As legend has it, a bartender in Paris created the first Bloody Mary by mixing equal parts vodka and tomato juice. However, it wasn’t until he brought the recipe to New York in 1934 that the Bloody Mary we know today was born. New Yorkers felt the concoction was too bland for their tastes, and after a little tinkering and seasoning, the cocktail was perfected.
The concept of this Sunday brunch staple and reliable hangover remedy has remained intact over the years, but the recipe of the Bloody Mary has varied based on personal preference and geographical location. New Yorkers may like it hot, but the Texans like it even hotter and the Los Angelenos don’t care what it tastes like as long as it looks good. If you live in L.A. and haven’t jumped on the superficial cocktail band wagon yet, there are five places that care about substance. Well, in the Bloody Marys, anyway.
The Cha Cha Lounge
Hours: Mon-Sun: 5 p.m. – 2 a.m.
The Cha Cha Lounge is one of those funky little bars that everyone wished was in their neighborhood. Stuffed to the rafters with art created by local artists, this place serves some really delicious Bloody Marys. Not too thick yet not too thin with the right amount of heat and the option to kick it up a notch or two. Happy hour is from 5-9 p.m. every day with an all-night happy hour on Sunday. And don’t forget to check out the vending machine.
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The W Hotel
Whether you want to chill in the living room, people watch in the station, dine at Dalphine or lounge poolside at Drais, the Bloody Marys at the W Hotel are true bliss. They’re hearty, tangy and consistent, regardless of where in the hotel you order them. Each one is served with a traditional celery stalk and a little bottle of Tabasco.
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Hours: 9 a.m. – 2 a.m. daily
Revered as the greatest gay bar to bring your straight guy friends, The Abbey has taken the classic Bloody Mary and revamped it from head to toe. Using custom-infused spirits such as bacon-infused bourbon, The Abbey has created a list of signature Bloody Marys you won’t want to miss. While the classic Bloody Mary is served throughout the week, you can only get “the list” during Sunday brunch.
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Hours: Mon-Wed: 11 a.m. – 12 a.m.; Thurs-Fri: 11 a.m. – 4a.m.; Sat: 10 a.m. – 4 a.m.; Sun: 10 a.m. – 12 a.m.
While gastropubs can be a little pricey, Cafe Entourage offers lunch specials, dinner specials and a bottomless Bloody Mary brunch for $12. The quality of service may vary but the Bloody Marys are pretty relaible. But seriously, with an endless supply of stiff Bloody Marys you’re not really going to care how good your server is.
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Saddle Ranch Chop House
Hours: Mon-Fri 11 a.m. – 2 a.m.; Sat-Sun 9 a.m. – 2 a.m.
Better known for their tattooed bartenders, slabs of charred meat and bucking mechanical bull, the Saddle Ranch has one of the heftiest hangover cures this side of Fairfax. Bloody Marys so thick, spicy and full of flavor you’ll think you ordered a meal. So sit back, feel better and watch the tourists get thrown off the bull.
Kristine G. Bottone is a writer living in Los Angeles. Her work can be found at http://www.examiner.com/la-bartender-in-los-angeles/kristine-g-bottone