When in Los Angeles
By Patrick Janelle
Since the 1930’s, when Don the Beachcomber opened up his acclaimed, eponymous tiki spot in Hollywood, Los Angeles has been a cocktail destination for both the celebrity set and the nickel-and-dimers—a snarky nickname given to suburbanites who storm into the metropolis for weekend revelry on the 5 and 10 Freeways.
Since then, Hollywood has lead popular culture in its taste for booze, with midcentury hits like the Moscow Mule—a marketing ploy by Smirnoff that was conceived in a Hollywood bar—and vodka, a national obsession bolstered by the creative prowess of screenwriters on the James Bond franchise.
In 2009, the craft cocktail revolution, with its genesis in New York and London, reached Los Angeles when Sasha Petraske, of New York’s Milk & Honey fame, opened Varnish, a speakeasy behind a decades-old sandwich shop in downtown LA.
Downtown Los Angeles continues to capitalize on cocktail seekers with a slew of top notch drinking destinations. And neighborhoods like Koreatown and Hollywood are reclaiming silver-screen era haunts with bar programs to match their architecture. Here, we list the places that are best in class, whether newly minted or maintaining their place in the classic cannon.