Where in LA can you find a designer craft cocktail? Look no further than our top 5 picks for the best mixology bars in the City of Angels.
Bar Centro at The Bazaar by José Andrés
Everything about Bar Centro is a bit surreal, not the least of which is You'll be blown away by the cocktails at Bar Centro, the stand-alone bar inside The Bazaar by José Andrés. It is the first lounge in LA to feature liquid nitrogen, which is perfectly executed in “Smoke on the Water”, a libation made of blackberries, atomized Islay Scotch, liquid orange and a flaming orange peel. You also MUST try the “New Way” Dirty Martini, which is a new take on an old classic with olive spherification and olive brine air.
As soon as you step into The Edison, a light bulb should go off in your head. Why haven’t you been here yet? The downtown lounge now rests has turned a historic spot – LA’s first private power plant – into a dramatic Industrial Gothic meets Modern Nouveau space. Luckily, you’ll adore the beverages just as much as the location and The Edison’s ingenuity. Be sure to order “The Happy Herbie”, a blend of Templeton “rye” whiskey and baked apple bitters named after Disney Imagineer Herbert “Herbie” Ryman. Not only does it taste like apple pie, but proceeds from each drink purchased will benefit the Ryan Foundation, which is dedication to the traditions of “Adventure, Exuberance and Innovation.”
The Varnish has won an AIA/LA Restaurant Design Award for its haute interior, and it’s received just as many accolades for its daring designer drink menu. Eric Alperin and Sasha Petraske opened this downtown haunt just over three years ago and it still constantly manages to exceed expectations. While you’re checking out the booths made of vintage New Orleans trolley cars in this haute downtown haunt, give your bartender the base alcohol you want and let him make his magic.
There can be no dispute: the cocktail menu of Hollywood's recently opened Acabar is cool. The libations are listed by historical era, so expect to find drinks served ranging from 1793 to the present. Warning: its post-Prohibition period Zombie -- Jamaican Rum, Puerto Rican Rum, Lemon-Hart 151, lime, Don’s Mix and Falernum -- is so strong the powers-that-be will cap your drinks at a max of two per person.
Though Rivera specializes in Spanish tapas, don't expect to find simply tequila on its menu, especially as master mixologist Julian Cox is running the show here. Cox's "artisan-to-glass" menu specializes in fresh produce, herbs and uses custom cubes from Névé Luxury Ice Company, which minimize dilution and safeguard flavor by specializing in slow-melting ice formed from the purest water sources on earth. We recommend the Pistachio Negroni -- pistachio gin, campari and Spanish red vermouth -- for its diversity.