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First drink

The kid turned 21. Where shoud we take him for his first official parentally-sponsored drink? Assume he is familiar with all manner of vile college booze constructions--how can we set him right? Where is a good bartender in a bar that isn't so trendy that the kid wouldn't be ashamed to be seen with his parental units? Would prefer not to dig into the tuition fund to pay at a hotel bar, but still want it to have some class. Thinking a good sazerac or single malt scotch, or a classic martini.

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  1. I recently took my 22 year old nephew to Wellesbourne on Pico in West LA and he really liked it. It has a library-living room feel, the music isn't super loud and the drinks are good (but to be honest, I wasn't that adventurous in what I ordered). Granted, I've never been there on a night when it is packed, so maybe that changes the vibe.

    1. It depends on what part of town?

      The places that come to mind right away are Musso Frank, Hungry Cat, Tavern, Seven Grand, Tasting Kitchen, Bandera -- these all have excellent bartenders and are cool enough for the kid to hang with his parents.

      1 Reply
      1. re: yogachik

        Hungry Cat will make something unforgettable. I am a lot older than 21 and I had a drink at Hungry Cat in Santa Monica Canyon , recently, that I am still dreaming about. It was a special cocktail that night. Tequila with a couple of very fresh juices (pomegranate and lime) and one other ingredient. Damn, it was good and I am not normally a tequila drinker. Definitely not even close to being a Margarita.

        The Hungry Cat
        100 W Channel Rd, Santa Monica, CA 90402

        1. A perfect martini at Musso and Frank!

          1. I had my first legal drink at The Room in Hollywood. After watching Swingers, I appreciated it more for the "speakeasy" vibe. I say, take him for a drink at the Dresden with Marty and Elaine. The retro dining area is kind of cool, even though the food is meh. Single Malt Scotch would be good. They have old school bartenders at the Dresden and a nice mix of people so you won't be weird taking him there.

            Another option is the Edison downtown. They have an extensive drink menu (and dress code) and is a really really cool space. Wednesday and/or Thursday they have some Vaudeville type acts.

            1. Father's Office in culver city makes some nice classic cocktails with a small but well curated selection liquors. I love their Martini (Gin and Lillet IIRC).

              Father's Office
              1018 Montana Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90403

              1 Reply
              1. re: AAQjr

                Bar Marmont, can be fun for a variety of ages and I had a really nice well balanced Sazerac there yesterday.

                Bar Marmont
                8171 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90046

              2. Providence the bar.
                It's Especially if your going for a drink or 2.
                My last visit it took the preparation and inspection of 5 shiso leafs for my cocktail which only had 2.
                The bar is very meticulous and it was a piece of art.
                It's quite enough where you can talk and chic enough for a 21 yr old.
                I find it a special little secret as most people go for dinner.
                Was my 2nd B-day visit for a drink.

                2 Replies
                1. re: johnnyshungry

                  Are you talking about Providence on Melrose?
                  if yes, never knew about the bar..you can just walk in for the bar? no need to order food? do you still need to be dressed well just for the bar?

                  1. re: samtron608

                    Ye that is what I'm talking about.
                    Dress is casual I've always gone in typical L.A. style "business casual" Jeans and a Shirt.
                    No need to order food but I'm a sucker for oysters

                2. While it might smack some as being too trendy (Silverlake locale; live music; same folks who brought us "Bigfoot Lodge"), I recommend the Thirsty Crow. I've been on several occasions and, ancient as I am, never felt out of place. They're focus is primarily on Whiskeys, Bourbons, and Scotch - though they do host an "Absinthe Minded Tuesday" - and they have a Bourbon Education program (Sundays, I think). Had a great Sazerac there when they first opened and their Old Fashioned is very proper.

                  1. The Varnish (inside and in the back of Cole's in downtown). Beautifully made classic drinks. You might want to go early-ish to avoid a full house. There are booths, so your son can kind of hide, if necessary to him.

                    Also as mentioned above, a drink at the bar of Providence is a complete class act.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: pley

                      second The Varnish.
                      In the area also: Seven Grand for whiskey, the bar at Water Grill for classic, Villians Tavern for a grungier vibe, but still quality cocktails, or the revolving bar at the top of the Bonaventure for the view.

                      Water Grill
                      544 South Grand, Los Angeles, CA 90071

                    2. Seven-Grand: awesome Scotch bar. you cant go wrong there for a legit glass of scotch.

                      get an Old Fashioned (use a lower end scotch like J Walker Red). They make the best old fashioned in all of LA.
                      Then get a nice glass of sctoch served neat. Their Scotch list is impressive.

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: samtron608

                        oh..just realized you stated the bar needs to be a place where the kid wont be ashamed to be in there with parents...well, then....get to these places when they open. any of these places after 10 becomes a hangout for the twenty to thirty crowds.
                        so best bets might be bars at restuarants as some have suggested. Here are my favorite restuarant bars:
                        Tasting Kitchen

                        Tasting Kitchen
                        1633 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90291

                        9575 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90035

                        1. re: samtron608

                          So is Seven-Grand out of the parental unit age range?

                          1. re: coffeebrownies

                            i would say so...unless you get there right when they open and have drink before the "young" crowd starts flowing in. it will get super crowded and you might feel out of place.

                            1. re: samtron608

                              I disagree. Seven Grand is good for all ages. I'm assuming you're not taking your son there at midnight on a Saturday, in which case, there will be a line of people prob younger than you. The bouncer (yes true) will check your id regardless. But, again, Seven Grand is good for all ages.

                              Now, Las Perlas (across from Cole's). that is more a young place.

                              Las Perlas
                              107 E 6th St, Los Angeles, CA 90013

                              1. re: pley

                                you are right..for some reason i was thinking of Friday-Sat nights. hahah
                                ya, Sun-Thursday should be okay.

                                1. re: pley

                                  I love to get carded! And for the record, the kid, who is bearded and balding, did not get carded until we told the waitress it was his 21st birthday.

                        2. Thanks all. The Varnish was on our mind, but we ended up being so exhausted that we dragged ourselves to the Whisper Lounge. They made us sazeracs - not on their cocktail menu but didn't quite transport me to my NOLA days. Overall, it was pretty sedate. I think we owe him a do-over.

                          The Whisper Lounge Restaurant
                          189 The Grove Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90036

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: coffeebrownies

                            Oh, just saw this. Congrats on getting him that first drink, very cool of you.

                            1. re: coffeebrownies

                              Tiki Ti :)

                              cant beat well made tiki drinks

                              Tiki Ti
                              4427 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027

                            2. my daughter turned 21 this week.
                              so far, we've taken her to THE TRIPEL (a gastropub in Playa del Rey where the bartendress, Tamara will take her under her wing to teach her about brewskis)
                              Kay and Daves in Culver City to taste a margarita made with REAL. non-pasteurized lime juice, and Fig to partake of Italian wine.

                              guess by the end of he weekend we'll have made an alcoholic out of her. . . .

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: westsidegal

                                it looks like she won't be a run-of-the-mill alcoholic; maybe just a wino (the most expensive type--if you doubt this keep an eye on the wine chowhound board. it starts with reasonably priced wines, then gets out of hand and it's a slippery slope/gateway to buying your own electrified wine refrigerator and buying only certain vintages made by specific vintners. each to be consumed in it's special type of expensive, fragile, glass)
                                what have we wrought?!?