It's one of the strangest things I've ever seen at a bar. Here I am, sitting down enjoying a vodka tonic with an extra lime and waiting for the evening's entertainment to start (a cover band named Pyro) when I catch a glimpse out of the corner of my eye. There is a man behind the far end of the bar with long curly hair, a headband, and an executive chef outfit on. Seriously, an executive chef coat at a small bar in downtown Hollywood. I focus my eyes at other things around the bar to make sure I'm not hallucinating. There's the typical array of liquor bottles lined up behind the bar, a touch-screen videogame at the smaller bar at the opposite end, a small stage set up for Pyro, and a gaggle of buzzed patrons on either side of the pass-through window overlooking Hollywood Boulevard. I turn back around, and the executive chef introduces himself.
I immediately voice my skepticism: "Why would a bar have an executive chef?" He tells me a quick story about his plans to make the finest bar food in South Florida and runs back to the kitchen to cook up a specialty of his. While I'm on a specialty kick, I ask Justine, the beautiful bartender who's been putting up with me this particular evening, to make me her favorite drink. She comes back a minute later with a strong lime-green concoction that tastes like melon-flavored candy without a hint of alcohol. At the same time, the chef brings out a delicious plate of Polynesian-style chicken fingers to help soak up the booze. I fill my belly as I realize Octopus's Garden is really onto something here.