Where to Grab a Drink This Summer: 7 New L.A. Hotspots
From a downtown arcade bar to a Silver Lake pop-up, these locations are cooling things down with snow cones, updated micheladas and shandys.
L.A.'s mixology revolution long since has rendered tiny umbrellas and pineapple wedges passé in the summer-swig sweepstakes. Now the competitive cocktailers at the city's newest hotspots are stocking up on stuff like flowering shallots, lemon balm, dry-harvested Blenheim apricots, shiso leaf and lovage (it's an herb of the carrot family, by the way) for a proper intoxicant.
"When you start hitting June and July, there's nothing comparable to the produce options here in Southern California," says top mixologist Matthew Biancaniello, who developed the drinks menu at two additions to the scene, the lobby bar at Pot restaurant and a pop-up at Silver Lake's Cliff's Edge.
Cliff's Edge Pop-Up Bar
3626 Sunset Blvd., Silver Lake
Tucked inside the resto's legendary courtyard, Biancaniello's pop-up materializes every Wednesday. The drink menu changes weekly.
THE COCKTAIL Last Tango in Modena ($15), with a 25-year-old balsamic vinegar blend and CapRock organic gin garnished with St-Germain foam.
707 E. 4th Place, Downtown Arts District
The modern-day arcade hall, where Skrillex did a surprise DJ set, has more than 40 video games -- remember Frogger and Pac-Man? -- and pinball, plus a full bar for grown-up fun.
THE COCKTAIL The Dude ($12), a cream float with vodka and cold-brewed coffee.
Good Times at Davey Wayne's
1611 N. El Centro Ave., Hollywood
This '70s-themed lounge -- from Mark and Jonnie Houston of No Vacancy -- feels like a groovy house party with hammocks on the patio. Robert Pattinson has dropped by.
THE COCKTAIL An old-school snow cone ($6) with choice of spirit and housemade fruit syrups.
7321 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood
The team behind Thirsty Crow and Sassafras bring a vintage look to this spot where Dushan Zaric of New York City's Employees Only has curated a menu of reimagined classics like a G&T, with Beefeater 24 gin and house-made tonic served in a bottle.
THE COCKTAIL The Shandy Koufax ($14) with Cana Brava rum, Amaro Meletti, pineapple gomme, lemon, California IPA and Angostura bitters.
Pot Lobby Bar
3515 Wilshire Blvd., Koreatown
The inventive cocktails by Biancaniello at the bar inside the new Line Hotel are just as fun and bold as Roy Choi's cooking at hot-pot-centric Pot restaurant.
THE COCKTAIL The Soju ($13) flavored with tequila, cumin and nori seaweed.
8440 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood
Sunset Strip's Skybar has expanded with a Baja-inspired bar where Joe Jonas, Alex Pettyfer and Lucy Hale have enjoyed alfresco drinks with a view.
THE COCKTAIL The Big Meech michelada ($16) with locally made spicy pepper sauce, lemon juice and Modelo beer, served in a chili-salt-rimmed glass.
14633 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks
The speakeasy pays tribute to glam-rock glory with David Bowie, Iggy Pop and Lou Reed on the playlist and photos of Johnny Ramone and Patti Smith. Punch-bowl drinks make for an all-night party.
THE COCKTAIL New Orleans-style hurricane ($11) of triple rum, passion fruit, orange, lime and grenadine, served in a Collins glass with a brandied cherry.