It is Los Angeles’ Cocktail Week and in honor of the occasion, I’m highlighting some of the best bars in the LA area. In case you need it, this is an excellent incentive to explore the many impressive cocktail bars that are right in your backyard.
The Varnish downtown is a can’t-miss Los Angeles speakeasy hidden within Cole’s French Dip. Walk past the maitre d’ standing at the front of the restaurant and head straight back where you will find a door into the bar. Once you step inside the space, you feel immediately transported to a different time. The dimly lit space with mahogany walls and cozy seating is the perfect place for a before or after-dinner drink. If you’re indecisive, you can’t go wrong with the bartender’s choice. Tell your waitress what spirit and what flavors you prefer and let them concoct something unique. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
The Normandie Club located just around the corner for the newly renovated Hotel Normandie boasts not one but two bars. The traditional Normandie Club has ample leather booths and a semi-circle bar. They have an extensive whiskey list and bartenders with true skill. However, within the Normandie Club is the true gem of this establishment. Near the restrooms in the back of the space is the Walker Inn, a 27-seat cocktail bar with a seasonal menu. You must make a reservation in advance to secure one of these special seats. Once inside, you can either order from what is called ‘The Book’ which features a collection of their favorite classic cocktails, or you can order from the ‘Walker Menu’ which changes about every six weeks. Each cocktail has a theme, like the one below which is their Big Sur cocktail, inspired by the California coasts. The mixologist are engaging and unpretentious, happy to guide you in your cocktail selection.
Sassafras Saloon is a neighborhood cocktail bar, located right on Vine. It’s a large, well-designed space that gives off a vintage feel. There is often a live band playing and sometimes even a dance performance to go along with the music. Check out their website to see what acts to expect on various nights. There are tables scattered through the space and also areas for dancing. Their cocktails are expertly crafted and offer a wide range of flavors. They have their house cocktails, cocktails that have been barreled, bottled or jarred and also the option to create your own cocktail using a 2-step system that’s detailed on their menu. It’s a fun spot in an unassuming location located so close to the Hancock Park area.
The Varnish 118 E. 6th St. Los Angeles, CA 90014 The Normandie Club / The Walker Inn 3612 W. 6th St. Los Angeles, CA 90005 Sassafras Saloon 1233 N. Vine St. Los Angeles, CA 90038