Ever since I heard the Bran Van 3000 song “Drinking in L.A.,” I have maintained a sort of obsession with the idea of sipping gin and juice in City of Angles. Naturally, once I visited Los Angeles I had to tipple and found a range of places to do it in the 24 hours I was there.
The first bar was right next to our hotel on Sunset Boulevard and had a baseball theme. Called the Short Stop, this quaint dive bar could easily have been in Williamsburg. The main difference: space. They had a huge, empty dance floor, full bar, a dark, tiny room that appeared to be the make-out spot, and a back room with a pool table and Photobooth machine. A perfect way to start the adventure.
The next day, my first adult beverage was a glass of California chardonnay at The Getty Center. Normally a drink at a museum wouldn’t be something to write about, but sipping the cool white wine under Richard Meier’s magnificent structure and taking in the sprawling city below, well, it’s highly recommend. Plus, it’s one of the best views in the whole city.
After the museum, we headed to Fairfax Village and downed a couple beers at Rosewood Tavern while waiting for our table at Vinny Dotolo and Jon Shook’s Animal across the street. The dark bar serves plenty of craft beer and scotch, plus a fine selection of steaks. Once at dinner, Animal provided a lovely wine selection that paired lovingly with the meat-centric (duh) dishes.
Now, the real drinking in L.A. happened at Cana Rum Bar downtown. When I walked into the smuggler’s den nestled in a carport, I knew it was something special. Here, Allan Katz is making an array of innovative rum-base drinks from their list of over 140 bottles. Since we were not only drinking in L.A. but also driving, I couldn’t try them all, but I did enjoy the simple coconut and rum drink, which came in a young coconut, and the Pleasure and Pain that also had mezcal in the mix.
Finally, our drink tour ended the next day at Baco Mercat with their fun and creative drinking vinegars. Some say L.A. isn’t a drinking town, but I have to disagree. You just have to know where to go, and how to do it right.