| Dial C For Cocktail: Vertigo premieres in the old Empire Room space. |
IMAGE: Jaclyn Campanero
Approaching new Hawthorne ’hood bar Vertigo (4620 SE Hawthorne Blvd.), the spot looks plenty cozy. Blue and red party lights ring the tall, wraparound windows, and comfortably worn wooden booths line the west wall (which also offers an interior view of neighboring bubble-tea haven Fat Straw). Vertigo looks much like what it is: a once-wine bar (the Empire Room) converted into a pub—which the month-and-a-half-old spot has taken less-than-great lengths to hide. A front window displays a list of bistro items offered by the previous business, and the A-frame sidewalk sign reading “Vertigo” in appropriately swirly red letters still has the Empire Room’s info on its back side. Despite obvious quick cover-ups, the bar has its perks: a projection screen for sports fans, reasonable prices ($8.75 covered a pint of microbrew and a Maker’s Mark) and a super-friendly staff. On a recent Saturday, the crowd was a bit obnoxious—a huge table of recent transplants was playing “name that tune” with the bar’s satellite-radio-seeming selection of expired hits, including plenty of Chris Cornell. Unfortunate guests and décor (deep red, velvet curtains pervade even the bathroom) notwithstanding, Vertigo’s more welcoming than disorienting. But is it too much to ask for a few Hitchcock stills?