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Bar Jackalope

Critics' pick
1/9
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman
Suntory Hakushu 12-year at Bar Jackalope
2/9
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman
Bar Jackalope
3/9
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman
Tokyo Highball at Bar Jackalope
4/9
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman
Snifter flight at Bar Jackalope
5/9
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman
Pappy Van Winkle at Bar Jackalope
6/9
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman
Bar Jackalope
7/9
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman
Bar Jackalope
8/9
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman
Bar Jackalope
9/9
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman
Bar Jackalope
Downtown

The entrance to this taxidermy-peppered saloon is tucked inside a converted back room of Cedd Moses' Seven Grand downtown. Press the call button and an unmarked door inches open just wide enough to allow an impeccably dressed host to signal patrons inside. What awaits is a whiskey lover's dream. Sip from a collection of 120 Scotch and Japanese whiskies, American ryes and bourbons—many extremely rare, like cult favorite Pappy Van Winkle 15-year, or try one of three cocktails stirred to perfection, including the Tokyo Highball ($14) made with Suntory Hakushu 12-year. There is no room for standing (it's also not allowed) in this 18-seat cloak-and-dagger barroom. The look is morose and manly, with furnishings that include jackalope heads, a working antique gramophone and mahogany whiskey lockers ($250 for the big spenders). A well-informed staff is eager to talk both connoisseur and novice through the carefully curated menu; the service alone is well worth the effort of securing a seat.

Vitals

Good for: Between the whiskey selection and the cigar-friendly patio, Jackalope makes for a perfect guys' night out. But that doesn't mean women won't also find the drinking den promising. There's really no better watering hole to get a proper education on whiskey. At the very least, come to watch some skilled bartenders carve crystal-clear ice spheres for Jackalope's signature Old Fashioned, which happens to be one of the best (and biggest) in the city.

The scene: Whiskey is king, so you'll find some real savants here—like the group of well-dressed, middle-aged men huddled in the corner around a collection of fancy looking bottles. As strict as Jackalope is about reservations and seating, the atmosphere is warm and accommodating. The dim lighting and intimate space bodes well for booze-loving couples sharing and discussing flights. Occasionally, curious Seven Grand whiskey-seekers meander inside. The close quarters make fast friends out of a diverse clientele—no time for hoity-toity airs here.

The playlist: The centerpiece of Jackalope, an old gramophone, spins sexy jazz tunes from the likes of John Coltrane, Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillespie, permeating the space with a free and easy vibe that's perfect for kicking back and drinking some (very good) whiskey.

The bartender says: The staff doesn't expect guests to be specialists; in fact, they're hoping to teach you a little something. And if you are too afraid to ask, just grab a book from the "library" at the center of the room.

Drink this: Small snifter flights are the way to go. Compare the bold and brave (and also extremely hard to come by) Pappy Van Winkle 15-year ($16) to the golden, smooth and caramely Hakushu 12-year Single Malt ($5). And if you opt for a cocktail, the Old Fashioned ($15) is the way to go. It's crafted in a German iceberg glass, which serves double the size of an Old Fashioned outside at Seven Grand. What's more, the ice spheres here are hand carved right before your eyes. You won't find a single imperfection.

Venue name: Bar Jackalope
Contact:
Address: 515 W 7th St
Los Angeles

Opening hours: Sun-Thu 8pm-2am
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