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Where to Drink in Los Angeles Right Now, Spring 2013

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2008_10_hasmaps.jpgThe cocktail scene in Los Angeles has never been better. The proliferation of well-made drinks has made diners and imbibers not only want the best, but expect the best, from men and women behind the bar. The trademark style of L.A.'s cocktail might be the use of the wondrous fresh produce available in farmer's markets, but it's the strength of the city's committed cocktailians and mixologists that make drinking so enjoyable this time of year. Couple that with a wealth of great looking rooms, lounges, bars and restaurants, and one has a terrific selection of places to drink around town. Without further ado, presenting Eater's Drink Heatmap for Spring 2013.


4/30/13: Added: littlefork, The Corner Door, Freddy Smalls, FEED Body + Soul, Cliff's Edge, Goldie's, Bestia, Corazon y Miel, Paiche, Son of a Gun, Crossroads, RivaBella, Drago Centro, Bludso's Bar & Que

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. LittleFork

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1600 Wilcox
Los Angeles, CA 90028
1600 Wilcox Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90028
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Bartender Dino Balocchi comes by way of Chicago's highly lauded Longman & Eagle, with cocktails touting the likes of the Windy City's own Leatherbee's gin and the rarely seen Malort, a sort of Swedish take on absinthe.

2. The Corner Door

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12477 W. Washington Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90066
(310) 313-5810
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Bartender Beau Du Bois really meshes the best of classic cocktail making with the new cadre of great spirits available on the market. A master of blending liqueurs, try the Mezcallin for a smokey, gingery drink or a seasonal pick like the Rapier and Dagger made with scotch, cognac, benedictine, amaro and creme de peche. The ambiance tends to be more relaxed, making for a more pleasant cocktail experience.

3. Freddy Smalls

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11520 Pico Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90064
(310) 479-3000
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New bartender Johan Stein has transformed the menu into something compelling, with great stirred cocktails like the Paddy's Girl, using Irish whiskey, maraschino, white vermouth, and lime; or shaken drinks like the Sao Paulo Sour, using cachaca, velvet falernum, egg whites and kaffir lime. The tight quarters and loud music makes for a fun night on any night of the week.

4. The Spare Room

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7000 Hollywood Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90028
(323) 769-7296
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Blending a mix of tried & true cocktails and some seasonal ones, the Spare Room is still one of the best places to grab a drink. Think choices like Love Ain't for Keeping, with Plymouth dry and sloe gin, lillet blanc and peach bitters for something refreshing, or perhaps a super gingery Moscow Mule or one of the house-made barrel aged cocktails to go along with some fancy late-night bowling.

5. Cliff's Edge

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3626 Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90026
(323) 666-6116
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Probably best on a Wednesday night when bar genius Matthew Biancaniello is putting together his delicious farmers market and foraged cocktails, such as one infused with candy cap mushroom bourbon, to the test alongside chef Vartan Abgaryan's thoughtful, and beautifully plated farm-to-table cuisine.

6. 1886

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1250 S. Fair Oaks Ave.
Pasadena, CA 91105
(626) 441-3136
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Newly re-opened after a month-long renovation, 1886 is Pasadena's enduring outpost of great cocktails. The new drink menu is featuring a number of soda pop cocktails to go along with the normal lineup of classically inspired intoxicants.

7. Goldie's

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8422 W 3rd St.
Los Angeles, CA 90048
(323) 677-2470
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Former ink bartender Brittani Rae Peterson is doing an inventive cocktail program using ingredients like house-made Amaretto. The Mr. Rogers cocktail is as comforting as the blue-cardigan toting public television personality, using bourbon, maple, brown butter meringue and a topping of a hibiscus leaf.

8. Bestia

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2121 E. 7th Place
Los Angeles, Ca 90021
(213) 514-5724
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The cocktail menu put together by Julian Cox and Josh Goldman keeps it simple on the front and complex at the end, with drinks like Aromatic exuding persimmon-infused rye, dry vermouth, amer-Bestia (instead of Picon), and maraschino.

