There may be bulls and matadors at this Spanish taverna, hung as contemporary art on the red brick interior walls, but North Hollywood's Bow & Truss—the latest from Morgan Margolis of Knitting Factory—aims to elevate the craft cocktail scene of the once sleepy neighborhood. A departure from beers and burgers at the Federal Bar—Margolis’s first NoHo joint just down the road—Bow & Truss offers Iberian eats—try vegetarian Earth Paella ($18 for a large) or superbly tasty (and messy) Chicken Confit Tacos ($7)—with drinks from LA’s finest ministers of cocktailing, Aidan Demarest and Marcos Tello (Liquid Assets), who designed a menu featuring an intriguing lineup of Sherry-based quaffs. If you're not used to drinking Sherry—a fortified wine made from white grapes grown in Jerez in Southern Spain—or Sherry cocktails, you might be surprised by intense nutty flavor, which adds immense depth and character.
Good for: Getting your Sherry fix—Bow & Truss boasts the largest Sherry selection in LA—and developing a palate for drinks that are rich with tastes of Barcelona on holiday. Think: Fine handcrafted sangrias, imported beers on tap and a varied selection of Spanish wines.
The scene: Casual NoHo locals. No suits or ties here. The dress code is casual jeans and T-shirt from groups—congregate in booths inside or couches outside—to date-night couples—snuggle up under heat lamps and recount quotes from your favorite Hemingway novel on the lofty patio. Conversations carry acoustically in the air, from sex chatter (on a recent Thursday night) to bits of gravel, thanks to some unexpected Santa Ana winds.
The playlist: Flamenco to bachelor-pad techno waver depending on the time and evening. The night we visited, it was heavy on the techno, which left us wishing for castanets and guitars instead of Bolero-fusion beats.
The bartender says: The space was formerly an auto body shop, and the bar's name takes after the shop's arched ceiling design.
Drink this: For cocktails, ease into an El Catador ($12) a smooth concoction of Milagro Reposado tequila, Galliano, Amontillado Sherry and mole bitters, and paired bar bites with a Horse Thief Old-Fashioned ($12), a mix of Glennfiddich Scotch, Pedro Ximenez Sherry and absinthe. There are also international craft beers by the bottle ($6-$20) and domestics on tap—try Ommegang Abbey Ale ($7). Don’t miss the stellar selection of Spanish reds, whites and bubbly by-the-glass. Go for a glass of Jaume Serra Cristalino Cava ($8) or red sangria($8).