When looking for the best places in Los Angeles to drink the golden goodness, I found several whiskey-focused bars to satisfy even the most discerning connoisseurs. Also gaining in popularity with many LA bartenders, whiskey cocktails are popping up on cocktails menu throughout the city with recipes that pair the golden spirit with everything from citrus and honey to bitters and other unique ingredients.
So where the best place to go for a dram? I have a few suggestions.
On a recent foggy winter night I headed to Santa Monica with Michel Dozois of Névé Ice to find out if The Daily Pint really did have the west coasts largest selection of single malt scotches. Their wall-mounted menu seemed to corroborate their claim. We pulled stools up to the bar to study the flight menus. Along with several locals (and a few customers who had had a few too many) we ordered drams of Ballechin, Mackillop’s, and Tomontoul. Owner Philip McGovern shared recommendations, poured drams and beer all while he surveyed the jovial patrons crowding his bar.
At Seven Grand downtown walk up the dark stairway and past the trophy game heads to enter the hunting lodge themed bar. The Seven Grand menu lists a more than 200 whiskey varieties and several unique cocktails concoctions. The Seven Grand whiskey Society offers monthly tastings and classes. Order a dram, pull out a pool cue, and enjoy the night like one might after a good fox hunt. Weeknights are best as the weekends tend to get the kind of crowded that may look more of a fraternity party than a relaxing place to unwind after a long day of work.
On a block of Fairfax among the Jewish bakeries and skateboard shops, Rosewood Tavern is a casual neighborhood steakhouse. Opened by restauranteur, George Abou-Daoud, the menu reveals his love of single malt scotch, Irish whiskeys, and craft beer. Pair a dram with everything from their beef dip sandwiches to their steak and ale pie or Indian inspired dishes.
£10 at The Montage Beverly Hills
For the ultimate experience in drinking single malt scotch there is only one destination that is not to be missed. This is the place to impress a business associate or celebrate a special occasion. The exclusive £10 bar inside Scarpetta at The Montage is a hidden playground for whisky enthusiasts. The cocktails options are equally compelling with the Jimmy Mac that bartender Nicholas Vitulli with make tableside by stirring Averna amaro, Benedictine, and Regan’s orange bitters with Macallan 18 and serving it over a ice sphere made with water flown in from Scotland. With a food menu of decadent bar bites, this is the place to sit back, relax and enjoys hanging out with the high rollers. If Macallan Brand Ambassador Eden Algie is in the house get ready for some colorful storytelling and an education about every aspect of making whisky.
Several Los Angeles bar menus feature whisky cocktails. When I walk into the Roger Room my first thought is to order a Japanese Maple. The Roger Room bartenders made this inspired drink with Yamazaki, lemon, maple syrup, frothed egg, topped with a spray of bitters in the shape of a hand. In Studio City at Black Market Liquor Bar, the Amber & Embers cocktail features smokey Laphroaig scotch, Clement sugar cane syrup, and bitters. At Michael Voltaggio’s ink., Devon Espinoza combines Famous Grouse with lemon, ginger, clover honey, angostura bitters. The picturesque bar at newly renovated Bel Air Hotel serves Rolling Fog Over Mt. Fuji made with Hibiki Whisky, Aperol, lemon and eggs whites. All of these balanced cocktails feature the whisky in combination with flavors that bring our the best in the spirit.
The Roger Room
370 North La Cienega Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90048
Black Market Liquor Bar
11915 Ventura Boulevard
Studio City, CA 91604
Hotel Bel Air Bar & Lounge
701 Stone Canyon Road
Los Angeles, CA 90077
A Few More Options
Aidan Demarest recently opened Neat in Glendale and likes to serve his spirits to honor the name of his new bar. For everyone who likes to drink their whiskey Neat this place is worth checking out. Though not necessarily known for their warm hospitality, Thirsty Crow in Silver Lake is also a good destination for a selection of over 100 whiskeys and more than 60 small batch bourbons. Go early to grab a seat before the line forms out front. The always swanky Edison also has a respectable list. I spent a memorable night there a few years ago when President Obama was elected. The impossibly hip crowd could hardly contain their excitement. Many toasted their candidate with glasses of whiskey.
2939 West Sunset Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90026
108 West 2nd Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012