Your Living Room on Ice: The Silo Vodka Bar
Looking for something a little different in the bar scene? The Silo Vodka Bar may just be…of the refreshing variety you are looking for.
Silo features hundreds of vodka combinations along with mixed drinks that prove to be a crowd pleaser. Martinis such as “The Shnawsberry,” “Pear-adise Cove,” and “Mandarin Tin-tini,” as well as cocktails like “Professor Plum,” “Doctors Orders,” or “Jasmanian Devil” bring an interesting array of flavors to a spirit that are not generally emphasized in Los Angeles, and the sliders have more than enough variety to contribute to the bar’s quality.
Boris Mayzels, Co-owner of the Silo Vodka Bar, has an affinity for vodka that has helped make Silo the unique and enthralling place it is today. “I’m Russian, so I pushed for Vodka – doing a vodka concept. And as a group we really like that. We have 140 different types of vodka. We have our own house made infusions with fresh ingredients that make unique flavors.” The selection is impressing, as well as the dedication applied to the variety. Boris listed a myriad of different shots, from sweet flavors such as mango, to flavors that add a spicy kick, such as jalapeno, melding northern and southern flavors into a pleasantly dysfunctional marriage. This makes the flavor unique, yet familiar, which, in a microcosm, describes much of the overall experience.
The people behind the Silo Vodka Bar are not out-of-touch investors; they are ingrained into the community itself. Boris has been a chiropractor for 9 years, which brings an interesting light to his co-ownership. One may say that all of his business dealings are related to the relief of tension caused by unnecessary strain. A couple of the other partners, Michael and David Librish, are builders from MDM Builders that helped design many of the lofts in the area, and Julian Colker is Manager of the Haas building that houses Silo. Their collaboration is crucial to the unique inner workings and pieces of what make Silo so special.
Boris explains that he and his partners understand the value of a comfortable homely setting, “It’s a group of neighborhood folks that wanted to open a bar that . . . we have always seen it as an extension of peoples’ living rooms. So it’s a community space that is a little different than some of the dive bars that you see downtown. We are trying to do something that’s somewhat upscale, but urban, and a lot of our staff live in the area.” Undeniably, the environment was laid back and easy, with décor reminiscent of outside urban areas – such as coarsely cut brick rock walls – while the hip, sleek wooden tables, as well as the spacious bar, give one the impression of a welcoming, homely loft. The ceiling is wood slat, and gives way to a view of the second floor, which houses a second lounge area and “The Silo Freezer” room. The design is smart and sleek in that it makes one feel there is more space than is really available, and consequently gives one room to breathe and enjoy their drink or slider. As an initial impression, it does not fail to intrigue, but the second floor houses a couple of areas that really set Silo apart from the pack.
The second floor lounge area overlooks the bar and the streets of Los Angeles, and comes furnished with lounge chairs and a sofa. It also comes equipped with a second bar area. Denizens will agree that it is one of the ideal spots in Silo and offers a setting that is intimate, yet engaging and inclusive of Silo as a whole. Be advised, though, that this is mainly reserved for special events and busy weekends. Also, there is a peculiarity not otherwise seen in other bars that resides on the second floor: The Silo Freezer.
The Silo Freezer is not only an entirely unique bar experience; it is an entirely distinctive and transcendent social experience. “This is something you really won’t see in other bars,” says Boris. “We try to make it fun, festive, and you get to learn a little bit about the vodka and try some stuff that you probably haven’t tried before. It’s cold, and you put on these snowboard jackets and go in. There are usually groups from 8 to 10 people on the weekends.” The temperature of the walk-in freezer is about 28 degrees Fahrenheit, and Boris explains that this allows for the vodka to go down much smoother. This experience really brings an exotic, exciting element into the nightlife of Los Angeles, while helping people connect in a way that is exclusive and memorable. The approach to music is also one of many laudable nuances of the Silo ambiance.
Silo’s general background music showcases artists from Muse to Radiohead, but sometimes they have DJs dictating the sounds of the night. The tunes contain a little something for everyone, ranging from old to new. There is also a resident cover band, entitled “The Background Noise” that performs regularly throughout the month. Depending on their set, you will hear anything from modern rock to 60’s classic rock. The best part about the music is that it never feels intrusive; it is always at a tolerable and sufficient volume, so you can chat with your friends comfortably while enjoying it. There are also random events on the weekends in which prizes are given out and the entire bar can participate; Boris mentioned a popular spin on Bingo that is played on Sunday nights. You might even enjoy conversing with some of the affable employees.
While Lindsay English, the Manager, was not available for the visit, Richard Hochman, Bartender and Assistant Manager, was. Richard is personable, efficient, and easy to relate to. His service compliments his astute sense of people. Talk to him about sports, downtown happenings, or any other miscellaneous topic and he generally has something to say, while genuinely trying to listen to your response. Moreover, he makes a tasty cocktail.
“Risky Bizness” had a great balance of vodka and strawberry, while the basil gives it a subtly fresh, yet flavorful kick. Sliders accompany the diverse selections of drinks with added convenience and nourishment. The size of the sliders are more than modest, but not by any means overbearing, and their influence comes from the diversity of downtown tastes, such as the “Tugged Pig,” which is filled with pulled pork and cabbage, or the “Mean Street Hot Dog,” which features 2 halves of a hot dog along with grilled bell peppers, onions and a savory sauce.
The Silo Vodka Bar proves to be a satisfying blend of familiar and new, warmth and exciting titillation. The bartenders are conversational and welcoming, as well as the general environment, but the details are refreshing. Drinking from the Silo Freezer, as well as enjoying all of the endless variants of vodka, along with these other experiences, should keep downtown residents, as well as visitors, coming back for more.
By Andrew Mercado