Cocktail culture comes east: 1886 bar opens at The Raymond in Pasadena

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Calling all cocktailians: Contemporary bar culture made a late but entirely fashionable entrance this week in Pasadena with the opening of 1886, the new watering hole at The Raymond Restaurant.

The Raymond’s management and owners partnered with mixology masters Marcos Tello and Aidan Demarest of Tello Demarest Liquid Assets to curate the much-anticipated, artisan cocktail bar. Tello’s lengthy CV includes crafting the cocktail selection at The Varnish and The Edison in downtown Los Angeles. Demarest, too, is an Edison alum and also noted for his libations at First & Hope.

Appealing to Pasadenans’ sense of tradition, the drink menu at 1886 incorporates sly nods to local history and lore.

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To wit, the Rose Parade Punch is made with gin, roses, cucumber and soda; the Orange Grove Cocktail, with gin, California oranges and tonic water; and the Huntington Special, with cognac, Crme Yvette and pineapple. (The last references the Huntington Hotel and Pasadena’s storied past as a high-end resort community.)

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Other highlights from the drink menu include the Wall Paper Cocktail, a take on an original creation by London cocktail ambassador John Gakuru that blends Sagatiba Cachaca, vanilla syrup and jalapeos; and the Peanut Butter Cup, a not-too-sweet, stirred dessert cocktail with peanut-infused rum, crme de caco and fresh whipped cream.

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David Poffenberger and Derrick Flynn of SO|DA design firm were charged with bridging the visual aspect of the space to the newly styled cocktail menu. They added textural wall coverings, an embossed tin ceiling, Craftsman chairs, dark wooden tables at varying heights, custom French doors to the wisteria-covered patio and historic fixtures like an antique telephone and clock.

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The bar, of course, is the centerpiece of the space, with warm, focused lighting that emanates throughout the room.

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The Raymond’s Executive Chef Tim Guiltinan created a new menu of small bites to complement the hand-crafted cocktails. Look for the delectable crispy pork belly and grilled Japanese octopus as savory pairings to your beverage of choice.

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1886 — with a hidden, speakeasy-style entrance behind The Raymond — reflects the year that the historic Raymond Hotel was built.

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Although the hotel itself no longer exists, the building that now houses the restaurant originally served as the groundskeeper’s cottage. In later years, the cottage would even serve as the home of Walter Raymond, the hotel’s founder, during the Great Depression.

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1886 Bar at The Raymond, 1250 S. Fair Oaks Ave., Pasadena. Open Tue.-Sun. evenings from 4:30 p.m.-midnight; and also during the day Fri.-Sun. from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. (626) 441-3136,

(Photos by Sarah Reingewirtz / Staff)

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