This is the city I love so much I decided to make it my home. It is, like most things, not for everyone; for me it is my favorite city on earth to live in. Here are my top 5 recommendations.
Matt Biancaniello Pop-Up
Few bartenders have reshaped our view of what a cocktail can be like Matt. He has taken the cocktail and added the culinary eye like no one in the world. Utilizing ingredients that would stump most chefs he has created cocktails with more culinary daring then anyone in the cocktail world including the folks at the Aviary. His ability to meld wild flavors cohesively in a glass is nothing short of mind blowing. While it is now en-vouge to do "omakase" style cocktails he has been doing it for longer then anyone else save Columbia Room. His range goes beyond cocktails into things like sage beer and forever changed what a cocktail can be. Prepare to have a seat and drink copiously. Check his Facebook page to find out where he working at the moment. I can't recommend anything since everything is hyper seasonal meaning sometimes a drink is only available one day and that is it.
Location: Los Angeles, CA
1886 at the Raymond
When you have made your way to the bar you cannot help but look around once again at the space you are in. How detailed and yet simple the decor is and how good it feel to be there. As you gaze the barkeep asks you if he can get you something and you are snapped out of your revelry and realize yes you do want a cocktail. As you pick the menu you see are enticed by all the options. You begin to notice some are clearly more classic based then others and how interesting they sound as you try to picture the flavors in your mind. The cocktail list as a nice balance of shaken and aromatic cocktails; a fizz, a sour, a tiki, Old Fashioned variation, a Manhattan variation, etc.
Location: 1250 South Fair Oaks Ave., Pasadena, CA
As this is a Hollywood lounge they do quite a few covers. And Yael Vengroff has elevated an already wonderful bar program with her own unique brand of adult delight. The cocktails themselves when they arrive beautiful; delightfully garnished. As you take a sip and then another, the DJ might be starting up. Industry folks flock to the bar regularly to enjoy themselves. It is one of America's best high volume bars.
Location: 7000 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, CA
Melrose Umbrella Co.
A fantastic cocktail list in a relaxed and comfortable space. Easy going and warm staff are there to help you have a great time.
Location: 7465 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90036
I do not come here often enough. Every time I come here that is what crosses my mind. The cocktail list is a really superb balance of a variety of cocktails to appease anyone who enters.
Location: 1929 Hillhurst Ave., Los Angeles, CA