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Best Spots For Craft Cocktails And Beer In The Valley

(credit: Alen Lin/Bow & Truss)

Los Angeles has established itself as a heavy hitter in the cocktail culture scene. Craft elements such as rare spirits, complex infusions and time-intensive preparation have elevated the act of going out for a drink into a multi-sensory experience.
Mixologists have shown love for Valley dwellers with the emergence of cocktail programs that have put 818 on the map. The verdict is out: Yes, you can enjoy a seasonal cocktail or a nice craft beer without going over the hill.

black market drink
Market fresh cocktail - Rhum clement premiere canne, white cacao, lemon, lime, orgeat and cilantro blossoms. (credit:

Black Market Liquor Bar
11915 Ventura Blvd.
Studio City, CA 91604
(818) 446-2533

Despite the absence of a sign, patrons seem to have no trouble finding their way to this Valley gem. Special libations tend to have that effect on folks. Black Market's cocktail program is under the direction of mixologists Pablo Moix and Steve Livigni. The duo played critical roles in the cocktail design at highly regarded bars such as Harvard & Stone, Pour Vous and La Descarga. Exhibiting the mark of a true professional, Moix and his team are always learning and evolving. Take the discovery of non-mainstream products that haven't reached the US market, such as Tapatio Tequila as an example. Through their efforts, Black Market provide guests the chance to enjoy rare and highly-coveted spirits such as "Pappy Van Winkle's Family Reserve 23yr" or Elijah Craig 18-year-old Single Barrel Bourbon, which you would otherwise have to wait until 2014 to snag a bottle during its next release. Moix visits the farmers market to find local produce and inspiration for market fresh cocktails. New creations are featured on their Twitter page to entice followers to come in and try the lovely libation of the day.

bow & truss
Pio Pico Crusta (credit:

Bow & Truss
11122 Magnolia Blvd.
North Hollywood, CA 91601
(818) 985-8787

You won't find the usual tequila-based suspects at this Latin-influenced restaurant. What you will discover is the only bar program in the city that focuses on sherry. Marcus Tello and Aidan Demarest, the cocktail gurus behind Neat, Seven Grand Whiskey Bar, The Varnish and others, chose the road less traveled when they selected this under-appreciated Spanish wine as the base ingredient in their signature cocktails. Each handcrafted creation pays homage to Spanish influence through its ingredients as well as its connection to the history of the valley in its menu description. Take the DeCelis Daiquiri, a drink made with Medium Sherry that pays tribute to the DeCelis, a family that owned a major share of the valley for over 30 years in the 1800s. Morgan Margolis, owner of Bow & Truss says, "Our team felt that NoHo was an untapped market, and the time was ripe to offer up a quality drink list that will hopefully be a game changer in the Valley." Take a seat at the striking, back-lit bar inside or lounge on the expansive outdoor patio as you enjoy a sherry cocktail sure to go down in history as one of the best you've experienced.

The studious feel of the restaurant's interior (credit:

The Village
12345 Ventura Blvd.
Studio City, CA 91604
(818) 752-9222

Mixologists and Sherman Oaks locals Randy Evans and Ron Patric tailored the cocktail menu around American Authors, a suitable choice that goes with the design of the restaurant's library lounge. The menu offers a nice range of flavor profiles. Those looking to whet their whistle with a savory pick should try the Booker and Bacon. Named after Booker T. Washington, an author who wrote more than 14 books that contributed to the rise of the Civil Rights Movement, this drink is made with bourbon, black walnut bitters, caramel and bacon. If a refreshing fruit cocktail strikes your fancy, there is the Honey Child, inspired by chef and author Julia Child. At 1,200 square feet, the Village's outdoor lounge is the largest on Ventura Boulevard, complete with an industrial chic retractable roof and stringed lights that make it the perfect spot for evening catch up sessions.

Locals enjoying beer at Laurel Tavern (credit:

Laurel Tavern
11938 Ventura Blvd.
Studio City, CA 91604
(818) 506-0777

For imbibers who prefer craft suds in a frosty mug over fancy cocktails, this local haunt is a favorite spot for just that. Christina Perozzi, who was voted "Best Beer Sommelier in Los Angeles" by Los Angeles Magazine, helped curate the original selection when the bar debuted. Knowledgeable barkeeps are at your service with a selection of 16 reasonably-priced craft and artisanal domestic beers on tap. Current offerings include Craftsman 1903 Prohibition Lager from Pasadena and the Shmaltz Coney Island Lager from San Francisco.


Federal Bar
5303 Lankershim Blvd.
North Hollywood, CA 91601
(818) 980-2555

People come here to relax and enjoy a craft beer in an actual former bank from 1926. This prohibition-style gastropub is the older, casual brother from another mother to Bow & Truss. It was the first project brought to the neighborhood by owner Morgan Margolis. Federal Bar offers more than 20 domestic tap craft beers, including seasonal varieties and a selection of fine whiskeys. Federal Bar offers draught beer flight tasters, allowing patrons to sample four 5-ounce glasses to help guests find their favorites. They also feature an adult version of the root beer float (minus the root). A handful of choices include the Sea Dog Blueberry Ale topped with vanilla ice cream. Dessert in a cup just got better.

Joy Bitonio has the phrase "Joy de Vivre" tattooed on her shoulder, a reminder to enjoy life every single day. She has a voracious appetite for fun, adventure, food, good cocktails and works out like a madwoman to keep it all together. Her fitness articles can be found on Follow her on Twitter.
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