Friday, December 2, 2011

Chapter & Verse: Office, Test Kitchen, Playground

Dave Kaplan and Alex Day of Proprietors LLC are best known in Los Angeles for creating Bar | Kitchen at the O Hotel, a cocktail forward bar and restaurant that serves quality drinks and food in an unpretentious atmosphere in the lobby of a downtown hotel.  The duo began working together when Day became a bartender at Death & Company, the legendary Manhattan cocktail bar that Kaplan created and owns.  They quickly realized that they share the same perspective on hospitality and a healthy obsession with details and began collaborating on other projects.

As Proprietors LLC, they consulted on every aspect of the Franklin Mortgage and Investment Company, a pre-Prohibition drinking establishment in Philadelphia, including the logo, layout, design, cocktail list and bartender training.  Since moving to LA in 2010, they have created the cocktail program at all Rosa Mexicana restaurants across the country and designed a cocktail list and trained the bartending staff at Santa Monica pizzeria Stella Rossa in addition to Bar | Kitchen.  They are currently working on Demi Monde, a coffee shop, restaurant and bar in lower Manhattan, as well as on a project in Mumbai, India and another in Kaplan's hometown of Jackson, Wyoming.  Additionally they are in the planning process for their own establishment in downtown Los Angeles.

Alex Day cracks ice in preparation for making a cocktail
With so many projects going on, Day & Kaplan had outgrown their small office in the building that houses Bar | Kitchen.  They have also grown their organization, adding several part-time members including Varnish bartender Devon Tarby who helps create cocktail lists and train staff, Alexander Kwong, the noted designer,  and Mijin Son, their finance and office manager.  In looking for a space that fit their needs and sensibilities, they realized that not only did they need a larger office space, but they needed a physical space to experiment with drink ideas and it wasn't convenient to be running up and down stairs from their office to the bar space at Bar | Kitchen.

Hence, Chapter & Verse, the office, test kitchen and playground for Proprietors LLC.  Who else would give their office a name?  The Proprietors team share the space with Handsome Roasters, the coffee start-up founded by Chris Owens, Michael Phillips and Tyler Wells.  Kaplan and Day are coffee lovers and knew Owens from the Varnish, where he bartends.  The two firms realized that they were simpatico in their outlook and that Chapter & Verse could also fulfill a need for Handsome Roasters, by providing them a space to do training, R&D and work quietly away from the hubbub of the roasting facility.  The Handsome team shares the same detail orientation and quality obsession as do the Proprietors, so it has been a natural fit according to Phillips (pictured below).

World Champion Barista Michael Phillips
Chapter & Verse is more than just a place for Kaplan & Day to experiment on drinks and do paperwork. As with their bars, it is a physical calling card and representation of their brand.  As much as I wish it were a bar open to the public, I am glad to see that Proprietors has established a fountainhead from which their creativity can spring forth.  Day said that he hopes the space can become more than just an office but a place to share ideas and as such they have housed a library of cocktail books, representing both of their collections, so other bartenders in the cocktail community can learn more, be inspired and have fun together.  Even though you may not get to try a drink here, having Chapter & Verse opens means that more quality drinks will be coming both to Los Angeles and to cities around the globe.  Cheers to that!

Designer Alexander Kwong 

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