HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >


Recommendations for well-made cocktails?

  • m

Sorry if this has been covered--using 'cocktails' to search the board wasn't working for me.

I plan to visit LA in September, and I'm looking to visit some places that care about their cocktails, either in the classic sense or innovative-but-not-offensively-experimental sense. I'm not picky about whether it's a restaurant or bar, but I am picky about bartenders who know what they're doing.

To give some references (in case anyone is familiar with NYC, where I'm coming from), I'm partial to places like Pegu, Little Branch, and Death & Co.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Defintely Hungry Cat. They use fresh squeezed juices and different herbs. For the real pure classics old school the Beverly Wilshire hotel.

    1. Go see Carlos or Gunnar at The Palm in West Hollywood for the classics, although if you are coming from NY you probably have done the Palm to death already. It never gets old for me, though. Enjoy LA.

      1. The bartender at Fraiche in Culver City is great, some very interesting cocktails. Also we had good cocktails at the Avalon Hotel in Beverly Hills last weekend, although be forwarned that they were $15 each. We were actually appalled at the prices, even though the drinks were good.

        1. I have had some great "new" drinks recently at Osteria Mozza and also at Fraiche in Culver City. I had a prosecco, ginger/lemon, simple syrup concoction that the bartender said was really good, and she was right. I normally don't go for those, but it sounded good and was.

          At Fraiche, the Blood Orange Martini was fantastic, tart/sweet and worked very well with the vodka - think extra strong and tasty screwdriver - and the Leblon Mojito a little less fantastic, but definitely interesting with its lemon and herbal elements. As an aside, the first round of Leblon Mojitos didn't work completely well for us (off in proportion?), but we weren't sure because it was the first time either of us had an adulterated mojito, but when we said "eh" when asked how the drinks were, they QUICKLY gave us replacements that DID work well. I like that in a bar, espec. when drinks approach $10.

          Both places are great to visit for food and atmosphere, too.

          1. I second the Hungry Cat for their wonderful cocktails. Social Hollywood is also good but rather pricey. I just recently discovered Red Pearl where they offer my current favorite -- the Waterloo with fresh watermelon juice. Red Pearl has happy hour starting at 9pm to close Sunday to Thursday. Past my bedtime...

            1. The cocktails at the Foundry are all interesting and tasty (kind of expensive ~$12).

              1. The patio restaurant at the Chateau Marmont (not to be confused with Bar Marmont) just unveiled a classic drinks menu. Included are such rareities as a Pim's Cup, French 75 and French Martini. The drinks are excellent and hard to find at a lot of other bars. They've also got a great appetizer menu to match.

                1. Lolas on fairfax is know for their variety of Martinis.

                  1. The bartenders at The Hungry Cat are my personal favorites. Even the well drinks are made from premium liquors; they know how to make the classics and they are always trying out new ideas, buoyed by their selection of fresh herbs and citrus.

                    1. i love the cocktails at jar and chaya beverly hills.

                      1. Musso and Frank's in Hollywood for classic cocktails and benchmark martinis.

                        1. The Dive on Highland does a lot of those fresh juice cocktails, but for a few bucks less per drink. They have a tasty watermelon dealie.

                          3 Replies
                            1. re: therealbigtasty

                              The Dive on Highland has a former Hungry Cat bartender, if I recall correctly.

                              1. re: SauceSupreme

                                Not anymore, but the quality of the drinks is quite swell.

                            2. Lola's is a must for all sorts of martinis!

                              1. Hatfields. Anything they make with the Hangar One vodka is superb. http://www.hatfieldsrestaurant.com/co...

                                1. Osteria Mozza has some great bartenders. I had a textbook Negroni there, and my friend had a similarly pitch-perfect Americano. With each, the orange rind was delivered on its own small silver dish and flamed to caramlize it slightly before being run around the rim and dropped into the glass. (With my friend's Americano, she got a big fireball, giving us a bit of theater at the table.) An added bonus is Osteria Mozza's selection of aperitifs and digestifs, with both colors of Chartreuse, Aperol, Cynar, and the like, as well as extensive fortified wines and dessert wines.

                                  Lucques similarly takes their drinks very seriously, and both their traditional renditions and their house variations are stellar. I have had perfect Sidecars and Manhattans there, as well as great takes on the Negroni (with fresh-squeezed orange juice) and the Gimlet (with fresh mint and fresh lime, technically making it a Rickey).

                                  Seven Grand on Seventh Street near Grand has more serious bartenders, and their specialty is revival cocktails. Want a Mint Julep? This is the bar to find it, served with a sprig of fresh mint in a proper silver cup. (You will have to leave a credit card or ID for the cup.) Old-Fashioneds, Sazeracs, Pimm's Cups, Planter's Punch, and Ramos Fizzes are also on the menu here. If you want something simpler, just choose a whiskey from the lengthy list of bourbons, scotches, Irish, Canadian, and even Japanese whiskeys - the bartenders will work to find just the right tipple for you. The room is decorated in leather banquettes, dark plaids, and taxidermy, and the smell of a humidor is pumped into the stairwell as one walks in to set the gentleman's club mood.

                                  Pizzeria Mozza
                                  6602 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90038

                                  Seven Grand
                                  515 W 7th St, Los Angeles, CA 90014

                                  8474 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90069

                                  1. Thanks to everyone for your suggestions. Looks like being sober is out of the question...