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L.A. Bartender Wonders 'Where is the Love?' For Exceptional Local Cocktails

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A cocktail from Rush Street (Caroline on Crack/LAist)
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Los Angeles has a rich history of being a leader in the national cocktail scene, from old Hollywood speakeasies to today's rum bar (and whiskey bar, and tequila bar) revivals. But according to an article at Shake Stir by Lindsay Nader, a heralded local bartender, the spirits of the city still aren't getting the recognition they deserve.

"...when it comes to recognition for its contemporary achievements, why is Los Angeles not given its due?", she writes. "The movement is spinning, oh yes, and spreading, but none of the newbies now carrying the torch are getting high-fived. And they should be."

Nader, an L.A. native, currently works at Hollywood whiskey bar Harvard and Stone. She lists her own bar as well as The Edison, Cana Rum Bar and Picca as necessary stops for the local cocktail aficionado.

But more than providing a list of good local bars (although it is a list worth reading), Nader calls out the cocktail and restaurant industries for not giving L.A. enough credit. Like certain other fields (hi, art), the world of spirits seems to not see too far beyond the borders of New York. Recent nominations for Tales of the Cocktail, she points out, only recognized about three heavy-hitting L.A. bars. There was no love for the inimitable La Descarga, she says, and not even for The Edison, which has become a veritable institution.

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Nader notes that L.A. isn't alone in being ignored; few other cities see the kind of repetitive honors that New York bars receive over and over again. Not that there's anything wrong with New York bars, she says -- it's just that it might be time to make a little room for the new.