Oldfield’s Liquor Room: Time To Move Into the Era of Sophistication in Palms

Oldfield's Liquor Bar by Caroline on Crack
Oldfield's Liquor Room Armando by Caroline on Crack

Can you hear the shakers, Armando?

Oldfield’s Liquor Room in Palms/Culver City opens this Friday in the old Saints & Sinners spot. Those who remember the 1933 Group‘s den of iniquity wouldn’t recognize it now, though. Gone is that white rock fire pit, the naughty wallpaper in the back room and, most importantly that cocktail menu with drinks involving energy drink and flaming shots of cinnamon schnapps. “[S&S] was too much of a crazy party and it just kind of burned itself out,” said owner Bobby Green.

Oldfield's Liquor Room Jared and Bobby by Caroline on Crack

Manager Jared Mort with owner Bobby Green.

“And besides, I’m getting older, the same people who were drinking here for 10 years are getting older. It was time to move into the era of sophistication. The madness and the debauchery are over, now we can all be adults,” he continued.

The new streamlined diner-esque bar, a tribute to Barry Oldfield — a world-famous speed racer from the 1900s who raced and was buried in Culver City — now boasts a well-crafted menu created by bartenders from the Sporting Life, a Los Angeles-based bartenders and cocktail enthusiasts club. Here, you’ll find Armando Conway from La Descarga, Aaron Stepka from A-Frame and Rivera and Robin Jackson from Club Mallard in the Bay Area.

The spirits used here are only the best. Gone are the soda guns which are now replaced with, gasp, actual bottled soda like Fever Tree Ginger Beer. And like any good cocktail bar the menu will change with the seasons offering fresh ingredients and the bartenders make all the syrups themselves. Bobby credits the staff for the great menu. “They make their own ginger beer, root beer, all their own shrubs, own bitters, own reductions.”

The drinks are classic-based with some takes on old favorites like the Manhattan and Pink Lady. Hit the jump for the amazing-looking menu. The Dauntless with Bols Genever, Poire Williams, lime, housemade falernum, Fever Tree Ginger Beer is delicieuse!

Oldfield's couple by Caroline on Crack

A nice place to grab a classy drink. Just make sure you're dressed nice.

There will also be some nosh available as well in the form of little “European-type” sandwiches by Chester Hastings, author of The Cheesemonger’s Kitchen and formerly the cheese guy at Joan’s on Third. This month’s selection includes Challerhocker cheese with rosemary and apricot mostarda as well as Valhrona Bittersweet chocolate with extra virgin olive oil and sea salt. About 50 will be prepped before the bar opens each night and when they run out, they run out. Pricing is still tentative though. “We haven’t picked a price, maybe they will be free. We open on Friday so we have a whole week to figure it out,” Bobby said. If you’re not into bready sandwiches, you might be able to order/bring in food from nearby restaurants like you can at the other 1933 bars. But this is still under consideration.

Other things that are still pending are whether Oldfield’s will have a dress code and a reservations-only system. “We’re at a point in our career where we don’t have to pack people in and try and make as much money anymore,” Bobby explains.

I want everyone to get served. I don’t want anyone to wait an hour for a drink, and those drinks take awhile to make. We might just let a certain amount of people in. We don’t know the number yet because this is only our third night of practice. But we’ll probably do reservations and some walk-ins and figure out the perfect number so everyone’s happy.”

So on Friday when the bar opens, Bobby suggests that people just show up, “but dress nice…no shirts, no flipflops, no sports gear.” Showing up early is a good way to go, too. And if you can’t get in this time, there’s always 1933’s whiskey-serious bar, Bigfoot West, within stumbling distance down Venice Boulevard.

The bar opens this Friday, October 21 at 5pm.

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Oldfield’s Liquor Room
10899 Venice Boulevard
Los Angeles, California 90034 (map)
(310) 842-8066
Facebook: Oldfields Liquor Room
Twitter: @Oldfields_bar

The Oakshade by Caroline on Crack

The Oakshade, a rich Manhattan-type cocktail.