9. Corazan Y Miel

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6626 Atlantic Ave
Bell, CA 90201
(323) 560-1776
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Lauded by critic and known cocktailian Jonathan Gold, Corazon Y Miel has moderately priced drinks that use the likes of tamarind candy, housemade horchata and bitters. The Mientros Me Casa margarita uses Avion anejo with Grand Marnier and Chambord for a fancy take on the Mexican classic.

10. Paichẽ

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13488 Maxella Ave.
Marina Del Rey, CA 90292
(310) 893-6100
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Bartender Deysi Alvarez, who also put together Mo-Chica's cocktail menu, is looking to combine both Peruvian and Japanese flavors into the drink list at Paiche. The Last Ice Age combines Japanese Hakushi whiskey with Asian-pear-infused pisco into sour-like libation that's incredibly addictive.

11. Son of a Gun Restaurant

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8370 W 3rd St
Los Angeles, CA 90048
(323) 782-9033
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The small bar toward the back of this celebrated seafood restaurant by Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo has some classics like pisco sours and Aviations to go along with seasonal selections.

12. Laurel Hardware

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7984 Santa Monica Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA 90046
(323) 656-6070
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This expansive restaurant in West Hollywood always seems to be bustling, all with the help of its cocktail menu that features The Creeping Fig, made with Woodford Reserve, Pimm's #1, lemon, fig, black tea and walnut bitters.

13. RivaBella

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9201 W. Sunset Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA 90069
(310) 278-2060
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This attractive space in West Hollywood has some Italian-centric cocktails to go along with the Tuscan comfort food. Along with Negronis, the Marino Mule features amaro with ginger beer.

14. Drago Centro

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525 S Flower Street
Los Angeles, CA
(213) 228-8998
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Though bartender Jaymee Mandeville is no longer here, Kyle Ackley has taken over the program, with drinks like The Diplomat using bourbon with honey syrup and an apple-balsamic reduction, or the Nicolina, with tequila, plum jam, lemon, rosemary, and a float of cabernet sauvignon.

15. Bludso's Bar & Que

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609 N. La Brea Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90036
(323) 931-2583
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The drink program at this La Brea barbecue joint here has some innovative features, like the julep on tap, Fernet Branca on tap, and some twists on classic barbecue-friendly cocktails, like the Texas margarita served with a splash of PBR.

16. Pitfire Pizza

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801 N Fairfax Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90046
(323) 544-6240
Pitfire Pizza on Fairfax is the local chainlet's first outpost to offer a full bar, crafted by Pie Society (within Pitfire in Costa Mesa) barman Steve Garcia. Try seasonal libations like Rumpkin Pie (rum, carrot simple syrup, lemon, soda) and the Cold Toddy (bourbon, St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram, lemon, honey).

17. Shutters On The Beach

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1 Pico Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90405
(310) 458-0030
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Coast, One Pico, and the Living Room lobby lounge within Shutters hotel in Santa Monica have a new winter/holiday list of intoxicants by bartendress Tricia Alley, previously responsible for drinks at Black Market in Studio City. Swing by for Spiked Aperol Spritz and the KCRW (cachaca, Green Chartreuse, and club soda).

18. The Church Key

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8730 W Sunset Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90069
(424) 249-3700
New West Hollywood addition The Church Key has a plethora of fun ways to imbibe, thanks to bartender Devon Espinosa. There's Negronis in a can and adult iced push pops in flavors like lemon drop and apple martini, which are served from old Delta airlines service carts. Off the regular bar menu go for the Pink Lips with Grey Goose La Poire, lime, Pama Espuma, and Champagne.

19. Warwick

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6507 W Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90028
(323) 460-6667
Warwick is a rustic new Hollywood nightclub with craft cocktails by Jason Bran and Damian Windsor of the Roger Room. Think quality beverages from one of the venue's bars or even tableside drinks made by a "cocktail attendant." Instead of the usual cranberry, tonic, and orange juice, those who order a bottle receive fresh juice, housemade syrup or bitters, seasonal garnishes, housemade "foams," and fancy ice.

