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The Bloody to beat all Bloodies- in search of the best Bloody Mary

Oh boy, do I ever love a bloody mary. Better than coffee on a lazy, hot Sunday afternoon is a tall glass, glistening with condensation, rimmed with some seasoning or other, and looking like an entire garden's bounty has been pickled and artfully arranged on the top of my libation.
But I have yet to find a bar or restaurant that specializes in, or even takes extra care and pride in the bloody mary in LA, or even better, Westside LA (as it is a commonly accepted fact that a bloody mary tastes best between the hours of 10am to 1pm consumed within a mile or so from a large body of water).
So, in the interest of science, should we establish a criteria? Here are mine:

1. NO PREPACKAGED MIXES! My home recipe contains a minimum of 10 ingredients, and my bar's should too. Mrs T's might work for on the boat during a fishing vacation, but will not when I'm paying $9 at the bar or restaurant.
2. Garnishes. Lots. Lots of FRESH garnishes.
3. A choice of vodkas, extra points for homemade chile infusions and other creative ideas. While the taste of the vodka is masked somewhat, it still should never come from a squeezable bottle.
4. Easy access to add-ins, if needed. I like horseradish, my SO, not so much. Same goes for th Tabasco.
5. The rim. Celery Salt? Sure. Old Bay? Okay! Hot Salt? Yum. Just don't leave my poor rim bare.
6. The Glass. Tall. A pint glass is ideal.

Since I have yet to find an acceptable version, I'll open this up with the last one I had:
Venice Bistro, on the boardwalk. Good tomato flavor, nice spice. Comes with extra lime, which is nice, but nothing else besides an olive. No horseradish. No rim seasoning. And is served to me in a rocks glass. For 9 bucks. In a rocks glass. A 4 out of 10.

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  1. Have you ever tried the weekend Bloody Mary bar at the Belmont on La Cienega? Slim Jims are part of the "add-in's" that they have.

    747 N La Cienega Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90069

    1 Reply
    1. re: Servorg

      I was going to say the Belmont. 4 different mixes, a billion garnishes (celery, asparagus, shrimp, tomolives, etc etc), horseradish, celery salt, etc, etc, but c'mon! SLIM-JIMS!!! Nothing like a greasy beef-ish stick to dig out of your empty glass and consume.

    2. The Hungry Cat. www.thehungrycat.com

      On the brunch menu:

      traditional or spicy bloody mary

      w/egorushka vodka


      tradicional bloody maria

      w/orendain reposado tequila


      schnöckered bloody mary

      plymouth gin & house-pickled vegetables


      the “matchbox”

      our traditional w/a shorty of beer


      maryland mary

      our traditional bloody mary rimmed with

      maryland spice mix & served with an oyster


      bloody bull

      blue ice vodka, bloody mary mix & beef bouillon


      1. Not in LA proper but if you are truly on a quest, it may be worth your while:

        The bloody mary at Ramos House Cafe, mere steps from the San Juan Capistrano train depot, is their signature dish and IMHO is excellent. It has fresh garnishes galore, is super-tasty-spicy and is served in a tall glass (IIRC it's sort of a tulip-shaped thing). Enjoy it with the smoked duck hash !

        1 Reply
        1. re: mikester

          I can heartily second this recommendation, and I suggest ordering it with their version of a scotch egg. Standard garnish is a steamed crab claw, pickled green beans, lemon/lime, and served in a mason jar. Excellent.

        2. I had an awfully good one at Little Dom's in Los Feliz. Not sure it meets ALL of your criteria,, but it not, it comes close.

          1. Anisette or any of the Houston's group restaurants (Bandera, Cafe R+D) have excellent versions. plus, the bloodys at R+D are $5 all day on the weekends. I also think the bloody mary at Comme Ca is amazing, but it's a little east of your ideal perimeter.

            2 Replies
            1. re: mollyomormon

              I love the variety of Bloody Mary's at Anisette - I believe there are 6 different versions. They're all great.

              Didn't know about R+D $5 all day - that mean all night, too?

              1. re: yogachik

                I would assume it means all night too. The waitress said same deal on mimosas on the weekend, but those bloody marys are so damn good it's hard to order anything else.

            2. I had a sip of the bloody Mary at Joe's on Abbot Kinney in Venice. It was the best I've tasted in my limited experience in LA. I'm not sure it fits all the criteria, though.

              It had a nice flavor and a great spicy kick.

              1. I've had two W LA bloody marys that I've enjoyed immensely. neither meet the full criteria, but here's the rundown:

                1. The Firehouse (Rose & Main) - taste-wise, the best bloody mary I have ever had. Spicy but not too spicy, delicious horseradish and peppery bite, good tomato flavor. served in a tall glass, no rim, only olives as a garnish. But seriously, seriously delicious.

                2. Enterprise Fish Company (Pier & Nielson Way) - spices not as distinct as firehouse, but very delicious nonetheless, tall glass, can't remember if there's a rim or not, but oh lordy, the garnishes - garnished with a TALL stalk of celery with various other items toothpicked to it - basically a full salad - olives, pickled, pearled onions, pepperoncini . . . etc.

                Firehouse is $9, Enterprise is $7 if you go during happy hour (4-7 M-F, 8-10 Sun), $10 otherwise.

                I, too, am picky about my bloodys, but these are two quality drinks.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Cebca

                  Another bloody mary in the neighborhood that is good (don't know about the best) is at Rick's (Tavern?).

                  1. re: Grillz

                    Ooh, that is very close indeed, I will have to check it out. Any details?

