Raising the Bar in Beverly Hills
The co-owners of NYC’s legendary Dante plan to open their first West Coast outpost on a posh LA hotel rooftop before next year’s Oscars.
The new West Coast branch of Dante, opening on the rooftop of the Maybourne Beverly Hills hotel early next year, will feature the same winning formula that’s helped make its West Village siblings among New York’s most beloved day-drinking spots—with the same lush landscaping around its outdoor tables, up-tempo blues soundtrack, and late-afternoon drink deals (in New York, daily Negroni and martini happy hours keep the cocktails flowing from 3 to 5pm).
Australian expats Linden Pride and Natalie Hudson have helped drive the mania for Italian aperitivi currently gripping New York ever since they took over the original Caffe Dante on MacDougal Street in 2015. The couple’s off-market deal prevented the city landmark, a cake and coffee institution originally established in 1915, from becoming a Magnolia Bakery.
Pride and Hudson, veterans of the Sydney bar and restaurant scene, kept the spot’s original antique decor and morning café vibe, but morphed the space over the course of the day into a simple Italian restaurant where the cocktails come first. “For a long time, we’d have the two different crowds: the old-school Dante regulars who would come in for coffee and cake and then at the same time we would have the young kids coming in for Negronis,” says Pride.
In 2019, the new boozy version of Caffe Dante earned the top spot on the World’s 50 Best Bars list. The spotlight brought opportunities to serve drinks around the world—sparking pop-ups in Sao Paolo, Dubai, Vancouver, and New Orleans—until the pandemic brought travel to a halt.
By the time city life began roaring back last year, Dante’s international acclaim had caught the attention of the management team at Claridge’s in London.
Last spring, to celebrate the U.S. launch of the hotel’s new cocktail book, the Claridge’s bar team spent three days in residence at the second, more spacious Dante, which the couple had opened on Hudson Street in the summer of 2020. Hotel managers from across Claridge’s parent Maybourne Hotel group also traveled to New York as guests of Dante that week. “We were showcasing what we were about to their leadership team and hosting them,” says Pride. “The relationship really started there.”
The Claridge’s residency went so well that Maybourne management invited Dante to install a pop-up bar at their first American outpost, in Beverly Hills. Pride turned them down. “We weren’t interested in doing pop-ups anymore,” he says. “We came back to them and said, ‘we think we’d like to do something long-term instead.’”
If all goes well, the new fast-tracked Dante will open in time for the Oscars, with both indoor and outdoor tables as well as lounge seating around the pool, with magnificent views of the Hollywood sign in the distance.
“To have some of the world’s best cocktails and that incredible atmosphere they’ve created in the West Village, to put that on a rooftop in California, it feels like a bit of a dream for us,” says Eugene Leonard, General Manager of the Maybourne Beverly Hills. “Last time I was in New York, I was at Dante drinking a Garibaldi with their fluffy orange juice. I thought, I can’t wait to try this with a California orange, it will be even better.”
Dante is slated to open at the Maybourne Beverly Hills at 225 N Canon Dr. in early 2023.