At first, I was disappointed to see the loss of a Valley icon like Cozy's Bar & Grill. There aren't many places in Sherman Oaks that you can go to hear live music and the place had been there forever serving as a directional marker for the corner of Hazeltine Ave. and Ventura Blvd. Ah, the joy of the gritty pool table area in back, the cheap microwaved food and the stale beer they served with care and love. The libations were combined with hours and hourts of music & entertainment including jam sessions where any musician could show up and play with some of the greatest jazz/blues talent in Los Angeles. It was all part of the experience of Cozy's. It will be missed and never forgotten as part of Valley mythology.
Ok, got the eulogy for Cozy's done, now let's move on to what replaced it.
The Local Peasant is a terrific replacement for Cozy's, because while remaining a local neighborhood bar like Cozy's, it is not trying to be Cozy's in any way, shape or form. It is an evolution to a higher form of bar life for Sherman Oaks. This cool, chic gastro pub has the decor of bars you might find on the corner in Chicago, Manhattan or San Francisco. Its concrete floors, open ceilings and mix of materials like hardwood, steel and tile give it that well-worn and lived in look. It's as though you have entered a bar or pub that has been there forever with remnants of its previous self still lingering in the black and white brick-shaped tile that covers one wall and the deep, dark hardwood beams that line the roof and make up the walls and bar in the bar area. The lighting and sound level make for an intimate, yet electric setting perfect for a gathering of friends/co-workers or a unique first date "get-to-know-you" location.
Upon entering the now unmarked exterior facade on Ventura Blvd. located behind the bus shelter, where Cozy's faded blue psuedo-awning held its once glorious, sometimes fully lit sign, you are immediately drawn to the openness and sheer size of The Local Peasant. The size is very deceiving from the outside. The seating at The Local Peasant is a combination of half booths lining the full length of either wall of the backward L-shaped main area. The bar hugs the inside of the backward 'L' with the kitchen hidden away from view helping to keep the unwanted noise level to a minimum in this uninsulated urban loft environment. There are two rows of long table seating in the center set at bar hieght with bar stools for seating. There is an entire room in the rear (where the pool tables used to be) with large heavy wooden park bench seats littering the area. The front of the building facing Ventura Blvd. is all opaque windows that extend mid-wall to ceiling and can be opened or closed to maximize use of the California weather and open the area up even more. The Local Peasant is a perfect place to utilize for a casual celebration, date, meeting with clients or even a nice after work function for the entire office.
The mood is conducive to the delicious comfort food served at The Local Peasant. Gone are the days of microwaved mozzarella cheese sticks with cold tomato sauce fresh from its 5 year old jar. This pub offers an array of delicious accompaniments to the large 25+ offerings of hearty brews, wines and liquor. From deep-fried blue cheese olives & homemade potato crisps made daily with vinegar and seasoning on the side to the red snapper fish and chips & the mouth-watering Peasant burger, this delightful gastro pub has everything covered. Don't even get me started on the perfectly cooked tender short ribs served with mashed butternut squash that is an explosion of flavor in your mouth.
The food is well-prepared, well-priced and presented with impeccable taste on hefty, rectangular white plates. Everything is served at the perfect pace without any delays or problems. The bartenders are more than capable and supported by a wait staff that rivals most 4-star restaurants. All these elements create a perfect storm of satisfied service.
Make sure to visit The Local Peasant when you are in Sherman Oaks, CA. It is located at the southeast corner of Hazeltine Ave. and Ventura Blvd. across the street from Ralphs Market. There is an entrance in the alley in the rear of the building along with the super convenient valet parking. The attire is casual to business casual, but in California pretty much anything goes.
Also, click on this review from Karen Young at My Daily Find.
The Local Peasant
14058 Ventura Blvd. (corner of Hazeltine Ave.)
Sherman Oaks, CA 91423
Photos: © 2010 My Daily Find. All Rights Reserved.