|Inside: Alibi Room
Culver City's latest, greatest after-work destination
For those of us who hit Culver City exactly three times a year—twice for Fashion Week and once because we’ve gotten lost looking for the freeway on-ramp—a new bar opening in The CC (can we please start calling it that?!) is about as exciting as an office birthday party. But former dive bar Alibi Room recently got a much-needed makeover, and the results are pretty impressive.
The new Alibi Room gets major points for its uber-sleek, chic decor: from the long, angled bar, to neat-o photos of things like the Salton Sea, to seating you can rearrange like plush, oversized Legos and a brick fireplace to keep drinkers toasty in those famously chilly Culver City winters. Rows of Ketel One bottles are displayed overhead—if you guess how many bottles there are on the wall, Alibi bartender Nick will buy you a drink (note: it’s in the hundreds, so we recommend counting pre-boozin'). Outside, a narrow patio keeps smokers behind a wall of glass. Four ashtrays are designed after the suits of the deck, so if extinguishing your cigarettes in a heart-shaped ashtray sounds therapeutic, you're in luck.
If you're looking for Bud Light, however, your luck is out (no Miller Light or Amstel Light, either). Instead, Alibi carries a fun selection of international beers, including Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout and Japanese export Hitachino Nest. Czech brew Czechvar is currently the only beer on tap, though two more are coming shortly, and there's also a modest wine list, including a couple of Syrahs and a Tempranillo.
Food? Alibi Room is part gastropub, part middle school cafeteria. The menu is of the hot, fried and so-salty-you’ll-need-to-order-another-brewski variety: a beautiful mess of poutine fries and Philly cheesesteak, for example. Some swear by Alibi’s homemade carrot cake, with pecans and cream cheese icing, but if you have room for dessert after a couple of Czechvars, half a cheesesteak and more poutine fries than you'd care to admit to eating, there's something seriously wrong with you.
Alibi Room is still working out the kinks—on busier nights, the bartender nearest the bathrooms is on "sliding door duty," making sure people figure out how to get in and out without the appropriate signage—but as our bartender Nick put it: “If this place was in Hollywood, I’d totally go to it.”
Crowd: Friday’s the big night at Alibi as an “after-work destination.” Saturday nights bring in a later crowd, and if you want to feel like you own the place, Mondays and Tuesdays are still pretty laid back.
Insider's tip: No mirrors in the bathrooms (at least yet), so you'll either have to trust you look good, ask your BFF or pull out your iPhone and take a couple of snaps at arm's length.
Music: Alibi's bizarre Muzak is New Age-y lounge that's so wrong, it’s….nah, it’s just wrong. The plus side? The music makes you seem cooler by comparison.
Amir Kenan is contributing editor for Metromix Los Angeles.