It’s very rare that I venture onto Hollywood Blvd anymore. About ten years ago my first office was on the corner of Hollywood and Highland- before the Oscars and giant elephants moved in and when traffic was only slightly insufferable.
It was the beginning of the gentrification of Hollywood and new clubs (Las Palmas), bars (Beauty Bar) and restaurants (Ammo) were opening in the strictly-for-tourists walk-of-fame neighborhood of Hollywood proper. It was drawing locals back to Hollywood Blvd and away from the Sunset Strip (sorry A Night at the Roxbury).
At that time The Roosevelt was rotting away, many years after its hey day as the trendiest hotel in classic, golden era Hollywood. A few years later, in 2005, the Roosevelt had plastic surgery to become the trendiest venue for the reality TV set (note, TMZ started that same year). The Red Bull-and-vodka-chugging crowd has inhabited the hotel ever since then.
Luckily things are changing at The Roosevelt again- this time at the hands of newbie mixologist extraordinaire, Matt Biancaniello. Nestled quietly away from Teddy’s velvet rope and the Tropicana’s pool party, the Roosevelt’s Library Bar is a dark lab in which Matt operates. Concocting cocktails from farmer’s market fresh ingredients, Matt impressed us repeatedly with modern takes on classic drinks.
His seventeen-step Bloody Mary is closer to a botanical wonderland than a tomato-based breakfast beverage. His Blood and Sand makes the Dresden’s seem as staid and out of tune as Marty and Elayne.
His Last Tango in Modena is heartier and more elegant than most first courses in the hotel’s restaurant (and it’s topped with St. Germain foam). Check out the full review with ingredients at Caroline on Crack.
Matt went ahead and secured his place in the upper echelon of LA’s finest bartenders when he won The Chartreuse Sweet 16. With this kind of passion and talent I predict another restaurant will poach him sooner than later. If The Roosevelt wants to work back towards their old Hollywood prestige I suggest doing all they can to keep him.