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Are there any outstanding bars in SO CAL?

I am hoping that you fellow chowhounds can help me with this answer. My SO and I are looking for a good bar. When we mean a good bar we mean a bar with a high range of Scotch, Tequila, Rum, etc. We have been spoiled by going to several Scotch, Tequila and Rum tastings at private events and now we would like to try more without having to purchase an entire bottle and realizing we don't like it. We also would like to have a nice place to take "out of towners" for a drink and munchies. It does not have to be a restaurant/bar it can be just a bar. Any suggestions?

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  1. Before suggestions, I have questions. What part of town are you looking for, or do you frequent? Also, are you considering Tequila is this line up of liquors, .......never mind, I see you did mention tequila.

    Well, i haven't been yet, but Rivera downtown is supposed to have a killer line up of Tequilas with tastings. Let us know if you try it.

    Otherwise, I'm sure many CHers can rec many bars - I tend to stick to either wine or vodka myself.

    1. It doesn't matter what part of town, it would be nice though if it were close to the Pasadena area since we live very close to there...We are willing to drive, but I guess not too far, since we don't want to drink and drive...Thanks for the help....

      1. Rivera is a great suggestion. There's Seven Grand for whiskey:

        The Daily Pint in Santa Monica has a great scotch selection, but it's definitely nothing fancy in terms of atmosphere.

        1 Reply
        1. re: mollyomormon

          GREAT suggestion "mollyomormon" of The Daily Pint!
          Happen to be out on the Westside for some other business last Sunday and decided to hit up "The Daily Pint" - you are right it's nothing fancy - it's a dive bar - but the scotch selection was well worth the trip! MY SO and I shared 3 different types and had a wonderful afternoon of reading all the brands of Scotch....Thanks again - we'll definitely be back there!

        2. Pasadena's tough, but what about the bars at the Smith Brothers' restaurants--especially Parkway Grill and Arroyo Chophouse, but possibly Smitty's as well? Beautiful spaces, high-end liquors. We've had some decent single malts, haven't explored their range of other stuff. And although I've only been to Madeleine's once, I seem to remember the bar was pretty good. Another place we've been meaning to try just for tequila is El Cholo on S. Fair Oaks, they have a good selection. I'll be eagerly awaiting more posts on this subject (especially in the Pasadena area) as well!

          1. More suggestions please. We are mostly interested in areas surrounding the 210 freeway, possibly into Burbank, Silver Lake, La Canada, even downtown LA. We are fans of single malt Scotch (sick of only being able to find Jameson and Johnny Walker), Venezuelan Rums, High End Tequila's (sick of finding Patron as only the top shelf Tequila), Port, as well as a good wine list. We don't expect to find it all in one place, but we would like to know a selection of places that we can frequent that carry these fine spirits. Is there a website that can tell us where to go?

            3 Replies
            1. re: truetraveler

              Head down to La Huasteca in Lynwood, they've got a very nice range of tequilas and you can have some very, very good Mexican food with it, leagues beyond just rice and beans combo plates.

              I despise Scotch and am not a rum connoisseur, so I cannot help you there, sorry.

              With any luck streetgourmetla will check in on this thread -- that man knows his tequila.

              1. re: truetraveler

                Actually downtown LA is serviceable for quite a few things you're looking for.

                Scotchs: Edison, Seven Grand
                Tequilas: Rivera, Provecho (also Malo in Silver Lake)
                Rums: Trader Vic's (no, you aren't obliged to order it in a tiki drink - however, the staff may not be that knowledgable.)

                There are quite a few LA based cocktail bloggers too, including Sloshed!, Rumdood and Liquid Muse, who can help you locate the best local bars stocking what you're looking for.

                Happy spirits hunting!


                1. re: AquaW

                  Thanks "AquaW" for the information!
                  Will report on all the places that we try....

