Santa Monica tavern Brick + Mortar reinvents itself as Tipsy Chef

Tipsy Chef 2435 Main St., Santa Monica (310) 450-3434 tipsychef-sm.com

By Anthony Torrise

Tipsy Chef offers a bevy of brunch cocktail options

The Main Street bar and boozy brunch staple formerly known as Brick + Mortar has donned a new apron, so to speak. Reimagined as Tipsy Chef, the one-time pub now turned elevated restaurant and cocktail lounge celebrated its updated name, look and menu with a grand opening bash last Wednesday in the same spot where Brick + Mortar planted its Santa Monica roots eight years ago (inside the Edgemar Center for the Arts). But the ethos is completely reinvented.

Tipsy Chef co-owner Justin Safier (who also owned Brick + Mortar) describes the new vibe as “casual elegance” for a “more mature crowd” that still wants to have fun.

“It’s food-forward and chef-driven, but at the same time it’s supposed to be a place you can come and have fun. You can come and get loud,” he says. “As our regular clientele kind of grew up, so to speak, we also kind of matured and grew up with it. … This was the natural progression we felt where you could still provide that good time, good atmosphere, but it is a little more elevated than what we were doing previously. We always kind of wanted to step our game up.”

Tipsy Chef sports a fresh new look with elegant blue booths, large hanging light bulbs in whimsical shapes and high top tables with bright white counter tops. Long communal tables near the bar and plenty of small plate options (everything from grilled shrimp with activated charcoal to beer battered cauliflower) encourage guests to explore the menu
and share.

“There is something about breaking bread with somebody that [makes] you kind of feel more [part] of a community, and that is our whole essence, that we want people to feel part of a community” says Safier.

As for the mains, choose from an assortment of pastas, salads and thin crust pizzas. The pizzas are a highlight with their crispy, chewy textures and hearty serving size. (Plenty for two.) The larger plates, like the 24-ounce tomahawk pork chop with kumquats and basil and 18-ounce bone-in rib eye, are also great for sharing.

On top of an exciting dinner menu, brunch is also served on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. with several enticing options to choose from. The variety goes from a six-ounce flat iron steak and a fried chicken sandwich with kimchi slaw to avocado toast with salmon and eggs, bacon and toast. Something to look out for during brunch is Tipsy Chef’s take on the mimosa, which offers a flight of fresh squeezed juices (papaya, guava, to name a few) with a bottle of champagne.

With late close times (midnight Sundays through Wednesdays and 1 a.m. Thursdayss through Saturday) come great opportunities to stop in for a late bite or nightcap. Behind the bar innovative drinks are whipped up, like the Pearly Legal with pear-infused vodka, the bittersweet Frothberry with whiskey, chambord, lemon and peychaud bitters, or the mezcal-based Smokey Rose served with a burnt stem of rosemary and scented like pine. House cocktails, beers, wines and well drinks are all $6 during “Tipsy Time,” which is 4 to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and 3 to 6 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

The bar (which can sit up to 16) is long and inviting, so pull up a chair and sip up.

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