Devon Espinosa might have one of the most inventive cocktail menus in Los Angeles right now at The Church Key on West Hollywood's Sunset Strip. But when he's not creating some wild beverages for the sceney restaurant, Espinosa is hanging out at some other great bars around town. In this Cocktail Week feature, he talks to us about what he likes to drink, and where he likes to drink it on his nights off.
You're probably slammed at the Church Key, but what's your bar of choice on a night off?
I love to go to the Houston Brothers's places. I used to work at Pour Vous and I still have a great relationship with them. I also love Melrose Umbrella Company. I'm mainly there for the company and the experience. I'm there for the energy and to have fun.
What are you actually drinking though?
I'm a simple dude. I go with shot and a beer all night. I'll sometimes venture off into a crazy or weird cocktail, and sometimes bartenders that know me like to have me taste somethign new. But honestly, I'm basic. I'll have whiskey or tequila and an IPA. I'll take a lowlands tequila but I also really love Tapatio. I'm a big fan of blanco tequila so Ocho or Siete (Leguas) are my go-tos. I'm also into Tequila Fortaleza. As for whiskey, I'll take Buffalo Trace because it's not too sweet. Eagle Rare, High West, they're good too.
Do you think LA's bar scene has really gotten better over the years?
I think it's great to start seeing the same regular bartenders at places. For years, people were jumping around all the time, especially with the newer generation. But now you're seeing people get back behind the bar and having fun. I think that L.A.'s scene never really got too serious with its cocktails. It's more easy-going and fun than all buttoned up and serious. We weren't as pretentious.
What's next in the bar scene?
I like seeing places with crazy themes. Like picking a certain era and sticking to it. I don't want to see another dark place with Edison bulbs agin. I love these niche bars like General Lee's that plays on a certain overall look.