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Neat Bar

1/8
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman
Ojai at Neat Bar
2/8
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman
Bourbon Mule at Neat Bar
3/8
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman
Monte Carlo at Neat Bar
4/8
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman
Shot of bourbon with chaser at Neat Bar
5/8
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman
Neat Bar
6/8
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman
Neat Bar
7/8
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman
Neat Bar
8/8
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman
Blueberry cacao sour at Neat Bar
Glendale

The philosophy at Neat Bar is simple: Best not to ask for a menu, because there isn't one. Just stick to a spirit and have a little faith in the bartender. As the first and only brick and mortar from noted mixologist Aiden Demarest (Seven Grand, The Spare Room), highfalutin swills aren't a priority at this laid-back Glendale dive. Here, outstanding booze is front and center—300 bottles' worth, in fact, from smoky mezcal to floral gin, served straight up with a chaser ($9-14) or stirred into a craft concoction. Find a stool, let the gentleman behind the bar pick the sweet, sour or bitter side to your poison, and soak up the mid-century surroundings. It's the type of dark and cozy bar Mad Men's Don Draper would call home. And, might we add, the drinks are stiff.

Vitals

Good for: Boning up on your command of the hard stuff. Demarest, a true spirit enthusiast, has carefully curated a long bar back of fine whiskey, rum, gin and tequila to explore alongside your choice of fresh juices, house-made syrups and artisanal sodas. It can be overwhelming, so let whoever's behind the bar guide you. For the best bang for your buck, pop in on a weekday between 4:30pm and 7:30pm when prices are slashed in half.
 
The scene: Neat's spirit-and-chaser shtick may draw in drinkers from all corners of LA, but Glendale natives still dominate the bar in the early evenings. The living room-like space—just large enough to fit 100 imbibers—offers the perfect setting for both catching up with friends and making new ones. Closing time is midnight during the week, but that's not exactly a hard stop.

The playlist: The bartender also plays DJ, so hopefully you dig his iTunes playlist. Count on a lot of indie. Rest assured, the music definitely takes a back seat to the conversation, which is necessary at a place where you're at the barkeep's every whim.

The bartender says: It seems Neat borrowed the whole no-menu concept from New York's storied drinking institution, Milk & Honey. The idea is to encourage patrons to appreciate the pure quality of top-notch liquor—a "Bar 101" of sorts.

Drink this: Top-shelf liquors can get pricy, but $11 will get you a "neat" engraved paddle of 1-ounce High West Bourye whiskey with a side of house-made ginger beer over Kold-Draft ice. Cocktail diehards fret not. Where there are bitters and swizzle sticks, there's a craft concoction, like the refreshing Ojai ($12), made with bourbon, ginger, and fresh-squeezed orange juice, or the Monte Carlo ($12), featuring stirred rye whiskey, Benedictine and a dash of Angostura bitters strained into a rocks glass. Then again, there's always a $6 pint of Guinness.

Venue name: Neat Bar
Address: 1114 N Pacific Ave
Los Angeles

Venue phone: 818-241-4542
Website: http://www.neatbarglendale.com
Opening hours: Mon-Wed 4:30pm-12:30am; Thu, Fri 4:30-2am; Sat 7pm-2am; Sun 7pm-midnight
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