20. Honeycut

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819 S Flower St
Los Angeles, CA 90017
213-688-0888
Honeycut, the new downtown bar and (light up) dancing facility from 213's Cedd Moses, has a proper bar program by David Kaplan, Alex Day and Devon Tarby of Proprietors, LLC. A whopping 50 drinks are on offer in the bar room, meanwhile the dance/disco room serves bottled cocktails and cocktails on draft.

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1. LittleFork

1600 Wilcox, Los Angeles, CA 90028
Bartender Dino Balocchi comes by way of Chicago's highly lauded Longman & Eagle, with cocktails touting the likes of the Windy City's own Leatherbee's gin and the rarely seen Malort, a sort of Swedish take on absinthe.
1600 Wilcox
Los Angeles, CA 90028

2. The Corner Door

12477 W. Washington Blvd., Culver City, CA 90066
Bartender Beau Du Bois really meshes the best of classic cocktail making with the new cadre of great spirits available on the market. A master of blending liqueurs, try the Mezcallin for a smokey, gingery drink or a seasonal pick like the Rapier and Dagger made with scotch, cognac, benedictine, amaro and creme de peche. The ambiance tends to be more relaxed, making for a more pleasant cocktail experience.
12477 W. Washington Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90066

3. Freddy Smalls

11520 Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064
New bartender Johan Stein has transformed the menu into something compelling, with great stirred cocktails like the Paddy's Girl, using Irish whiskey, maraschino, white vermouth, and lime; or shaken drinks like the Sao Paulo Sour, using cachaca, velvet falernum, egg whites and kaffir lime. The tight quarters and loud music makes for a fun night on any night of the week.
11520 Pico Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90064

4. The Spare Room

7000 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90028
Blending a mix of tried & true cocktails and some seasonal ones, the Spare Room is still one of the best places to grab a drink. Think choices like Love Ain't for Keeping, with Plymouth dry and sloe gin, lillet blanc and peach bitters for something refreshing, or perhaps a super gingery Moscow Mule or one of the house-made barrel aged cocktails to go along with some fancy late-night bowling.
7000 Hollywood Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90028

5. Cliff's Edge

3626 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026
Probably best on a Wednesday night when bar genius Matthew Biancaniello is putting together his delicious farmers market and foraged cocktails, such as one infused with candy cap mushroom bourbon, to the test alongside chef Vartan Abgaryan's thoughtful, and beautifully plated farm-to-table cuisine.
3626 Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90026

6. 1886

1250 S. Fair Oaks Ave., Pasadena, CA 91105
Newly re-opened after a month-long renovation, 1886 is Pasadena's enduring outpost of great cocktails. The new drink menu is featuring a number of soda pop cocktails to go along with the normal lineup of classically inspired intoxicants.
1250 S. Fair Oaks Ave.
Pasadena, CA 91105

7. Goldie's

8422 W 3rd St., Los Angeles, CA 90048
Former ink bartender Brittani Rae Peterson is doing an inventive cocktail program using ingredients like house-made Amaretto. The Mr. Rogers cocktail is as comforting as the blue-cardigan toting public television personality, using bourbon, maple, brown butter meringue and a topping of a hibiscus leaf.
8422 W 3rd St.
Los Angeles, CA 90048

8. Bestia

2121 E. 7th Place, Los Angeles, Ca 90021
The cocktail menu put together by Julian Cox and Josh Goldman keeps it simple on the front and complex at the end, with drinks like Aromatic exuding persimmon-infused rye, dry vermouth, amer-Bestia (instead of Picon), and maraschino.
2121 E. 7th Place
Los Angeles, Ca 90021

9. Corazan Y Miel

6626 Atlantic Ave, Bell, CA 90201
Lauded by critic and known cocktailian Jonathan Gold, Corazon Y Miel has moderately priced drinks that use the likes of tamarind candy, housemade horchata and bitters. The Mientros Me Casa margarita uses Avion anejo with Grand Marnier and Chambord for a fancy take on the Mexican classic.
6626 Atlantic Ave
Bell, CA 90201

