Soft-opened some four months ago in a space previously occupied by half of Cup and Saucer, Proof (3564 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 236-6001) is a welcome addition to Hawthorne's relatively nightlife-light stretch. The bar's menu, however, needs distilling. Proof's Old Fashioned ($8) is made with a local whiskey and is properly stiff, but it lacks nuance. The Gentleman's Ginger ($8) features housemade ginger syrup, which combined with ginger beer yields something like a Bulleit Bourbon fountain drink. Also a mixed bag is the cheese plate ($8), with fresh fruit and a good, strong blue cheese sharing plate space with bag-lunch-grade cheese and bread slices. Though the jury's still out on Proof's food and cocktails, the bar's narrow, vintage-lamp digs incontestably have a comfortable, neighborhood-joint vibe, and its Best Coast-centric tap list (a pint from which costs just $2.75 during happy hour and all day Tuesday) is perfectly curated. On those points, the case is closed.