There’s a new watering hole in the Valley and you’ll be happy to find that Henry’s Hat, on Cahuenga West, is a cut above your average neighborhood pub. Following the success of Luna Park in San Francisco and Los Angeles, restaurateur AJ Gilbert has unveiled his second concept eatery with wife and co-owner Martha Madison.
Situated right around the corner from Universal Studios, Henry’s Hat is a sports bar that also offers gourmet versions of traditional American bar food and delicious cocktails – all made with fresh, seasonal and organic ingredients.
Boasting fifteen television screens, this place has a cozy local pub vibe giving you a front-row seat to a whole range of sporting matches at once. A massive 5 by 5 foot projection screen will display important events such as the Superbowl, World Cup Soccer, the Grammys and so on. At other times, patrons can use it to play games on the Wii system while they sip a draft beer, wine or or a cocktail, such as the “Luna Park” Mojito, Mai-tai, Strawberry Basil Gimlet and more.
A selection of vintage board games, like Girl Talk, Connect 4, Backgammon, Jenga, Battleship and others, will keep you amused in the parlor den while you dine. The extensive menu even includes vegan dishes, such as falafel wrap and cassoulet.
When we dined there recently, the TV screens were silently screening various football games while groovy pop music from all eras kept the atmosphere lively.
This joint has a service style similar to Father’s Office, in that patrons order at the bar and their food and drinks are delivered by runners. I was impressed by the impeccable memory of Minnie, the gal behind the bar who took our order.
On our visit we shared one of their signature burgers, the Black and Blue ($9), which is a Niman ranch beef patty topped with balsamic onions, sautéed crimini mushrooms, Danish blue cheese and arugula. The execution of this burger, and the blend of ingredients, was simply perfect.
We also shared the Niman Ranch Steak and fries ($12.50). The strip of steak was narrow, but also great, and it was topped with herb and garlic butter. My dining companion couldn’t stop eating the fantastic fries.
We chose the side of coleslaw ($3), which was tangy and sweet, as well as their side dish of spicy green and yellow wax beans ($4), which was truly outstanding. The beans were crisp and tasty and not at all overcooked.
Their North Carolina-style Pulled Pork sandwich ($8) is apparently one of their most popular items – something I’ll be trying on my next visit. Another popular dish is their decadent “Ultimate Mac n Cheese” ($10.50) – rich, cheesy and filling.
An integral part of the Henry’s Hat concept, every cocktail ($9) is given as much attention as the food, utilizing fresh, seasonal fruits and house-made syrups. Rounding out the drink menu is a selection of local and international beers ($6-7), from the ever-popular Guinness to Green Flash Hop Head Red Ale and a rotating tasting flight from North Coast Brewing Co. in Fort Bragg, CA.
You’ll want to keep an eye on their Facebook page or follow Henry’s Hat on twitter for alerts on specials, staged events and passwords for freebies and discounted menu items.
Recently, for the Mexico vs. USA Gold Cup soccer match, whoever was leading during the game determined a discount on the relevant drink and snacks. So, if Mexico was in the lead, that meant $2 shots and $10 buckets of Tecate tequila. If USA was in the lead, that meant $2 Pabst and $10 buckets of Pabst, as well as relevant food discounts. I wonder which crowd of fans was more sated and sloshed by the game’s end?!
The vibe at Henry’s Hat is refreshingly accessible and laid back. The reasonably priced menu offers a perfect balance of beautiful cocktails and delicious pub grub that will attract foodies and satisfy those who just want a good meal.
Valet is $5.50, so street parking is recommended if you can find it.
OPEN: Daily, 11 am – 1:30 a.m
Pauline Adamek is a Hollywood-based film, theater, and food critic who writes for FilmInk Australia, the Los Angeles Daily News and the Sun Community Newspapers, as well as various websites under the “nom du net” Max Million. Contact her at www.paulineadamek.com