There are no markings that show the entrance to Salvage Bar and Lounge, Los Angeles’s latest hot spot. Set in the heart of the fashion district, Salvage Bar is the mix of LA history coupled with modern culture. The bar was built using the ruins of the old Roosevelt Lofts on Seventh Street, a tribute to the 1926 vestige that is now known for the posh Roosevelt lofts.
The waitresses and bartenders were upbeat and personable, taking the time to make conversation, explaining the unique qualities of the drinks and bar before asking for orders, creating an air of hospitality and openness even in the busiest of crowds. The specialty drinks are completely organic, using fresh squeezed lemons, mint sprigs, and real fruit juices to create a cocktail that guests will remember (or maybe not remember). The margarita, a blend of 100% agave tequila, fresh acai juice, and squeezed limes over ice is a personal favorite and recommendation from waitress, Sydney Smith (and my guest as well). Sydney states, “You don’t see many bars using organic and fresh juices in their cocktails, but that’s what makes Salvage stand out. Especially in this city, a bar needs a hook, and we have tons here.” Sydney went on to explain how the stained glass above the bar was taken from the remains of a 180 year old church’s stained glass window. You can hear the excitement in her voice as she drew my attention to the various historical pieces, nonchalantly placed throughout the lounge, including the old Roosevelt door panels that now function as the bar top.
This juxtaposition of old and new within the lounge is a vision owner and designer Solomon Mansoor remained passionate about from the early stages of planning. Because he sought to maintain the restorative value of the location, breaking down the cement walls was out of the question. This idea created potential sound problems in the early stages of development. “Tearing down walls wasn’t even an option,” joked close friend of Solomon, Eugene Gordon, CEO of No Static. Gordon was placed in charge of the sound for the bar and was eager for the challenge. He told me the predominate focus was wiring the rooms so that the sound would not tunnel or echo. To do this, Gordon installed a single unit amplifier system with wires running through the walls of the building, allowing for the most clear sound system available. The engineering definitely paid off in the final result. The music, an upbeat blend of dance, high energy electronic and alternative beats resonated perfectly throughout the lounge and patio.
Sarah Finn, an artist and interior designer worked directly with Solomon to carry out his vision. “Solomon had this idea to use old parts of the Roosevelt to create something new. Careful planning went into each aspect of the bar, from essentials like sound and lighting to the smallest of artistic definitions. The walls are designed to intermingle history with the present. Everything is in layers. “It’s the perfect location for the atmosphere,” she said proudly. After work you want to unwind, have a drink, and relax without added stress. We are set right in the middle of the city, so it’s really the perfect location.”
It’s that careful attention to detail that makes the Salvage Bar and Lounge the place to be for a night of music, drinks, and conversation. Solomon’s idea to not compromise the history of the Roosevelt was a challenge rather than a deterrent. He just knew the concept would attract attention. Close friend and personal guest of Solomon was proud of the turn out, but definitely not surprised. “He’s a taste master,” founder of A.M.E.N. clothing line stated, “He knows what’s going to be the next thing. He was known for this in the 80’s. (Solomon) would have this great idea for an underground bar, carry it out, tell only a few people, and then it blows up. Great taste.”
Salvage had a soft opening earlier in the week, where crowds clamored for entry. “It’s funny,” Public Relations Coordinator and friend of owner, Sergio said as the patio area began to fill with guests, “There aren’t even any signs out front, but the patio was so crowded that it attracted attention from people on the street. The patio is the best advertisement. People always attract more people. Signs are unnecessary.”
Solomon was part of the development team for the building when they converted it from office to lofts. He was inspired by the rubble and decided to put the old materials in basement storage, even though they didn’t have an immediate purpose. Solomon claims those materials “dictated his design, becoming an integral part of the Bar build-out.” In a way, the bar named itself: a true inspiration.
Salvage Bar and Lounge will soon be a topic of conversation amongst locals and “taste-masters” alike. The upbeat ambiance, the friendliness of the staff, and the uniqueness of the drinks and décor will continue to attract attention amidst the bustle of downtown Los Angeles.