In 2010, a strange property dispute led to the abrupt closing of popular Historic Core wine bar The Must.
Since then, proprietors Coly Den Haan and Rachel Thomas have been planning the return of The Must to Downtown. Now, finally, they are putting the finishing touches on the effort.
Thomas and Den Haan told Los Angeles Downtown News that they plan to open a new Must on the ground floor of the apartment complex The Jefferies by the end of this month or the first week of December. They are awaiting final inspections from the city, but said they are otherwise ready to go.
The 2,800-square-foot space at Winston and Los Angeles streets will be significantly larger than the original bar, and will feature new amenities. It will include a patio, as well as a private tasting room in the basement wine cellar.
“I’m so excited about the new design and about offering the community a place that has all the amenities you could want with a warm atmosphere and no pretention,” Thomas said. “We can do anything we want here, even more so than with the old space.”
Chef Drew Coleman, formerly of The Edison, is bringing a menu that keeps some old favorites from the bar and adds new dishes. The pan-roasted chicken and Fluffernutter sandwich (grilled brioche bread, almond butter and marshmallows) are back, but Coleman will also serve a carnitas shepherd’s pie, hush puppies and other comfort foods with a Southern inflection.
Although The Must will just serve dinner at first, Thomas and Den Haan hope to start weekday lunch and weekend brunch service after one or two months.
Also on the schedule are themed events, such as Magic Mondays with magicians, and a monthly “Dinner in the Dark,” which will have blindfolded diners trying a multi-course meal with beer and wine pairings.
The original Must was shuttered in July 2010 after a dispute with property partners over leasing rights. The space at Fifth and Spring streets was sold, and one morning Den Haan and Thomas arrived at their business to find the doors locked and their property, including about $50,000 worth of alcohol, moved into storage.
Now, two-and-a-half years later, they’re enthused about the future.
“We’ve built our dream bar, basically,” said Den Haan.
The Must is coming to 117 Winston St. at The Jeffries apartments. Updates will be at themust.com.
© 2013 Los Angeles Downtown News