Japanese Bartending Story
Cocktail Menu: Winter Drinks at the Hotsy Totsy Club in Albany, California

A Few Bars in Los Angeles

This week I was in LA for two days and hit some bars with like-minded boozers. Here's a recap. 

I started off at Seven Grand for a whisky event sponsored by the LA Times. There I was in charge of mingling and answering questions: tough work.

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After a few glasses of scotch we headed to Bar/Kitchen in the O Hotel. That's a fairly casual restaurant with a small but excellent cocktail list. I had some risotto and a Chapter & Verse, made with rye whiskey, amontillado sherry, amaro, elderflower, and bénédictine. So good. 

Then it was off to The Varnish for a final drink or two. As it was Repeal Day they greeted us all with champage. Then we had some sort of dealer's choice cocktail and a shot of something that I don't remember. The Varnish is always good times.

The next day, we started off at Providence, a 2-star Michelin restaurant with Zahra Bates at the helm of the bar. I've written about Bates' drinks  before but this was my first time trying them. There were five or six of us there at the bar and we tried each others' drinks and they were all pretty spectacular.

I would say her style is 'sophisticated accessible,' drinks that aren't all bitter-smoky-bartenders'-drinks yet they have so much depth that any bartender would be pleased to try them. 

Photo (2)I really loved her Ellis Island cocktail, made with ZU bison grass vodka, Cocchi Americano, Gruner Vetliner wine, and celery bitters. I also loved that she gave us a sip of Tarragona Chartreuse! 

After that, we drove to Picca, a new Peruvian restaurant where the cocktails were developed by Julian Cox. There are nine cocktails on the menu, most of them made with pisco. Everything I tried was perfectly executed and the drinks contain interesting elements like rocoto infused mezcal, cucumber foam, and ascorbic acid. 

Picca is located upstairs from Sotto, but unfortunately that place was closed. Julian Cox also did the drinks there. Next time!

Next up was La Descarga, a Cuban-speakeasy themed bar. We were there on a slow night, which I hear is a good thing because on weekend nights it is supposedly packed. They have live Cuban music and a separate bar for cigar smoking. This one has been open for a while but it was my first visit. 

I also ended this night back at The Varnish for a final drink before heading home to the Los Angeles Athletic Club. I wasn't going for a workout, but to sleep. The LAAC houses a mutli-floor gym, a 77-room hotel, a few restaurants, and a bar in their ten-story building. It's a pretty swank place. Definitely consider it for your next trip to Downtown LA. 

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Anyway, I am still short several bars to check out in LA.. Bars I haven't been to yet include:

  • Black Market Liquor Bar
  • Neat
  • Next Door Lounge
  • Oldfield's Liquor Room
  • Eveleigh
  • Tasting Kitchen 
  • Comme Ca
  • Copa d'Oro

Darn, that list is too long. I shall return! 

Camper's Book: Tonic Water AKA G&T WTF is now available for sale.

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