DTLA: Bar Crawl on a Friday Night
One of the great things about holidays and big events like Coachella is how it’s so much easier to live in Los Angeles during these times. There’s less traffic and a greater chance of grabbing a seat at your favorite busy bar on weekend nights. One Friday during what is unofficially known as “Nochella,” I bounced around Downtown Los Angeles for a bar crawl.
I started out at Otium where they had launched a new cocktail list recently.
I love taro and knew I had to get El Taro featuring Otium’s barrel pick of El Tesoro tequila. This is a sour style drink (with egg white) was so good and I wanted another one right away but also wanted to try a different drink. What’s neat about El Taro is not only is there taro in the drink but the design has even more taro.
El Taro – El Tesoro reposado tequila, orgeat, egg white, lemon
Bar manager Chris Amirault suggested the Trop Top. This tropical drink is like a refined mai tai. Two themes would emerge this bar crawl; tequila/ agave and tropical. Be sure to eat the decorative candy on top!
Trop Top – aged rum, passion fruit, lime(213) 935-8500
It was Friday, the 13th and I had heard there was going to be a tarot card reader at the Freehand Hotel. I stopped into the lobby bar, Rudolph’s to get the intel. It turns out the tarot card reader was on the rooftop at the Broken Shaker bar but I still wanted to get my favorite drink at Rudolphs, the Conquita Con Matcha.
Then I headed upstairs and checked out the new cocktail list. I tried the Agave Gracias while having my cards read. The mezcal drink was good and boozy which was calming during a particularly dramatic cards reading. Also, I love amaro Braulio and was intrigued by piloncillo syrup. It’s raw Mexican sugar. You may have seen the cones at your local Mexican grocery store. I love that it’s made into a simple syrup. This is basically a mezcal old fashioned.
Agave Gracias – Ilegal mezcal, Braulio, LeJay cassis, piloncillo syrup
I headed back to the bar and tried RuPaul’s Baby. I love that everyone loves this drag show as much as I do. This is essentially a Boulevardier with a bit of the new bergamot liqueur, Italicus added in and for good measure, rhubarb cordial.
RuPaul’s Baby – Lot 40 Canadian whisky, Campari, sweet vermouth, Italicus bergamot liqueur, rhubarb cordial(213) 261-3599
After some discussion, I decided to hit up Pacific Seas, the tiki bar at Clifton’s. I haven’t been in since they first opened. And I was excited to see what bartenders Beau du Bois and Bethany Ham were up to with the rebranded Clifton’s Republic.
To gain access to Pacific Seas, get a token when you first enter Clifton’s and they’ll allow you upstairs.
I opted for a Mai Tai and this was a million times better than the drinks when Seas first opened. I’ll be back to try the rest of the drinks but in the meantime, I’m really excited for the modernist bar Shadowbox opening soon in the basement of Clifton’s.
Pacific Seas Tiki at Clifton’s Republic648 S Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90014 — (213) 627-1673
It’s not a secret that The Varnish is one of my favorite bars. I hit it up maybe once a month or every 6 weeks. They have a new cocktail list as well. I opted for Dr. Funk, a tiki drink named for a German doctor who practiced in Samoa back in the 1800s. Most likely the recipe is based on a tonic he prescribed to patients.
It’s delicious.Dr. Funk – funky rums, grenadine, absinthe, demerara, lime Varnish 118 E 6th St., Los Angeles, CA 90014 — (213) 622-9999
My last stop was Redbird, one of my favorite restaurants. They are currently running a list of derby drinks. Did you know there are more drinks other than mint juleps? I’m familiar with Preakness and Horse’s Neck but it was neat to see other horse racing inspired drinks like the White Carnation, a drink from the Belmont Stakes track until it was replaced by a drink called Belmont Breeze by Dale DeGroff (vodka instead of whiskey at a horse track makes way more sense).
And over at the Preakness track, they have a drink called the Black Eyed Susan. I figure since I had been on a tequila/ mezcal and rum run, I might as well end the evening with my fave whiskey. And the pineapple gomme helped tie in the theme.
At Redbird, the Black Eyed Susan is beautiful with a great whiskey and a very nice curacao. It was refreshing and a nice way to end the night.
I hope to make it back tomorrow for a Kentucky Derby party at Redbird. But if not, these Triple Crown cocktails will be available until July!
Black Eyed Susan – Russell’s Reserve 6-year rye whiskey, Pierre Ferrand dry curacao, pineapple gomme, lemon, Angostura bitters
114. E. 2nd St., Los Angeles — (213) 626-1507
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