitters over ice. Pour into lowball glass. Fill half a lime shell with green Chartreuse and light with match.
Yield: 1 drink
Finch & Fork
31W. Carrillo St.
879-9100 or www.finchandforkrestaurant.com