Bestia, Arts District
Bestia, a multi-regional Italian restaurant in the Arts District downtown, lives up to its name that means ‘beast,’ offering over 60 kinds of house-cured meats and a two-and-a-half pound rib eye that is dry-aged for nearly 30 days. With a cocktail program designed by Julian Cox, the drinks are never less than perfect, using fresh herbs, house-made purées and unique spirits such as lardo-infused bourbon. Try The Recap, made with a persimmon purée, rum, aperol, chili flakes, and an absinthe rinse.
Bestia, 2121 East 7th Place, Los Angeles, CA, USA, +1 213 514 5724
1886 Bar, Pasadena
Tucked down an alleyway in downtown Pasadena, 1886 Bar at The Raymond resembles an old English pub crossed with grandma’s cottage. Have a pint on the patio or sip on one of the seasonal craft cocktails. The menu is a ‘hit list,’ containing 1886’s biggest crowd pleasers such as the Huckleberry Sour, made with bourbon and huckleberry jam, and the Apple Pie Toddy, a tasteful spin on a classic using pie crust-infused rye whiskey. Don’t miss their happy hour, when two featured cocktails and the culinarily inspired bar snack menu are half-off.
The Varnish, Downtown Los Angeles
Cole’s, the so-called originator of the French dip sandwich, is just a skip and a hop away from Main Street in the heart of downtown LA. At the back of this iconic restaurant lies an unmarked door to a dimly lit bar, set to the style of a 1930s speakeasy. At The Varnish, all are dressed in cocktail attire fit for the era of Prohibition and a bass-piano duo jam out classic, old tunes in the corner. Try one of the signature cocktails or opt for the ‘bartender’s choice’ and let the bartender design a drink for you.
The Varnish, 118 East 6th Street, Los Angeles, CA, USA, +1 213 622 9999
Sassafras, an old Savannah townhouse, brings a little southern hospitality to the city of Los Angeles. From its historical charm to the nightly live blues music, this saloon from the South feels as if it belongs down by the bayou. Karen Grill, director of the bar program, focuses on the flavors of New Orleans, incorporating house-made jams and sodas while keeping the cocktails simple yet elevated. Try the Sweet Ti, made with rum, sage and blackberry jam, or the Pimm’s No.1933, a unique spin on a Southern favorite that integrates strawberry-cucumber shrub and an aloe liqueur.
Sassafras Saloon, 1233 N Vine St, Los Angeles, CA, USA, +1 323 467 2800
Library Bar, Hollywood
Just inside the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel lies Library Bar, a small, dark space full of leather, dark wood, and the scent of fresh herbs. There’s no cocktail menu here. Instead, each bartender crafts a unique drink based upon your preferences. Sugar or spice, smoky or herbal, fruit or vegetable based – you name it, they have it – as long as it can be found at the local farmer’s market. The cocktails are always complex in flavor, but maintain some sense of simplicity through the use of fresh ingredients. For any cocktail enthusiast, this spot is a must.