10. Paichẽ

13488 Maxella Ave., Marina Del Rey, CA 90292
Bartender Deysi Alvarez, who also put together Mo-Chica's cocktail menu, is looking to combine both Peruvian and Japanese flavors into the drink list at Paiche. The Last Ice Age combines Japanese Hakushi whiskey with Asian-pear-infused pisco into sour-like libation that's incredibly addictive.
13488 Maxella Ave.
Marina Del Rey, CA 90292

11. Son of a Gun Restaurant

8370 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90048
The small bar toward the back of this celebrated seafood restaurant by Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo has some classics like pisco sours and Aviations to go along with seasonal selections.
8370 W 3rd St
Los Angeles, CA 90048

12. Laurel Hardware

7984 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood, CA 90046
This expansive restaurant in West Hollywood always seems to be bustling, all with the help of its cocktail menu that features The Creeping Fig, made with Woodford Reserve, Pimm's #1, lemon, fig, black tea and walnut bitters.
7984 Santa Monica Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA 90046

13. RivaBella

9201 W. Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, CA 90069
This attractive space in West Hollywood has some Italian-centric cocktails to go along with the Tuscan comfort food. Along with Negronis, the Marino Mule features amaro with ginger beer.
9201 W. Sunset Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA 90069

14. Drago Centro

525 S Flower Street, Los Angeles, CA
Though bartender Jaymee Mandeville is no longer here, Kyle Ackley has taken over the program, with drinks like The Diplomat using bourbon with honey syrup and an apple-balsamic reduction, or the Nicolina, with tequila, plum jam, lemon, rosemary, and a float of cabernet sauvignon.
525 S Flower Street
Los Angeles, CA

15. Bludso's Bar & Que

609 N. La Brea Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90036
The drink program at this La Brea barbecue joint here has some innovative features, like the julep on tap, Fernet Branca on tap, and some twists on classic barbecue-friendly cocktails, like the Texas margarita served with a splash of PBR.
609 N. La Brea Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90036

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16. Pitfire Pizza

801 N Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046
Pitfire Pizza on Fairfax is the local chainlet's first outpost to offer a full bar, crafted by Pie Society (within Pitfire in Costa Mesa) barman Steve Garcia. Try seasonal libations like Rumpkin Pie (rum, carrot simple syrup, lemon, soda) and the Cold Toddy (bourbon, St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram, lemon, honey).
801 N Fairfax Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90046

17. Shutters On The Beach

1 Pico Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90405
Coast, One Pico, and the Living Room lobby lounge within Shutters hotel in Santa Monica have a new winter/holiday list of intoxicants by bartendress Tricia Alley, previously responsible for drinks at Black Market in Studio City. Swing by for Spiked Aperol Spritz and the KCRW (cachaca, Green Chartreuse, and club soda).
1 Pico Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90405

18. The Church Key

8730 W Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069
New West Hollywood addition The Church Key has a plethora of fun ways to imbibe, thanks to bartender Devon Espinosa. There's Negronis in a can and adult iced push pops in flavors like lemon drop and apple martini, which are served from old Delta airlines service carts. Off the regular bar menu go for the Pink Lips with Grey Goose La Poire, lime, Pama Espuma, and Champagne.
8730 W Sunset Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90069

19. Warwick

6507 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028
Warwick is a rustic new Hollywood nightclub with craft cocktails by Jason Bran and Damian Windsor of the Roger Room. Think quality beverages from one of the venue's bars or even tableside drinks made by a "cocktail attendant." Instead of the usual cranberry, tonic, and orange juice, those who order a bottle receive fresh juice, housemade syrup or bitters, seasonal garnishes, housemade "foams," and fancy ice.
6507 W Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90028

20. Honeycut

819 S Flower St, Los Angeles, CA 90017
Honeycut, the new downtown bar and (light up) dancing facility from 213's Cedd Moses, has a proper bar program by David Kaplan, Alex Day and Devon Tarby of Proprietors, LLC. A whopping 50 drinks are on offer in the bar room, meanwhile the dance/disco room serves bottled cocktails and cocktails on draft.
819 S Flower St
Los Angeles, CA 90017

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