The dictionary definintion of a Gastropub is a bar that also offers high quality food. Taking that definition quite literally is HQ Gastropub (the HQ stands for high quality) in Woodland Hills. With a "prohibition-era drink parlor meets cutting age audio/video technology" atmosphere, HQ Gastropub has been designed "to stand as an authoritative destination for eating, drinking and hanging out."
"Our principal focus is to pair high quality food, beer, wine, spirits and music with an eclectic and visually inspiring décor of classic vintage guitars and art," says HQ owner Mark Matters. Combining outstanding food, beverages, and atmosphere creates a concept that HQ calls a "Gastro-lounge experience." With that idea in mind, HQ Gastropub pairs great food and handcrafted cocktails with cool décor that features prints of rock stars from an award-winning photographer and classic vintage guitars displayed on the walls. "What we did with HQ," explains Matters, "was create a very comfortable environment to celebrate [food], music and art." All of the guitars are for sale including a 1955 Gibson Gold Top worth over $40,000.
The eclectic menu, which is displayed inside cool retro album covers, compliments the rock and roll feel of the restaurant by offering cutting-edge "pop culture style" food that surpasses the typical Gastropub fare. The music theme also continues on the menu with headings like Opening Act (appetizers), Green Room (salads), and Headliners (entrees), but the real stars are the menu items themselves like non-traditional deviled eggs, which are served with yolks over medium and topped with lime crushed avocado, signature bacon jam, green onion, smoked paprika and balsamic glaze, or the sushi grade sesame Ahi tuna crisps, served with Edamame, pickled ginger, cucumber, daikon root and sprouts, sesame aioli, Ponzu sauce and black and white sesame seeds.
The innovative burgers include the Black & Bleu Burger, which consists of a beef patty with port caramelized onions, black mission fig spread, smoky bleu cheese, garlic aioli and savory port sauce, and for bad-to-the-bone rock stars, the Bad Life Decisions (BLD) Burger topped with port caramelized onions, crispy bone marrow, sautéed bitter greens, gruyere cheese, garlic aioli, and savory port sauce. Even the Executive Chef Salad gets an inventive twist with Cajun chicken breast served over arugula, spinach, candied pecans, avocado, strawberries, and garnished with quinoa, goat cheese, and balsamic glaze.
If you still have room for dessert (or for a decadent late night snack), the Encore section of the menu features a variety of delicious sweets made fresh in-house, like butterscotch bread pudding served with vanilla ice cream and butterscotch sauce, and house made churros served with jalapeno caramel and Mexican hot chocolate sauces.
HQ has two distinct bar areas, one focused on beer and wine (including 32 beers on tap), and the other featuring handcrafted cocktails. "The uniqueness of HQ,” Matters says, "is that we have two bars – one is a cozy space for beer and wine, and the other is New York meets Hollywood meets Las Vegas meets Nashville with a real cocktail theme to it."
The entire space also features hydraulic windows designed to take advantage of the corner lot’s cross breeze, and opening in the summer of 2016, the new private 1400-square-foot garden area with an outdoor bar will be the perfect spot to spend summer evenings.
HQ Gastropub is located at 20969 Ventura Boulevard in Woodland Hills, and is open at 4:00pm Monday – Friday and at 11:30am on Saturday and Sunday. There’s also a daily Happy Hour from 4pm to 6pm and 10pm to12am. On Thursday through Saturday, after midnight snacks are available until close.