Blitzen Benz, $11: Cynar, maraschino liqueur, lemon, egg white, Peychaud’s bitter

Blonde Comet, $10: Elijah Craig 12 Yr Bourbon, GE Massenez Peche, grapefruit, Angostura bitters

The Cactus Derby, $11: Del Maguey Vida Mezcal, Chartreuse, lemon, egg white, strawberry

Dauntless, $12: Bols Genever, Poire Williams, lime, housemade falernum, Fever Tree Ginger Beer

The Desert Classic, $11: Bacardi 8 Rum, Del Maguey Vida Mezcal, Mata Hari Absinthe, Angostura bitters

Indy Stutz, $12: Jameson Irish Whiskey, Mata Hari Absinthe, creme de cassis, strawberry, mint

Lovetta, $11: Berkshire Mt. Greylock gin, Campari, Fruitlab orange, Limoncello, Egg White

No. 999, $12: Talisker 10 Yr Scotch, lemon, housemade grenadine

The Oakshade, $12: Bulleit Rye, walnut liqueur, Averna Amaro, Carpano Antica, chocolate chili bitters

Oldfield’s Hemingway, $12: Russell’s Reserve Rye, maraschino liqueur, cane sugar, grapefruit

Outlaw, $10: Milagro Reposado, jalapeno chile, cilantro, grapefruit, honey

Peerless, $11: Miller’s Westbourne gin, apricot liqueur, apricot nectar, Fever Tree ginger beer

The Vanderbilt Cup, $12: Hendrick’s gin, port reduction, St. Germain, peach bitters, Fever Tree ginger beer

17 Responses to Oldfield’s Liquor Room: Time To Move Into the Era of Sophistication in Palms
  1. PalmsResident
    October 18, 2011 | 7:22 pm

    I’m a local. These guys clearly don’t know my neighborhood…sophisticated doesn’t have to mean stuffy and dry. Too bad with the Saints and Sinners bar, that place hit the nail on the head. Laid back when you needed it to be, party time when you needed that. Cheers to that Bobby guy for crapping on the former patrons that lined his pockets. Makes you wonder how he’ll talk about patrons at this new bar.

  2. Caroline on Crack
    October 18, 2011 | 10:43 pm

    PalmsResident,
    I was a resident there, too, up til recently and I think it’s a good fit in the neighborhood. Really great cocktails. And it’s far from stuffy and dry. Just check out the pictures.

  3. PalmsResident
    October 19, 2011 | 1:37 am

    Hey Caroline…

    I checked the pictures, they’re cool, but they didn’t really look warm or inviting. The place looks kind of cold and institutional. Just my opinion. I heard the cocktails are out of sight. I’m not really feeling the tone Bobby used to describe people who were so faithful to his establishment for so long, as if we were some juvenile bunch that he’s looking down on now. Not cool. Great post though 🙂

    • Caroline on Crack
      October 19, 2011 | 10:12 am

      PalmsResident,
      Ah, I hear ya. Yeah, Oldfield’s is totally different from S&S. But the way Bobby put it, it’s meant to adapt to the regular drinkers maturing as he, too, has matured. Honestly, I stopped going to S&S years ago because I was looking for better cocktails and not so much the party. But it will always have a special place in my heart since it crowned me prom queen all those years ago. 🙂

  4. Justin
    October 20, 2011 | 5:56 pm

    cheers, here’s to your failure.

  5. SA - Culver City Resident
    October 20, 2011 | 6:46 pm

    This is really unfortunate… Another pretentious hipster bar is the absolute last thing this neighborhood needs.

    1933 originally tried making S&S a “sophisticated” bar (note the quotes). However, that’s not what the neighborhood wanted. S&S turned into what it was because that’s what the customers called for.

    I’m personally offended, as I’m sure are many of the former S&S regulars, by the way we’ve been described by the owner. So very many of the original regulars still considered S&S a home. Additionally, the new regulars weren’t a bunch of immature frat boys looking for a party. He was out of touch with the clientele and has no right to speak for any of us. Bobby says it was the regulars that called for this change… I say that they were the ones who rallied the most against it.

    Regarding Oldfield’s specifically… For all I can see, it looks about as warm as the interior of a hotel bathroom.

