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We Got Ourselves to the Garden...

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...the Beer Garden, that is. Back in June we applauded the impending summer opening of the New Otani Hotel's rooftop Beer Garden, and now that we've enjoyed some mugs of Kirin and some hibachi grilling, we're ready to laud this seasonal downtown hangout yet again. A few floors above the lobby level (not quite the roof, but a roof) is the hotel's lovely Japanese gardens, complete with waterfalls and streams, paper lanterns in bright colors, stringed lights, and modest skyscraper views through the treetops. It's rather quiet up there, and it's easy to forget that you're right on the edge of the civic center. Casual patio tables are set up, and a simple menu offers basic fare: Beer, Meat and Veggies to grill, and side dishes. We ordered a pitcher of Kirin (we hope you've gathered by now that we weren't alone!) a sampling of things to grill: Salted beef, chicken breast, shrimp, and veggies, and some rice and kimchi pickles on the side. The edamame is plentiful, and our bowl was constantly being refilled. The food appeared quickly, the grill was hot and oiled, and we set to searing our raw slices of meat and produce. Everything was quite tasty, and paired nicely with the beer, but most importantly, with the atmosphere. We were there as the sun went down on our lovely city, and we made our way (on foot!) back to the Metro Red Line station, which is just a couple of blocks up 1st street. The Beer Garden is a great place to go with a group of people, to unwind after work or to start an evening's celebration off with food and drink. We'll be sad to say sayonara to the Beer Garden when it closes down in September, but there's still plenty of time left to get us back to that garden...again!

New Otani Hotel's Beer Garden 120 South Los Angeles Street, (213) 629-1200. Open Monday-Friday evenings only, 5:30-9:00 p.m. through September 9th.