              2. El Carmen is a cool spot. It's a drive though. They specialize in tequilas and have a very good selection.

                8138 W 3rd St
                Los Angeles, CA 90048
                (323) 852-1552


                1 Reply
                1. re: Pinkfoodie10

                  Good suggestion! Great Mexican wrestler paintings and masks in the place.

                2. Jonathan Gold recently published an article that will keep you busy for a while:


                  In addition to these, for a fantastic tequila selection, go to Malo in Silverlake: http://www.malorestaurant.com/

                  And while you're in the area, you can stop by Barkeeper to pick up new glassware to go with the liquors you'll be buying: http://www.barkeepersilverlake.com


                  1. Monty's Steakhouse in Woodland Hills. Great Bar and if you go at cocktail time plenty of free passed appetizers.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Hughlipton

                      Thanks for the added suggestions...will check them all out! Went to El Cholo's and found a great selection of Tequila...will head out for the other places for Scotch and Rum!
                      Please feel free to give us further guidance on other bars that provide the higher end of Spirits....we love trying out places...
                      We'll be waiting for your suggestions...

                      1. re: truetraveler

                        Uff da.

                        You may have found good tequila selection (I don't know offhand) but I can almost guarantee you didn't find good food selection... bleurgh. Except the green corn tamales (are they available this time of year)?

                        1. re: Das Ubergeek

                          I've got to agree with you "Das Ubergeek" we didn't have the food when we were there, we sat at the bar and sipped the Tequila, that's the most I'll do there. Didn't even look at the menu so couldn't tell you if the green corn tamales are available...sorry....

                    2. You might check out Magnolia on Lake St. in Pasadena. Kind of an interesting vibe and creative signature drinks menu.


                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Servorg

                        Thanks for the suggestion Servorg...may have to try it out this weekend.

                      2. Specialists:
                        Rum - ciudad
                        Tequila - Rivera (Talk to julian he's the man)
                        Whisky - 7 grand
                        great juicy/vegetably mixed drinks -copa d' oro, comme ca
                        Overall artisan liquors all of the above - varnish, hungry cat

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: peppermonkey

                          Thanks "peppermonkey"!
                          Will definitely try all the recommendations!

                        2. The association (classic cocktails)
                          Copa d Oro (all sorts of cocktails)
                          The Varnish (all sorts of cocktails) [Best place for drinks in town]

                          are all also fantastic places.

                          Ammo in Hollywood had a tequilla tasting event that I heard was great.

                          Bazaar is probably overkill, but they make ridiculous drinks there.

                          I have to second Rivera. The place is amazing for drinks! Provecho is good too, but go to Rivera first.

                          Even GRand also does a great job with scotch/wiskey. I love their sazeracs and rye old fashioned drinks.

                          Edison is great too as others suggested.

                          Most of these places are downtown and really close.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: jlrobe

                            Thanks jlrobe - will definitely try out your suggestions as well...just trying to find the time...

                          2. It *IS* a chain, but the bar at Pasadena's McCormick & Schmick's is a very good one. One of the few I've found that carry Hendrick's gin as a matter of course. My classic martini and Mrs. O's sidecar were the best we've been served, at least since Cinnabar (sob!) went out of business. The bar at Stoney Point (on Colorado west of the arroyo) was where my in-laws migrated after The Chronicle shut down, because that's where the bartender went; it was really good last time I was there, but that was five years ago. Still popular, though, judging from the parking lot.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Will Owen

                              Hi there Will!
                              Thanks for the suggestions - didn't even think about Pasadena's Mccormick & Schmick's because it is a chain...will have to check it out.
                              I've never been to Stoney Point, will check that one out as well - how's the food there?

                              1. re: truetraveler

                                Expensive, I think - beyond that, I don't know. The folks used to treat us to an occasional meal at the Chronicle, but never here, a sure sign to me of food that's either overpriced or inadequate. Or it could be that it was just not to Papa's liking, slanting Italian rather than French.