The 13 Best Whiskey Bars In Los Angeles, California
Courtesy of £10
Tucked discreetly above Scarpetta at the Montage in Beverly Hills, £10 is the only official U.S. outpost of The Macallan. It holds one of the rarest collections of The Macallan in the world. There are different options of The Macallan, all presented authentically – the whiskey hand poured over an ice sphere of water imported from the Scottish Highlands. Guests can also enjoy the finest spirits, complemented by handcrafted cocktails composed of the freshest ingredients and served in Lalique crystal glassware. The bar features one of the most extensive collections of Lalique crystal. It also has an alluring outdoor terrace, where private booths overlook the Beverly Canon Gardens. £10 has limited availability and is open Tuesday to Saturday from 5pm to 1am. Private events and scotch tastings are also available.
Courtesy of Bar Jackalope
Tucked behind Seven Grand in Downtown Los Angeles, Bar Jackalope, an 18-seat Japanese-inspired whiskey bar, opened in February 2013 to immediate acclaim. Bar Jackalope has a separate entrance with a light switch adjacent to the door that guests can flip. There are instructions on how to summon service in both English and Japanese, when they’re ready to enter. After they press the switch, guests will be given more instructions on how to enter. The intimate bar has more than 120 varieties of American bourbons and ryes, scotch, and Japanese whiskeys, including rare international and domestic varieties. Each pour is offered in either 20 ml or 60 ml options (and priced accordingly) to encourage sipping and savoring flights. In keeping with the Japanese bar theme, there is also a ‘bottle keep’ section where guests can buy their own bottle to store at Bar Jackalope. People who choose this option also have the perk of being able to make reservations in advance and priority seating on the waitlist. Along with sipping whiskey, Bar Jackalope offers three classic cocktails which feature proprietary ice cuts from 213’s Penny Pound artisanal ice company.
Courtesy of The Chestnut Club
The Chestnut Club in Santa Monica is very much a neighborhood bar, but it is quickly becoming a destination for whiskey lovers on the Westside. The bar offers a variety of seating options ranging from high tops, long leather banquettes, 4-12 person Chesterfield booths and an intimate private room that seats up to 15 guests, where guests are able to enjoy a truly curated experience. The Chestnut Club has a selection of 256 bottles of whiskey and a total of 450 bottles of combined spirits. The highly educated staff can guide guests through every single bottle on the back bar from rare bottles like John E. Fitzgerald Very Special Reserve 20 yr, Mitchters 10yr and Colonel E.H Taylor Warehouse C Tornado Surviving to their taste. The beverage program created by Pablo Moix features classically inspired cocktails. The Poor Man’s Pappy Old fashioned cocktail – a blend of 70% Old Weller 107 proof and 30% Weller 12yr combine to create the flavor of pappy 15yr – is their number one cocktail.
Far Bar is a centerpiece of the Little Tokyo social scene where you can find rare whiskeys like Pappy Van Winkle, KaVaLan King Car Conductor, High West Bourye to Dalmore Cigar Malt. They have a selection of 200+ whiskies and feature one of the most comprehensive selections of hard-to-get Japanese and Pacific Rim whiskies. In addition to whiskey from these emerging markets, Far Bar also features a long list of Bourbons, Ryes, Scotches and whiskeys from around the greater U.S. that are more familiar. To navigate this wide selection, Far Bar has divided their shelves into guideposts to help their guests decide what experience they want on a given evening. They have a shelf of The Usual Suspects (all the whiskies and brands that imbibers know and love). There’s also The Bucket List (all the whiskies you have to try at least once in your life – choose a 1oz taste or a 2oz pour) or The Ones We Love (some unusual whiskies that the bartenders are excited about). If you are a bit indecisive, you can get a whiskey flight of your choice or pick from a menu of curated whiskey flights selected by bar director Sean Naughton.
Freddy Smalls Bar + Kitchen opened in December 2011. Along with drinks like the Kentucky Maid and the Freddy’s Old Fashioned, they have a selection of more than 40 bottles of whiskey. Bowmore small batch is a staff favorite at the moment. Bartenders also love the Willet whiskey and encourage visitors to sample the Willet two-year rye. Bar Director Erik Sorensen focuses on the classic cocktails, with a wide variety of spirits to choose from. Their beer and wine list also consists of a well-tailored selection of craft beer and wine. he restaurant has a smoker for its meats and sees that Islay Scotch seems to be a good pairing as well.
Playa Provisions’ opened the intimate whiskey bar, Grain in May 2014. Located in Playa del Rey, Grain features more than 55 different types of whiskey, including five different varieties of Pappy Van Winkle and an in-house, barrel-aged whiskey. Owners Brooke Williamson & Nick Roberts say the inspiration behind the bar comes from speakeasy style that they love so much, with a menu that truly shows their love of whiskey. The bars recently launched new menu is ironically comprised entirely of old-fashioned cocktails including The Manhattan and an Old Fashioned. Other concoctions include the Ginger Highball with bourbon, bitters, ginger beer and citrus and the Kentucky Maid with bourbon, mint, cucumber, and citrus.