  6. Jordan
    October 20, 2011 | 7:04 pm

    As a former regular of Saints, I disagree. The place lost patronage because the owners started messing with a good thing, removing the seats and making it uncomfortable, not cleaning the patio, and the female manager towards the end there who placated some of the obnoxious men who needed to be kicked out just because she was afraid of losing her cool-factor. The bartenders were some of the funnest in town. Ian and Southy singing to the crowd… wonderful times. You go to lounges everywhere and the bartenders look bored, just like Bobby in this picture. Afraid to say so but Bobby you need to find your inner child again. Becoming adult doesn’t mean boring.

  7. Kris
    October 20, 2011 | 8:51 pm

    As someone who walked into Saints & Sinners in Summer 2006 and pretty much never left, I gotta say I’m really disappointed by Bobby’s comments. I spent a LOT of time and money at that bar and saw it through its best and worst days. I can understand wanting to take your establishment in a new direction. I can’t, however, understand alienating and insulting the people who loved and supported your business for so long. Fancy cocktails, bow ties, and some stark white tile might be appealing for the grown ups, but after seeing Bobby’s comments I don’t think its for me.

  8. Jess
    October 20, 2011 | 11:13 pm

    i have 3 words for the 1933 group regarding this matter: location, location, location. i will now take a little time to a elaborate on these words, but not too much because i know it will fall on deaf ears as it has already proven to do so in the past. in 2006 i arrived in LA. for about 6 months i had a hard time making new friends. that is, of course, until i stepped through the door at saints & sinners for the first time. i was immediately greeted by a bar staff so friendly and full of personality that i began to frequent this place alone. then it became apparent that the other patrons must have caught the same vibe as i did because they were equally hospitable. this was such a unique and diverse crowd of locals who all had the same thing on their mind: to have a good time. i am proud to say that i still remain friends with everyone i’ve become acquainted with at that bar. these were the very same regulars that bobby is referring to in his quote. such a blatant insinuation that his loyal patrons are juvenile. who is he to tell us when it’s time for us to grow up? can we be adults now bobby? please, please can we?? i adhere to the school of thought which claims the motto: “you are only as old as you feel”. after a long day of big-kid work i don’t want to sit down and sip a cocktail and talk about boring trivial things with people i probably don’t have any real respect for. i want to feel young. i want to have entertaining bartenders. i want to have a place i can go to take my mind off of adulthood. i’m 30 years old and this is as adult as i ever want to feel. when im 40, i want to feel 30. when i’m 50, i want to feel 30. when i’m 60, i want to feel 30. and when i’m on my deathbed, i want to be able to look back and be surrounded by the good people i met over the years and think “i sure did have a good time with these people and i still wanna feel 30”. i don’t want to die thinking back on life musing about the delicious cocktail i sipped while trying to be a grown up. why didn’t 1933 just let S&S stay the way it was? they had bigfoot right next door which they made into a classy joint for grown-ups. so why pick on saints? 1933 had a built-in crowd of folks that had each others’ backs and liked to have fun at a place that most of us could walk to. that means very few drunk drivers which i thought most bar owners would consider a very good thing. now they will get their hipsters looking for the new cool place driving in from all over and oldfield’s will prosper for a time. but as many have said before me, those people will have no loyalty. they want to see and be seen and they will move-on the first chance something newer and cooler opens. i had a chance to check oldfield’s out and decided it wasn’t for me. i had nothing to say publicly about my feelings until i read this article and the offensive comments by a bar owner i considered a friend. 1933 shunned their loyal regulars by making too many unnecessary changes and firing all of their extraordinary barstaff. the crazy party didn’t “burn itself out”, 1933 doused the flame on purpose. S&S closed by no fault of the staff or the patrons who supported the establishment. S&S closed and has now become oldfield’s because of the management’s failure to come to terms with the importance of these 3 simple words: location, location, location.

  9. TreasureLA
    October 21, 2011 | 10:26 am

    I for one am pretty excited to check this place out. I personally wasn’t a Saints & Sinners fan, and Culver City/Palms needs a proper cocktail bar, & Seventy 7 doesn’t seem to be cutting it. I understand people’s frustration with the change, but this seems to be the way the area is moving.