                2. Thanks for all the info!
                  I think the Belmont is #1 on the list to try, followed closely by Morels. Probably have to try the Firehouse just because I can walk there (though I have been warned about the food).
                  Think I have a Slim Jim craving beginning...

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: jdwdeville

                    the belmont is cool since you can mix to your own liking, but the veg were all dried out and sad looking. the various cheese-stuffed olives are fun though. they needed more pickled stuff for sure.

                    1. re: tastycakes

                      How is the actual bloody mary mix there? I really hate mix that tastes even remotely sweet and that's something I seem to run into repeatedly.

                      1. re: mollyomormon

                        Honestly, the Hungry Cat is NOT to be missed. Definitely the best one I've ever had. Not only do they make their own mix, but I believe they make their own tomato juice. Phenomenal!

                        1. re: mollyomormon

                          they have a variety, i only tried the spicy which has horseradish already mixed in so it didn't taste sweet

                    2. 8 oz on Melrose has an amazing Bacon Bloody Mary. It's made with their house-made bacon-infused vodka, is perfectly spiced and is garnished with a slice of crisp, lean bacon among other things. Simply addictive.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: jglass54

                        Totally going to try that this wekend.

                        1. re: jglass54

                          ?Bacon Vodka?!!? I pretty much think that one wins my #3 criteria. oh yes, it does.

                        2. The Blvd (which is the lobby restaurant at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel) serves an excellent Bloody Mary. I don't remember if it meets all of your criteria, but I thought it was great, and I'm sure they would accommodate your "special needs." :) Even better if you order the lobster eggs benedict to go with it....

                          1. I met a friend at the Hollywood Farmers Market one Sunday a few weeks back and after we stumbled into this little place tucked behind the market on the West side of Ivar, close to Sunset. It's a little compound housing an Urban Outfitters. Inside near the back on the left was a little place w/ a popcorn machine at the front counter. The place smelled a little too much of caramel corn so we sat outside. We had the MOST AMAZING bloody's I think I've ever had - house made with substance and great flavor. And the fries were divine - they use a little malt vinegar on them. Sorry I can't remember the name!

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: cinzia

                              I think it's called Snack (?) or something kind of like that.

                              1. re: schrutefarms

                                I think you're right, thanks. It was early on a Sunday, what can I say? The bloody and a bacon/feta/avocado sammie w/ the fries - tasty. Though the sammy needed a little something so I added the sliced radishes to it.

                                1. re: schrutefarms

                                  It was bugging me, so I googled it. Snackbar.

                                    1. re: schrutefarms

                                      yeah, was at the h'wood market on sunday, peeked over and thought of you! thanks for updating! seriously good bloody mary & fries!

                                2. Went to 8 oz today for the bacon Bloody Mary. Deeeeee-lish!! My friend thought the pickle that came in it was weird (kind of a sweet/sour hybrid) but I loved it. Totally recommend it. Also had the devilied eggs, very very very yummy. Most of my friends thought their burger was "ehh" to "good-but not the best". Everyone loved the truffled potato skins. And the little corndogs are great-but beware of the "purple mustard". Stupid me thought it was just dyed for fun, so I put a big dallop on the dog, and almost died when it turned out to be horseradish mustard. (And I hate horseradish and anything spicy).

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: schrutefarms

                                    "(And I hate horseradish and anything spicy)."

                                    Doesn't that take away some of your enjoyment of Bloody Mary's?

                                    1. re: Servorg

                                      Nope! I just get them not spicy! I don't mind if they have a little kick, but when it's painful? No thanks.

                                  2. Keying on the large body of water criterion, and leaving metro LA, Sharkies on the Newport Beach pier Sunday mornings, make your own bloody bar. Bestest.

                                    1. Tiki Tis on Sunset in Los Feliz has AMAZING Bloody Marys. The bar has weird hours though, so be sure to check their website before you drive over to the Eastside.

                                      1. How about a Bloody Caesar for God's sake?? Ordering that in this town is like asking for a rod of plutonium. They sell the caesar mix at Ralphs, so it can't be that obscure. It's time people here caught on to this -- it tastes way better than a regular bloody IMO. Tangier, sweeter...

                                        Am I the only transplanted Candian here??

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: arisp

                                          Do tell... what is a bloody Caesar?

                                            1. re: schrutefarms

                                              Good to know since I don't eat (or drink!) seafood.

                                        2. As an aside, I think I found a winner in the "Weirdest Mix" category in San Diego this past weekend. Based on 1 part GUINESS (seriously) and 3 parts red and green SALSA from a mexican place next to the bar (no, seriously!), worchestershire and Skyy Vodka. Weird. Not bad, but weird.
                                          Top that one!

                                          1. AND THE WINNER IS....
                                            Belmont Bloody Bar, by a frickin landslide.
                                            if you can't find bloody perfection (which we couldn't), bloody well make it yourself! bonus points for a variety of glass rimming seasonings, olives stuffed with feta, bleu, garlic, chiptle, jalepeno, the kitchen sink; slim jims AND jerky, A1, clam juice (how do you like that, canadians?), peperoncini, garlic, salsa, green salsa, horseradish AND wasabi, sundried tomato, roasted red peppers, etc, etc, etc.
                                            i don't even have some of these things in my home bloody bar. cool.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: jdwdeville

                                              Don't forget the tomolives-that and the Slim-Jim are my favorite!!

                                              1. re: jdwdeville

                                                Thanks for the "return" report, jd. My wife love's their Bloody Mary bar (maybe a tad too much!) and I am the designated driver every time we go.