the manhattan project for laweekly

August 8, 2012

This interview was done totally last minute and mainly because I wanted to drink the Manhattans being offered at said event and my editor last-minute came back from vacation and approved the piece. I was on the beach with my cell phone, trying to keep the hair out of my mouth and the wind out of my recorder, neither of which worked and I later spent an hour listening to a nasty feedback trying to transcribe this damn thing. Definitely earned my $50 ticket.

Q & A With Chop Suey’s Adam Acuff: Craft Sake, Collaboration Beers + The Manhattan Project

manhattan cocktail.jpg
Manhattan cocktail

Little Tokyo’s historic Far East Café has for years been divided up into two establishments. One is L.A Weekly’s most-improved craft beer bar of 2011, Far Bar, and the other is an underutilized restaurant and lounge next door called Chop Suey.

For the last few years, we admit we’ve skipped over even entering Chop Suey — and who could blame us? Far Bar carries an impressive selection of domestic, Japanese and Belgian beers. Plus, we like feeling a little “New York” as we slip down the narrow brick alley adorned in white Christmas lights that leads to this Little Tokyo gem.

But for the last few months, Chop Suey’s been quietly renovating, installing a new 18-seat bar, a cask system for real ales and — thanks to new hire Adam Acuff — a stellar craft cocktail program that will rival other bars like Steingarten L.A. and Seven Grand.

Though a more official grand opening will be planned for the future, the new bar (along with Acuff’s new selection of craft sakes, whiskeys and mescals) will receive a low-key coming-out party tonight with its inaugural spirits-based event that includes a sampling of four different Manhattans dubbed the Manhattan Project, to be held in Chop Suey’s new upstairs “tasting room.”

We sat down with Acuff to talk about the new space, the new liquors and a special collaboration beer in the works with Eagle Rock Brewery. Read our interview after the jump.



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