  10. Rod
    October 21, 2011 | 11:27 am

    Aprons and bowties = sophisticated? Knowing about racecar legends and lifting their bios off of Wikipedia on your website = sophisticated? Yeah, ok.

    I’m a married man with many responsibilities who likes a good neighborhood bar where I don’t have to be in costume or in pre-ripped jeans to fit in. Saints was that for me, not some crazy party bar. I know it had those elements, but that’s not all it was. These statements by Bobby indicates how out of touch he is with his clientele. The clientele (and staff) of Oldfield’s will be no different to Bobby and the 1933 Group. Pawns until there is no need for them anymore.

    Unlike many fellow former S&S regulars, I was actually looking forward to giving this new place a shot. I’d even told some friends about it. I was going to overlook the obviously kitchy and desperate attempt at grown, sexy and hip and try it out. Word on the streets was that the drinks were going to be amazing.

    But jeez Bobby, you design a fancy locker room in my neighborhood and then blame the demise of a once great bar on the maturity level of former patrons and the bar itself? Deal’s off, no support from this local, and word spreads quick.

    Thanks for great coverage and pics, Caroline on Crack…your post is probably the closest I’ll ever get to that place.

  11. KrissyinLA
    October 21, 2011 | 12:12 pm

    I went, I saw, I was unimpressed and I left. I guess this 47 yr old professional female felt the vibe of Oldfields to be typical of mist wanna be hipster attractions…. Over hyped and over priced. As for Bobby and his comments?? I would normally take offense, since I’m one of the locals who USED to spend MY hard earned money at S&S, but I guess I would have to respect Bobby, which I don’t. The 1933 Group is yet another bunch of fools that are easily impressed by bright lights. Good luck with your new “mature” establishment”… When the bar fails, maybe you can turn it into a giant public bathroom, I mean that’s pretty much what it looks like with the sterile tile and bright lights. Way to go 1933 Group, you’ve not only opened a bar that is sure to fail, but you’ve succeeded in offending the very patrons you were trying to draw. Good luck with that!

  12. Damnit, jeffrey Damnit
    October 21, 2011 | 11:08 pm

    i’d like to address Jess first.
    all i can say to you is that i never wanna feel 30!
    you’re old dude!
    UNDERAGE FOREVER!
    😉
    now, with that being said i’d like to address y’all because we’re wasting time here.
    let’s grab the rest of the Original Sinners and do some shots!
    is it a Jameson or Chartreuse evening?
    😀

    p.s. long live GONG!

  13. Ko
    October 22, 2011 | 1:34 am

    Just another faux-fronted amusement park ride opened by the Disneyland of bar owners. 1933 make imitations of genuine bars out of lincoln logs, lego, costumes and overpriced drinks. This is just another disingenuous attempt at LA hip made by a team who stole their way to the top, starting at the beginning with Big Foot East.
    S&S was the only genuine thing this Group owned, but they certainly didn’t create it and they sure as hell dug it’s grave, not the staff or patrons.
    I think I’ll be staying away from this one, Culver City has much better drinks with a much better attitude.

  14. Culver resident
    October 22, 2011 | 3:07 pm

    I live across the street and I always hated Saints and Sinners, it felt like one if those “locals only” places. Unless you liked heavy metal and bad frat boy shots, you were pretty much alienated.
    I’m really happy to see a classier joint take it’s place. I haven’t been in yet, but it looks beautiful from the outside.

  15. beverly hills bartender
    October 25, 2011 | 10:31 pm

    Ginger beer.

    This is about the fifth article I’ve read in a week mentioning ginger beer. Guess it’s making a big comeback.

    For the other geeks like myself, a bit of trivia: ginger beer and vodka (with a lime squeeze) is a Moscow Mule which allegedly popularized vodka beginning in the 1950’s … according to one version.

    Can’t wait to check out Oldfield’s Liquor Room.

  16. […] the thing that pushes this bar above 1933′s efforts like Oldfield’s Liquor Room, Bigfoot West, Sassafras and Thirsty Crow is the killer bar program which not only brought on […]

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