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New Downtown Beer Hall Serves Craft Beer And Modern Comfort Food

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Downtown L.A. has a new bar where you can sample from a sizable list of craft brews and dine on hearty comfort foods. Barrel Down is a comfortable and casual beer hall in the Financial District located on the same block as Bottega Louie, Seven Grand and BS Taqueria. The high ceilings, long slate bar, concrete floors and exposed brick give it a polished, industrial feel. Their menu borrows from Southern classics and comfort foods, but the real draw here is the beer.

They have a list of beers that are always on tap, plus a rotating selection of unique craft brews, that adds up to about 40 different beers. You can order a full pint, or you can get a small 8 ounce pour. The small size means you can sample multiple beers without breaking your budget or staggering out the door. Many of the beers are from California, but you'll likely spot a few from other big beer states like Colorado, Michigan and Oregon.

It's a diverse list, with plenty of porters and stouts alongside the hoppy beers. We tried the Mother Earth Kismet, an American IPA, and the Belching Beaver Peanut Butter Milk Stout on nitro, both from Vista, CA, as well as the Ballast Point Grapefruit Sculpin from San Diego. These beers range from $3-6 for a half and $6-12 for a full. They also serve large craft bottles, perfect for splitting, as well as $4 Olympia, Miller High Life and PBR, affectionately listed under "Dad's Fridge" on the menu.

The bar also has a list of wine, plus some craft cocktails. Our favorite was the Peaches & Rye, made with Goldminer Rum, Wild Turkey Rye, honey wheat syrup and peach preserves ($12).
The menu comes from Chef Derrick deJesus (Alma, Allumette) and offers a number of Southern-style comfort foods, as well as a few twists on pub fare. There's a selection of shareable plates, including cornbread with wildflower honey, beer dough pretzels, Korean-style wings and apple cider sprouts. We liked the BBQ Carrots: honey chili glazed heirloom carrots and whipped yogurt. They came as whole carrots—not babies!—and were a perfect mix of tangy and sweet. Entrees include light salads, hearty sandwiches and burgers, plus some seafood and a classic steak & potatoes dish. We opted for the Buttermilk Fried Chicken sandwich which consisted of spicy fried chicken on soft ciabatta bread, topped with a tangy kaleslaw, zucchini pickles and a bleu cheese vinaigrette ($13). At first bite, there's a lot going on with this sandwich, though you get used to unique blend of flavors—and if you only eat half as it's a large sandwich, it makes for an even better cold lunch the next day.

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We also tried the burger—beef, dry aged smoked white cheddar, zucchini pickles, caramelized onions, tomato and red leaf lettuce on a brioche bun ($10 for a single, $14 for a double). It's a solid bar burger and the zucchini pickles give it an added kick. They also have a shrimp sandwich with fried green tomatoes ($14) and an avocado grilled cheese ($10). For dessert, we recommend the Bourbon Street bread pudding. The bread pudding is spiked with bourbon, giving it a sharp kick that's nicely paired against the sweet chocolate, banana and brown sugar pecans.

Barrel Down also hosts happy hour Monday through Friday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. You can get select draft beers—Lagunitas Pilsner, Hess Brewing Grazias Cream Ale, Bell's Brewing Amber, Eagle Rock Solidarity Dark Mild—for $4; a ginger kombucha mule for $6; an Old-Fashioned for $8 and a carafe of wine to share for $14. You can also get a shot and a beer for $6: choose from either Three Weav3rs Seafarer Kolsh and a shot of Dos Armadillos Blanco, or Barrelhouse Brewing Rye IPA and a shot of Wild Turkey. There are also deals on food, including a few options that are not on the regular menu. These include brown bag boiled peanuts, fries with malt mayo and cauliflower popcorn for $4; house made pretzel and mustards, apple cider brussel sprouts and the BBQ carrots for $6; and Bacon & Beer Mustard Sliders, crab dip and the avocado grilled cheese for $8.

Barrel Down. 525 W. 7th Street, DTLA. (213) 989-2823. Open Mon. to Weds., 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.; Thurs. to Sun. 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.