Salvatore "The Maestro" Calabrese, a distinguished mixologist from Italy’s Amalfi Coast (by way of London) brings his mastery of champagne and cognac to the States at Mixology 101, a modern and open-air, upper-level cocktail and lite bites destination at the Original Farmers Market's Planet Dailies. Behind the bar is "conductor" Joseph Brooke, America’s Top Bartender—he won season two of the reality show—and previously at the Edison and Next Door Lounge. Together as Maestro and Conductor—the playfulness of their titles suggests a rather counterintuitive approach to LA’s cocktail scene—they aim to please everyone, even the tourist (or confused local) who asks for a blended ice drink. In fact, you’ll find Daiquiris on the menu and a cocktail program designed to assuage the drinking needs of an entire night out from pre-dinner aperitifs and celebratory champagne cocktails to classic cocktails and post-dinner digestifs.
Good for: Mingling with co-workers after a day at the office or pre-dinner drinks. Small plates like fish tacos ($10) or turkey meatballs ($8) will hold you over until a proper meal on nearby 3rd Street or Beverly Bolevard. Singles will appreciate well-positioned furniture on the patio and a communal table near the bar, making for easy socializing and the potential to end the night in not-so-single fashion.
The scene: Attractive waitresses scuttle about while post-work suits battle tourists and eager singles for their attention. Far too many TVs and views of the Groves eternally lit palm trees—a Singapore Sling or Sunburn Margarita don’t hurt either—give the impression that you're on vacation, so go easy on the drinks weeknights because you've got work the next morning.
The playlist: Live music gets loud on weeknights and DJs turn up the dance beats on weekends, though there’s no room for dancing.
The bartender says: If someone wants a slushy drink, they'll whip one up, but there's plenty of room to geek out on spirits and cocktails. If the latter appeals to you, grab a comfy cushioned seat at the sleek light wood–paneled bar and start asking questions.
Drink this: In honor of Salvatore, order the Maestro's Special Fizz ($15)—Caprinatura limoncello, lemon sorbet, fresh mint and Prosecco—and imagine you’re about to hop on a hydroplane from Amalfi to Capri. If you're looking to stay (and eat) local—we are in the Farmers Market, after all—try the Yellow Lamborghini martini ($19) made with frozen vodka, Galliano, Salvatore’s bitters and fresh yellow pepper. It’s the only yellow-colored drink we'll ever recommend. Don’t drink? Designated driver? There's also an array of non-alcoholic options.