Today we’d like to introduce you to Austin Melrose and Zach Patterson.
Austin and Zach, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
We both actually grew up together in Bend, Oregon and worked as cart boys at various country clubs, dishwashers, bus boys and servers. After attending separate universities (Zach @University of Oregon, Austin @University of San Diego) we both ended up living in San Diego for a stint before moving up to Los Angeles. This is where we both officially began bartending, both in the immerging craft scene as well as rock n’ roll venues to nightclubs. Eventually, we started cocktail catering various events around town, coming up with our own syrups and tinctures to get more guests to come and see us wherever we worked. This worked for awhile until we realized those programs weren’t offering the environment, aesthetic or overall experience we wanted to share with others. We bounced around the idea of opening up our own bar and thought, “how hard could that be?” Turns out, it’s really damn hard but here we are. Umbrella Hospitality Group is now made up of our flagship, Melrose Umbrella Co., our massive vintage tiki venue, LONO Hollywood and our west side hideaway, The Corner Door.
Has it been a smooth road?
No roads are all smooth, that’s a fact. The same goes even more so amplified in the bar/restaurant/hospitality business. One of the hardest parts is finding not just good people, but the right people. This is very much a ‘people’ business, the same goes for guests as well as staff. We have been fortunate enough to attract some amazing talent and personalities over the years and when goals and productivity align internally is when the magic happens.
That being said, it’s also difficult to convey to others on the outside how much work really goes into it all. People see the fun part on display when we are out and about and think, “oh man, that’s cool and seems easy and fun, I wanna do that”. With no way of knowing or seeing the non-glamorous side of the day or insane hours we are just coming off of and that it never stops.
One of the closest analogies we have coming up with, is trying to compare running a successful bar/restaurant/nightclub that is open 7 days a week, day to night (specifically Melrose Umbrella Co.), is like trying to repair your ship while sailing in the middle of the vast ocean, sometimes at night.
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Umbrella Hospitality Group story. Tell us more about the business.
Umbrella Hospitality Group is a made up of three bar/restaurant venues that feature elevated craft cocktail programs and food offerings that has developed into a lifestyle brand via additional offerings like our craft coffee program daily at Melrose Umbrella Co., live music and frequent offsite event programming as well as consulting work.
Years ago, we set out to create an industry clubhouse with Melrose Umbrella Co. A place that felt like home and was unique to anywhere we had ever worked in or experienced. What inspires us is to create concepts and community that stand for something. If there’s depth and authenticity behind it, it translates into everything.
How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
We think brands and concepts that are lifestyle driven is what hospitality should be geared towards. Sure, LONO is a tropical tiki oasis but we also made a point to curate an incredible wine list and offer non-tiki libations so that you could come in a drink, in an old fashioned way every day of the week, if that’s your thing.
It’s becoming easier and easier to not have to leave your home these days with delivery services and entertainment being accessible with the click of a button. We want to be the reason people want to come out and in return give them an experience, ambiance and interaction that is worth the trek.
- Address: 7465 Melrose Ave. (Melrose Umbrella Co.)
6611 Hollywood Blvd. (LONO Hollywood)
12477 W. Washington Blvd. (The Corner Door)
- Website: www.melroseumbrellaco.com, www.lonohollywood.com, www.cornerdoorla.com
- Phone: 323.951.0709, 323.848.4475, 310.313.5810
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @melroseumbrellaco, @umbrellacoffeeco, @lonohollywood, @thecornerdoorla