Long summer days and cool summer nights. You know what that means: Two completely legitimate reasons to grab an ice-cold libation. Here are some of the refreshing offerings that do double duty to help you beat the heat and catch a buzz in LA.
9575 W Pico Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90035
LA’s beloved Peruvian Cantina is also home to a coveted cocktail program by bar master Julian Cox. This summer, he’s created brilliant, farmers market driven libations with a South American twist to complement Chef Ricardo Zarate’s bright Peruvian menu. For a spiked farmers market pressed juice, order a Beets by J (citrus, beets, agave, tequila, smoked salt) or the Mr. Green (lemon, simple, celery, grape spirit, and salt air). Care for something with a kick? The cleverly named Zarate Kid Part II (egg white, lemon, blackberry-serrano demi, Rhum JM Blanc, yellow chartreuse, angostura) delivers. If you’re feeling a tad adventurous, there is the Oaxacan Remedy (Mezcal, honey, lemon, ginger) and the Constantino’s Revenge (lemon, honey, pineapple, Diplomatico, angostura).
861 N La Cienega Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90069
Walking through the doors of this eatery is like waltzing into a culinary theater, where the presentations are over-the-top instigators inviting guests to play with their food and drink. When the temperature outside is rising, head here for the Below Zero Nitro-Bar for a few fancy libations. Impress your summer lover with the Diamonds Are Forever (citrus vodka, triple sec, lemonade, with a citrus vodka popsicle and sugar stick). Are you in need of some good fortune? Rub the belly that comes with the Buddhalicious (pear infused vodka, lychee and cranberry juice, served with a Nitrogenized pop of pear vodka).
8905 Melrose Ave
West Hollywood, CA 90069
From the team that created Café Gratitude comes Gracias Madre, a Mexican restaurant with a fully organic and vegan menu. Just like the restaurant, the bar also emphasizes seasonal and locally sourced ingredients. Think small-batch mescals, tequilas, and organic spirits. Cocktails are prepared with local produce and house made syrups, shrubs, tinctures, and bitters. The La Quinceanera is like an upside down snow cone, made with Tequila Blanco, muddled kiwi, mint, lemon, agave nectar, lime bitters, and Hielo Respado Bitters. The La Belleza (Tequila Blanco, strawberry basil, balsamic shrub, lemon, and rose wine) is a lighter option, while the Boozy Spring Popsicle (mezcal, pineapple, jalapeño) conjures up the heat stricken kid at heart.
119 Culver Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90293
Chef Brooke Williamson and Nick Roberts (Hudson House, Tripel) is the team behind Playa del Rey’s new culinary community and a quadruple threat for a convivial time. Playa Provisions is comprised of four concepts under one roof: Dockside (seasonal seafood), King Beach (salads and marketplace), Small Batch (homemade ice cream), and the focus of this piece, Grain, a seductive whiskey hideaway.
For cocktails over dinner and a healthy dose of Vitamin D, take a seat in the open-air patio. Dockside offers feel good seasonal options like the Swizzle (Jamaican Rum, Banaria, Lime Demerara, Angostura), Bees Knees (gin, lemon, Tupelo honey, lemon twist and hibiscus), and the Vesper (vodka, gin, Cocchi Americano, lemon twist). Afterwards, mosey on over to Grain, a bar reserved for the grown and sexy, featuring over 55 types of whiskey. Unexpected treats like the Ginger Highball and Kentucky Maid are a great way to unwind after a long day.
The Backyard / WET Pool At The W Hotel Westwood
W Hotel – Westwood
930 Hilgard Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90024
When the sun’s out, it’s time to lay by the pool and get a tan. But, that’s not the only reason to come and play here. Take a dip, sip, or both while soaking up some rays at WET in the W Westwood. Enjoy refreshing cocktails and tasty bites from The Backyard restaurant, or belly up to the outdoor bar, housed by a refashioned Airstream. On any given summer evening, a variety of fun events like the outdoor movie screenings entice guests to stay a while.
As for drinks, the Backyard Chiller is sure to refresh, made with Akvinta vodka, St. Germain, muddled cucumbers, and lemon sour. For a lighter option, there’s the White Sangria (Pavan liquor, white wine, peach puree, lemonade, ginger ale, and seasonal fruits). Prefer a little oomph The Mezcal Nectar (Chervo Silver Tequila Blanco, agave, El Silencio Mezcal, lemon juice, muddled lemons) is sure to deliver.
3172 Los Feliz Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90039
Think of Bigfoot Lodge as a place to relive those nostalgic memories of summer camp in the woods…only boozier. This chic log cabin / watering hole recently added a few refreshed touches to the space as well as a redesigned cocktail menu to go along with it. Featured here is an expanded selection of Western whiskeys and cheeky signature libations like the Gateway Drug (Damrak Gin, St. Germaine Elderflower Liqueur, Prosecco), Backwoods Banana Hammock (Selvarey White Rum, Pineapple, cinnamon), Girl Scout Cookie (Reyka Vodka, chocolate liqueur, Crème de Menthe, Cream), and Toasted Marshmallow (1921 Tequila Cream, rum, honey, Fernet, and toasty marshmallows). Knock a few of these back, and you just might have a Bigfoot sighting of your own. Enjoy nightly activities such as bingo, trivia, and karaoke while under the influence, all summer long.
417 W. 8th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90014
He’s a gilded rodent that turned 10 this month, and needless to say, this downtown bar has the golden touch. With a lineage that includes the likes of other 213 Ventures favorites (The Varnish, Honeycut, Seven Grand), it should come as no surprise that it shows no sign of slowing down. Invigorating selections include the Whiskey Mint Mule, a thirst quenching twist on the classic 1941 Moscow Mule (Jim Beam bourbon, lime juice, bitters, mint and ginger beer) or the hipster inspired Low Life (copper pot distilled corn whiskey, PBR, and a shot of Original Moonshine). A lighter option is the Ginger Shandy, a drink from the 19th century (Sierra Pale Ale and ginger beer).
1031 Abbot Kinney Blvd
Venice, CA 90291
A coveted spot for its two critically acclaimed patios, it’s no wonder why westsiders flock to the bar for some fun in the sun. Newcomers to the drink menu include the intriguing and beautiful Princess And The Pea (gin, citrus, agave, split pea puree), Little Rickey (pineapple sage infused gin, lime, soda, house-made grenadine), Daisy Duke (bourbon, raspberry lemon balm shrub, soda), Sweet Tea Smash (choice of vodka or rye, sweet tea syrup, CG Mint Tincture), and a taste bud pleasing Yella Finch Flip (cognac, Yellow Chartreuse, Fernet Branca, lemongrass, egg white).
Joy Bitonio has the phrase “Joie de Vivre” tattooed on her shoulder, a reminder to enjoy life every single day. She has a voracious appetite for fun, adventure, food, good cocktails and works out like a madwoman to keep it all together. She will soon be launching m0th2flame, a fitness and lifestyle blog. Check out what else she recommends around Los Angeles in the links below.