Normally one wouldn’t associate a great whiskey bar with a hotel lounge, but the Lobby Lounge at InterContinental Los Angeles changes that perception. The lounge offers 101 different types of whiskey. Recently, the hotel has partnered with Angel’s Envy, a high-rated bourbon created by the legendary master distiller Lincoln Henderson. Through the Angel’s Envy Art of Blending program, Executive Chef Jonathan Wood worked with Henderson to create an exclusive bourbon blend that you can’t get anywhere else. The hotel’s proprietary blend includes touches of caramel, vanilla, pepper, slight spice, and a hint of oak. They also offer a barrel-aged boulevardier with their custom blend and tasting flights. This includes the opportunity to sample the Angel’s Envy exclusive rye blend.
In Los Feliz, Messhall Kitchen offers craft and small batch whiskeys from a rotating selection of 500+ bottles. They also offer homemade Barrel Aged Cocktails and a variety of spirit flights. Along with their massive selection of whiskeys, what really sets Messhall apart is their bar team. Each team member is an explorer—someone who enjoys discovering whiskeys and creating new drinks—and must pass a rigorous training and test period. Guests can either choose a selection from their vast menu, Roll the Dice (bartender’s choice) or a Loaded Dice (guest picks spirit, bartenders does the rest). Austin Mendez heads the bar team and his menu has featured drinks based on Harry Potter potions.
The comprehensive whiskey bar located in Downtown Los Angeles features one of the largest selections of premium whiskeys in the West. There of nearly 400 whiskies, with bottles displayed in vintage cases from the custom-designed building’s original proprietors, Brock & Co. Jewelry Emporium. Alongside hand-crafted cocktails, live music, pool tables and private party areas, Seven Grand is home to the ever-popular Whiskey Society. This is a membership program providing guests the opportunity to further explore the spirit via education and experimentation with comprehensive tastings featuring Master Distillers, International Brand Ambassadors, and notable members of the liquor industry. And if your fascination over whiskey goes beyond just the amazing taste of the spirit, Seven Grand is also home to the newly minted Whiskey Gallery. This is presented by the Museum of the American Cocktail, which includes relics of cocktail history.
Steak & Whisky
Steak & Whisky, a steakhouse and whiskey bar in Hermosa Beach, California, opened in February 2015. The bar has an extensive whiskey selection of more than 80 bottles. Owner Jed Sanford intentionally uses the spelling of “whisky” without an “e”. This is to avoid excluding the many Japanese and Canadian labels offered at the restaurant, as well as scotch and bourbon. Both a design element and an amenity, Steak & Whisky’s 10 whiskey lockers above the bar are available for guests to rent on an annual basis to house their own collection of hard-to-find liquors. These are available for purchase at a 40 percent discount from the restaurant’s inventory.
With a selection of more than 100 whiskies, including more than 60 small batch bourbons, Thirsty Crow is a haven for whiskey lovers in Silverlake. Head over on a Wednesday and enjoy Whiskey Wednesdays. If you are more of a cocktail person, their cocktail creations revolve with fresh ingredients according to the season and make for a timeless neighborhood watering hole. Guests can sit next to the front windows and enjoy the signature cocktail, ‘The Thirsty Crow’. Or, sit around the circular bar and speak to the knowledgeable and friendly bartenders about the long list of whiskeys and bourbons.
With two locations, one in Pasadena and one in Long Beach, Blind Donkey’s owners are also behind L.A.’s Surly Goat, Little Bear and Verdugo Bar. The Blind Donkey in Pasadena offers more than 200 selections in one or two oz. servings or flights. If you can’t make up your mind on what to order from their 10-page list of whiskies, their whiskey flights, comprised of a corn-based, wheat-based, and rye-based pour, are a great option. With each flight comes with in-depth education as to the difference in taste, production, and origin of each pour. Like the Pasadena location, the Long Beach location also offers more than 200 whiskeys from around the world available to taste, sip and savor. Try the Intro to Ireland flight, which includes whiskeys by Powers, Wild Geese and Bushmills.
The Daily Pint opened in 1986 by Phil McGovern, who still tends the bar on a regular basis. Overtime, he started buying and serving better and rarer whiskies and The Daily Pint has become a destination in Santa Monica for people visiting Los Angeles who love whiskey. In 2008, McGovern met Chris Uhde, and offered him the opportunity to help to create what they both thought would be the coolest whiskey selection in Southern California. The pair started acquiring and cellaring quality whiskeys to last the ages and voila, Uhde now curates the whiskey list for the Daily Pint. The Daily Pint offers rare whiskies – including a 1946 52yr Macallan, 1958 Glen Grant and the 10th Anniversary Kilchoman. Some less obvious, but very rare whiskies that are hidden in plain sight. Couple great whiskey with pool tables and shuffleboard, for a fun night.