Step through the grass-covered front entrance of Canary, a glam new cocktail lounge just a half-mile from the Fairmont Miramar in Santa Monica, and you’re immediately hit with a sultry, lush vibe that feels more tropical island than urban LA. Inspired by Spain’s sunny Canary Islands, the space boasts glass-enclosed greenery, trailing plants dangling above the backlit bar, a stage stamped with palm prints, and vibrant, emerald-colored walls.
But the most memorable – and Instagrammable – aspect is likely the life-size swing that looks like it came straight out of a giant canary’s birdcage. With a wall covered in street-art style leaves and a neon sign spelling out Canary behind it, dozens of patrons take turns nightly to get a swinging seat – and a selfie.
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Taking center stage at this hotspot, however, are the cocktails. Ahead of its November 2019 opening, Pacific Hospitality Group, the crew behind Canary the crew behind Canary recruited mixology mastermind Devon Espinosa to invent a drink menu that infused tropical flavors with small-batch liquors and fresh fruit-heavy ingredients, all with the goal of offering up sophisticated, one-of-a-kind creations.
“I definitely wanted to make sure the origins of the Canary Islands still shined through, but I didn’t want to limit the cocktail program to only being Spanish-driven,” says Espinosa. “To provide a bigger spectrum of flavors, I designed the program as tropical.”
To do that, he’s created bold, flavor-infused variations on Spanish cocktails, including the Cafe “Fria,” a blend of cane juice rum, banana liqueur, cold brew coffee, lime, fresh pineapple, and a stout syrup that he fashioned as a play on a Barraquito, a coffee cocktail unique to the Canary Islands. And then there’s the “Sherry Baby,” modeled after a classic Polynesian Mai Tai with two types of rum, lime, almond-based orgeat syrup, and the unlikely addition of Spanish sherry.