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Bar Toscana is a lounge concept designed with a sleek, contemporary approach inspired by urban Milan.  Located in the heart of Brentwood, the intimate cocktail bar is situated next door to the storied Toscana restaurant, a longtime playground for Hollywood’s power elite.  The original Toscana opened its doors in 1989 and has cultivated a devoted following for two decades, known for its effortless Italian cuisine and hallmarks of personalized service.  At Bar Toscana, the philosophy continues with an Italian-inspired cocktail program, simple small plates and modern artwork, for a stylish new era of neighborhood dining.


Composed entirely of small plates, or stuzzichini, the Bar Toscana menu is designed by Executive Chef Luca Crestanelli, a native of Verona, for a bite or a full meal shared amongst friends.  Market-driven fare is done the traditional Italian way, with farm-fresh ingredients and minimalistic preparations.  Seasonally-focused savory highlights include Aragosta Carasau, a lobster salad with tomato, ginger, basil, onion purée and Sardinian ‘music paper’ flatbread, as well as Polentine or baked polenta croutons with gorgonzola fondue and shaved black truffle.  Only the finest produce is featured in vegetarian dishes such as Stuzzichino Toscana, a fava bean purée, tomato jam and artichoke spread, and Zuppa di Carciofi or baby artichoke soup with parmigiano crisps.  A selection of Italian salumi and cheeses are also on offer, including the delicately-sliced Prosciutto di Parma served with a salad of shaved fennel and vanilla-infused olive oil.  Sweets are simple and straightforward, from Bonet Piemontese chocolate custard cake with amaretti and caramel sauce to Stelline, a delectable assortment of house-made Italian cookies.

Organized by inspiration and taste, the inventive cocktail program stems from the Italian roots of Beverage Consultant Francesco Lafranconi and executed by Bar Manager William Perbellini.  Intriganti & Aromatici, or Intriguing & Aromatic, cocktails include a signature Sorriso made with gin, pear-infused vodka, oloroso sherry, Luxardo cherry brandy, aromatic bitters and citrus peel; ToscaRita, a tangy fusion of tequila, Villa Massa orancello, fresh lime, agave nectar, Grand Marnier-blood orange foam, Sicilian orange peel and sea salt; as well as a Via Veneto comprised of Cinzano Bianco, Poli Miele, fresh verbena, lemon and soda.  The sparkling aperitivo side of the menu features reimagined classics such as a Negroni Sbagliato, a gin-less alternative to the negroni made with Campari, sweet vermouth, prosecco, orange and a dry olive rim, a tribute to the original cocktail developed in the early 1970s at the Bar Basso in Milan.  Luxurious after-dinner drinks include the Espresso Republic with Luxardo amaretto, Amaro Averna and espresso poured over vanilla gelato, the San Marco mixed with bourbon, Marolo chamomile grappa, Nocello Toschi and Zucca rhubarb liqueur or the Monte Bianco, a play on the popular Italian sgroppino, lemon sorbet and lemon juice blended with citrus vodka, prosecco and elderflower liqueur, topped with a pinch of ground coffee.  The Italian-focused wine list features various notable regions in Italy, as well as top California selections and half a dozen grappas by the glass.


A collaboration between designer and co-owner Amy Gordon, architect Hagy Belzberg and installation artist Jennifer Steinkamp, Bar Toscana is reminiscent of the sleek lines and earthy touches of modern Milanese design.  Colorful, digital art installations by Steinkamp throughout the lounge explore the concepts of space, motion, and perception through sprouting vines and bouquets of blossoms.  Floor-to-ceiling bay windows, each housing its own virtual art piece, allow for cascading panes of airy light.  Ethereal yet sculptural, light fixtures include Bathsheba Grossman pendant lights feathered to imitate a flame, and a centerpiece light fixture from Janne Kyttänen inspired by the coneflower and its growing pattern of its seeds.  Mid-century Norman Cherner barstools and custom-made tables of walnut and painted glass are set against the backdrop of a computer-generated carved walnut designed by Hagy Belzberg.  Glossy shades of black and white, including chocolate brown quartz bar top and ebony stained oak floors, as well as neutral wood finishes, showcase bright pops of color from the bold artworks.

From Brentwood dwellers to discerning travelers, Bar Toscana offers a refined taste of Milan that appeals to any mood.  At once relaxed and stylish, this neighborhood lounge is ideally fashioned for unique cocktails and sparkling conversation.

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