A brand new patio lounge opened up on October 30th, 2013 as part of The Hollywood Brown Derby at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, offering a great place in the park to enjoy a little more upscale drinks and food selections. We went on the first day to try out some of the new items on the menu and to get some photos and video of the new area!
The lounge has been set up with bistro table seating with umbrellas on the large patio of the restaurant facing the center of the Studios. A small portion of the indoor restaurant seating has also been set aside for the lounge, giving guests the option to get out of the heat. An outdoor bar is set up near the entrance of the lounge so drinks are made on the spot. In addition to the seating available, drinks can be ordered from the bar to go, adding a nice option if you’re just walking around the park.
A selection of wine and beer is available, as well as several signature Hollywood Brown Derby cocktails that just seem so quintessential old Hollywood. The Mint Gimlet ($9.50), the Side Car ($9.75), and the Ben Appétit ($10.50) are just a few of the cocktails available at the lounge. The biggest addition to the restaurant menu are the two Celebrity cocktail flights available – the Martini Flight of the Stars ($11.25) and the margarita flight, Citizens Take Flight ($11.25).
Martini Flight of the Stars ($11.25)
The martini flight came with three different martinis – the Shelby Mayer (Grey Goose Vodka and Dry Vermouth), the Honey Darling (Bombay Sapphire Gin and Dry Vermouth) and the Dorma Nesmond (Ketel One Citroen Vodka, Pomegranate Liqueur and Cranberry Juice). All three were excellent and presented very different examples of martinis for those who don’t normally try this drink. The Shelby Mayer was extremely plain while the Dorma Nesmond was extremely sweet and perfect for someone who is starting to experiment with martinis or gin. The Honey Darling is your standard gin martini with green olive, but it stood out as the best of the three.
Citizens Take Flight ($11.25)
This margarita flight consisted of three margaritas – the Bucky Greenhorn Derby Margarita, the Melvin Macheezmo Mango Margarita, and the Ready Freddy Fiddlesticks Pomegranate Margarita. All three were delicious and fairly strong drinks, but the pomegranate stood out as the clear favorite of the three. I also think that this was a great price for the flight, the portions seemed surprisingly large for just $11.25.
While the food selections at the lounge aren’t huge, there are some real winners and they continue the theme of a more gourmet, upper-scale experience. There are two Artisanal Cheese, one just with cheese ($15) and one that includes charcuterie ($17), Prince Edward Island Mussels ($15) and The Derby Cocktail ($14), a seafood cocktail featuring shrimp and crab. The standout food items for us were by far the Derby Sliders ($15) with one Wagyu beef slider and one Chorizo slider, and the Duck Confit Tacos ($14).
Derby Sliders ($15)
The Derby Sliders came with two ‘sliders,’ which were almost more like full-size burgers. The beef slider was delicious and had gouda, bacon, avocado, and a Congnac-mustard aioli. However of the two, the chorizo slider was by far the better of the two and had chipotle mayo, manchego cheese, pickles and crispy fried onions. The sliders also came with tiny potato chips that were surprisingly delicious.
Duck Confit Tacos ($14)
The duck confit tacos didn’t look like much sitting on the plate, but luckily they were packed full of duck meat to make a satisfying and filling treat. The duck was extremely juicy and flavorful. It is always nice to be able to enjoy duck meat without having to pick it off the bone. The sweet onion and orange conserve blended perfectly with the meat by adding a bit of sweetness without being completely overwhelming.
In addition to the savory food items available, there are three desserts from The Hollywood Brown Derby that you can order from the lounge. The Chocolate Three Ways ($9), Banana-White Chocolate Toffee Tower ($9), and the Strawberry Champagne Cheesecake ($9) are fan-favorites from inside that they’ve brought out to the lounge.
Strawberry Champagne Cheesecake ($9)
The strawberry champagne cheesecake ended up being a big surprise. The menu described it as strawberry champagne cheesecake with macerated strawberries and dark chocolate caviar crisps. Normally, one would assume cheesecake is going to be a heavier dessert, but that was not the case with this one. It is considered the lightest on the menu. The cheesecake itself is light and fully and seems like it was aerated. It is served on what felt and tasted like a soft strawberry cream-filled sponge cake. The dark chocolate caviar crisps were an excellent addition to the plate, but not completely necessary unless you are a big chocolate fan.
Even though it was the first night, I think The Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge has great potential. The park seems to lack the type of sophisticated area for guests to sit for a while and enjoy drinks, and this could be the perfect addition. There are some things I’d like to see added, like potentially a more effective fence to offer a little more privacy, or even an awning to provide shade especially in the summer. However, I think that if the lounge takes off, these will be on Disney’s list of things to add.
The Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge is open in the afternoons and evenings at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and seating is first-come, first-served, and reservations are not accepted. They are accepting Tables in Wonderland discount, however the Disney Dining Plan cannot be used.