Sure, Valentine’s Day is all about romance, but for every person who looks forward to February 14th there’s another one (or two, or three) who finds the holiday stressful and annoying (whether or not they’re coupled up). Now, there’s a two-week pop-up bar in Los Angeles created especially for them. A trained sommelier, Evan Chasten worked as a corporate beverage director before opening Severance Wine Bar in Los Angeles last October—with his severance check, no less. Now, Chasten is manning BreakUp Bar, a temporary cocktail lounge adjacent to Severance, just in time for Valentine’s Day.
BreakUp Bar is an intimate space, dominated by a large, stately bar and a 10-foot screen showing classic breakup movies. There’s also something called the Wall of Broken Relationships, where people have been writing and publicly displaying anonymous notes to their exes.
Interestingly, most of the advanced reservations at BreakUp Bar have been made by couples, despite its name. Maybe some of them are actually planning to break up there, but Chasten has a different opinion. “I think there is so much pressure on Valentine’s Day, people just give up or simply stay home. And a lot of those people are gravitating towards the bar.”
The menu features light savory snacks and desserts such as a sugar cookie tower, baked Alaska, chocolate fondue with French macarons and other assorted sweets to go along with the specialty cocktails—many of which are actually based on real-life broken relationships. “Punch For Two For One” comes with an option of Sherry Mai Tai or Sherry Painkiller, just as “A Cold Day in Hell” features Amontillado and East India sherry, rooibos and chamomile tea, lemon and ginger. “She Blinded Me with Science,” meanwhile, is a champagne, lemon and passion fruit concoction, served in a beaker with a pipette full of ginger cranberry syrup. Then there’s “Ghosted,” with milk stout, PX sherry, bitters and lavender foam, and “Serious Baggage,” with sparkling rosé, Pommeau, lemon, apple and bitters.
The unofficial award for the best cocktail name, however, goes to “I Dealt With Your Parents for Years,” which consists of Caperitif, lime, grapefruit soda, habanero bitters and a black salt rim. And for those who really want to impress (or terrify) their dates, BreakUp Bar offers to saber any bottle of champagne table-side.
Whatever your romantic status, BreakUp Bar is a well-conceived, creative alternative to celebrating a commercially-driven holiday that deliberately leaves out single people while putting unnecessary pressure on those in relationships.
Breakup Bar, 7276 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles; Tuesday through Thursday, 7 p.m. – 11 p.m.; Friday through Saturday, 7 p.m. – 12 a.m.; $20 per person (includes a complimentary cocktail or sparkling wine flight); through February 14th. Space is limited; advance tickets recommended.