WeHo smoothie spot Earthbar pops up in Santa Monica with a blend of new items every week
By Holly Jenvey
As the pandemic hit, beloved West Hollywood health food institution and smoothie bar Earthbar responded with innovation and creativity.
By introducing The Discovery Bar, a new pop-up in the heart of Santa Monica which opened Aug. 10, customers can now experience and vote on Earthbar’s latest creations while still being able to enjoy their all-time favorites. Aside from bowls, supplements and their popular smoothies, Earthbar is planning to offer gluten-free paninis, waffles, toasts, superfood wellness lattes, herbal tinctures, vitamins and wellness shots, keto-friendly Nice Cream and other items that customers would like to see on their menus.
Each week, the pop-up bar will showcase a new beverage or dish to see which items should make it permanently to Earthbar’s menus around Los Angeles and across Southern California. This is the first time, since its inception in 1971, that the holistic health supply company is giving this power to shape the palate of Earthbar to its customers.
“We need you now more than ever,” said Marra St. Clair, the lead of marketing at Earthbar. “We’re really going to use guest feedback to determine future iteration of what we’re testing.”
The first week of the pop-up launched Sparklers, a light and cool nutritious beverage that can be served with any other menu item.
The Sparklers came in three flavors: Charcoal Lemonade, Vanilla Butterfly and Tart Cherry Ginger. These are made with sparkling water and ice, making it a perfect drink for all customers as hot temperatures soar through California. After anyone tries a Sparkler, the Discovery Bar provides them with a strip of paper with a QR code to lead them to a survey to vote on whether they should be a permanent menu item. St. Clair explained that the Sparklers are low on sugar, having nutritional benefits while being delicious. They are $4.95 each.
“We’ve seen a lot more people drinking juice and smoothies and going out of their way to get them right now,” St.Clair said. For the Sparklers in particular she noted, “We still wanted to stay close to what we’re originally built on, which is functional beverages.”
Twenty-eight of Earthbar’s locations are in Equinox gym facilities, while others are standalone storefronts, but you don’t need to be a member of Equinox to stop by for a Sparkler or smoothie at any Equinox-based Earthbar or the Discovery Bar, which has been designed specifically to garner community feedback. St. Clair also explained how Earthbar’s meals, many featuring turmeric and Vitamin D, are centered on immunity as COVID-19 continues to be on people’s minds.
Besides providing customers with healthful bowls and beverages, Earthbar has also taken precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 at its Discovery Bar. Customers stand in the doorway and are greeted by a host at a register who stands behind plexiglass. Menus are attached to the plexiglass and along the storefront windows for customers to easily peruse. Customers can also admire the Discovery Bar’s newly decorated storefront window with a flowery mural promoting peace and good mental health created by LA artist July.
“There’s just so much conversation happening about the connection between mind-body health,” St. Clair said.
Payment is contactless, so all forms are accepted except cash, and customers are required to wear masks. The staff are also in masks and gloves and are friendly and upbeat. Most orders are to-go, so you can order online and get your produce quickly and safely with environmentally-friendly packaging. Hand sanitizer is also available at the counter.
As Earthbar has been around for almost five decades, St. Clair explained that the Discovery Bar is a way of inviting customers to explore new tasting options while still sticking to the health food store’s mission of “empowering wellbeing.”
“Part of Discovery Bar is getting people to take a little risk,” St. Clair said.
The Discovery Bar is open seven days a week with limited hours. Visit earthbar.com or follow @earthbar on Instagram to keep up with the latest updates.