In a town tied up in velvet ropes and overflowing with pretension born from mediocrity, it’s refreshing to hear that Hollywood’s latest hotspot, Citizen Smith, aims to be the “bistro for everyman”. Nestled alongside the likes of Tokio and Beauty Bar on Cahuenga, Citizen Smith is pretty inconspicuous until you walk in the place.
Designed by Thomas Schoos, best known for Koi and O-Bar, the main bar/dining room (which apparently set them back $3.5 million) has a kind of industrial cowboy feel to it, all high-ceilings, wrought iron chandeliers, dirty mirrors, leather booths and cowhide-covered walls. Imagine a much, much sexier version of Saddle Ranch and you might be close.
The booth-lined dining room leads into a back bar complete with DJ booth, funky tree trunk coffee tables and an alleyway turned moonlit smoking patio. It feels like you’re in a chic part of downtown rather than in Hollywood and that’s no doubt part of the appeal for celebrity patrons like Mandy Moore and Drew Barrymore.
So what is there to eat in this place? Well, first thing’s first. The bar instantly wins bonus points for making a mean mai tai and serving mojitos in mason jar mugs. The menu impresses even more by nixing tiny portions of haute cuisine in favor of good ol’ fashioned comfort food with a Southern vibe.
Choosing from the appetizer menu is like choosing between kittens and puppies…but you know, with food instead of cuteness. Highlights include the Nacho Plate (basically nachos in pizza form), Citrus Glazed Shrimp (wrapped in applewood bacon!) and the Soup & Smith (a creamy tomato bisque with a grilled gruyere cheese sandwich).
The entrée menu is less surprising but no less enticing. You’ve got your chicken, your ribs, your fish, your surf & turf, your steaks and, naturally, the Smith Burger Royale. But Britney help you if you don’t save room for desert items like their Frozen Hot Chocolate (with or without Bailey’s) and Brownie Sundae.
Of course, if you don’t want to indulge in a 3 course meal, you can always order from the Lounge menu which boasts items like the slider trio, fried chicken skewers and jalapeno mac & cheese.
The beauty of Citizen Smith is that, just as the management intended, it is open to all and appeals to everyone. The comfortable yet stylish atmosphere make this a great date destination, the sexy setting makes it a hot stop on the bar scene and the friendly staff (ask for Wendy!) and affordable prices will tempt you to go back to this urban bistro again and again.
And if you don’t like venturing into H-Town, they’ve still got you covered. The folks behind Citizen Smith will soon be opening more locations in Downtown LA, San Diego and Sherman Oaks.
1600 N Cahuenga Blvd
Hollywood, CA 90028
Open: Monday - Friday, 11am-2am and Saturday - Sunday, 6pm-2am