Whiskey is longer just your grandfather’s drink. In the past several years, Los Angeles has seen the emergence of bars, which if not solely dedicated to whiskey drinks, specialize in delicious whiskey cocktails as the popularity of this preferred spirit has soared. What’s the difference when it comes to whiskey, Scotch and bourbon? It’s pretty simple actually. It’s geographic, but it also comes down to ingredients and spellings. Scotch can best be described as whiskey made exclusively from Scotland, while bourbon is whiskey made in the United States, or most generally in Kentucky. While Scotch is made mostly from malted barley, bourbon is made and distilled from corn. Wherever you are in Los Angeles, the city offers up some of the best whiskey bars around. Here’s a rundown of the best of the best.
2939 Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90026
With a selection of over 100 whiskies, including over 60 small batch bourbons, Thirsty Crow is a haven for whiskey, Scotch and bourbon lovers in Los Angeles. Once known as the Crafty Crow, the 1933 Group took the bar under its wing and refined it into the whiskey bar we know today. Head bartender, Rahad Coulter-Stevenson is behind the cocktail program which embraces sustainable, seasonal practices and utilizes techniques of bar masters before her. The Thirsty Crow uses fresh squeezed juices, in-house infusions, homemade shrubs, sherbets, jams, purees and fresh seasonal ingredients to create their cocktails. If libations aren’t your thing, you can’t go wrong with one of their many whiskeys on a Wednesday, where they are $5 during whiskey Wednesdays.
53 E Union St
Pasadena, CA 91103
Offering whiskey, Scotch, bourbon and rye in addition to a spread of craft cocktails, Blind Donkey is Pasadena’s premier whiskey bar with over 68 selections in stock. Blind Donkey offers whiskey in 1 or 2 oz. servings or flights, so you can try a few from their ten page list of whiskies. After all, sampling different kinds of whiskies is the perfect way to find which one speaks to you. With knowledgeable bartenders that are happy to help with your selection, you can be sure you’ll be steered in the right direction. Once you have had enough, maybe they can help you choose one of the ten varieties of French fries to soak up your samples.
515 W 7th St
Los Angeles, CA 90014
At Seven Grand Whiskey Bar in downtown L.A., you’re encouraged to explore the international wall of whiskey, which has selections from North America to Asia. The knowledgeable bartenders are available for any questions and will craft you the perfect cocktail or pour a whiskey that will cure your craving. They also invite you to join the Seven Grand Whiskey Society, which meets twice a month with comparative tastings hosted by master distillers and international brand ambassadors. Monthly tastings are also held on the first Tuesday of each month, depending on availability, at 7pm in the Jackalope Room.
Montage Beverly Hills
225 N Canon Dr
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Hidden above the delicious Scarpetta eatery, £10 is a lounge that specializes in the world’s most prestigious whiskey, The Macallan Single Malt. If you have the budget (and are in the know), you can sip this celebrated distiller’s rarest and most prized whiskey – some are even aged 64 years. In addition to Macallan, sip on other fine whiskey including Johnnie Walker Blue Label, and many others. At £10, their whiskey is a true art form served in Lalique crystal, which is as unique as their spirits, and poured over an ice sphere of water imported from the Scottish Highlands. You won’t find a more luxurious cocktail anywhere.
The Daily Pint
2310 Pico Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90405
Owner Phil McGovern, originally from London, was a hairdresser and owned a salon in Beverly Hills called “British Hairways!” After work, he would walk to a bar for a few beers and one day the bar owner told him, he was going to sell it. He ended up selling it to Phil. Having been in the business over 25 years, and voted one of the top 100 bars in the country, they serve up some of the best whiskies in town. You can order up everything from American whiskey to Indian whiskey to Japanese whiskey. Phil is happy to serve you and have one for himself too.
3172 Los Feliz Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90039
Also owned by the 1933 Group, this bar is a wilderness haven and perfect for outdoor enthusiasts who love a good drink. Welcoming you with Smokey the Bear and offering a woodsy ambience, charming taxidermy, and an outdoor patio, Bigfoot Lodge offers a whiskey menu which highlights craft whiskeys found west of the Mississippi, and introduces a cocktail collection crafted by mixologist Brandon Burkart. The Western whiskey-focused drink list features more than 20 unique, small batch whiskeys, ryes and bourbons from Oregon, Utah, Colorado, Washington, Iowa, and California. Swing by this East Side spot (or sister, Bigfoot West) to try some whiskies and join in nightly activities such as bingo, trivia, and karaoke.