Tasting Table recently put out their “Guide To Outdoor Drinking,” and we tend to agree – there’s not much that beats sitting outside with friends on a hot summer evening, enjoying a cool draught beer or an inventive cocktail. Here are our five favorite watering holes, and what we recommend at each one. With picks in neighborhoods all across Los Angeles, there is no doubt that you aren’t too far from at least one of these must-visit bars.
Red Lion Tavern
This place is one of the few true German Biergartens in town. The Red Lion Tavern has an extensive menu of draught beers that you are likely to have never heard of but simply have to try. We loved the Franziskaner Hefeweizen, paired with their Nürnberger Bratwurst Pork And Veal Sausages. Not for the gluten intolerant, this beer packs loads of wheat and refreshing carbonation to create a classic Weizen beer. A word of warning though: The Red Lion is no secret, and it gets packed if you go at peak hours.
Hinoki & the Bird
David Myers teams up with Chef Kuniko Yagi to bring irresistible Japanese-influenced tapas to Century City. Although the two chefs deliver amazing food, it’s the drinks and ambiance that we came for. During the day, we recommend the Tangerine Caipirissima, which comes with white rum, lime, tangerine, and a hint of brown sugar to tie it all up. If you are looking for a late-night drink that your throat will feel a little bit, go with the delicious Griffith Park Swizzle. The Griffith is served with a bourbon and absinthe base, mint, a healthy splash of lime, and some bitters for added flavor, guaranteeing to make your taste buds beg for more after that first sip.
This might be the most interesting of all the places we visited. Tucked into an unmarked building in Little Tokyo, The Escondite, which translates to “The Hidden One,” offers everything a neighborhood bar should. It has amazing food for a good price; the view is spectacular, with a full angle on the downtown skyline; and they offer an extensive menu of local and foreign beer, along with inventive cocktails. We tried the Backpacker’s Holiday. Vodka, muddled kiwi, basil, and a nice splash of lime juice make it a holiday for everybody that tries it.
Venice Beach Wines
Sure, the wine selection might be well-priced and spans the globe, but that’s not what we loved most about Venice Beach Wines. This place has the ultimate Los Angeles beach, breezy vibe that you usually only dream about. Be sure to take a seat outdoors on the patio. The second you sit down and take the first sip of your Malbec, you will be in heaven.
These guys aren’t shy. A simple search on Google will show that The Eveleigh thinks they have the best outdoor patio in Los Angeles. It feels like a farmhouse that is both elegant, simple, and ultra welcoming. The Eveleigh offers a full range of beer and wine, but we came here for the ambiance and cocktails. We loved sipping on the Summer Sour, a perfect blend of bourbon, fino sherry, fresh lemon, cane sugar, and orange essence. This is one of those places where one grows sad when the bill arrives – not because of the price, but because it means you are about to leave.