Before they open their highly-anticipated next restaurant, Fort Oak in Mission Hills, Trust co-owners Brad Wise and Steve Schwob are turning their attention to Hundred Proof, the cocktail bar that they opened on Park Boulevard last June. Wise says that although it has established a solid industry following, Hundred Proof hasn’t yet developed the bar culture that they hoped or found traction with diners at Trust, which is just a short stroll away. And so the team is dedicating the next few months to fine-tuning the bar into a top drinking destination.
The weekday lunch has been discontinued to focus squarely on evening service and Trust manager Sophia Hussain has moved over to help to tighten up operations, and notably, Stephen Kurpinsky has been brought on as its new beverage director. Kurpinsky, the bar director at George’s at the Cove’s California Modern restaurant and Level2 bar, is an award-winning bartender who impressively transformed the La Jolla spot into a craft cocktail contender, where in collaboration with a talented team he launched a progressive concept menu/cocktail book series.
Kurpinsky will transfer that success into the revamp of Hundred Proof, where he plans on continuing to host guest bartenders from the local and national industry through his role as president of the United States Bartenders Guild. His first cocktails will be seen as soon as this weekend on the brunch menu — nostalgic interpretations of kid’s cereals turned into adult beverages including a Fruit Loop Ramon Gin Fizz. Over the next three to four months, Kurpinsky says he’ll overhaul the whole cocktail list, using his considerable skills and the kitchen knowledge that he gained at George’s to develop an interactive, ambitious menu. Wise says the food offerings will shift as well as the cocktails evolve; ranging from happy hour bar bites to late night eats.