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1886 Bar

Bars, Wineries Pasadena
4 out of 5 stars
5 out of 5 stars
(3user reviews)
 (Photograph: Jakob N. Layman)
Photograph: Jakob N. LaymanYoshi's Island at 1886 Bar
 (Photograph: Jakob N. Layman)
Photograph: Jakob N. LaymanAngel of Darkness at 1886 Bar
 (Photograph: Jakob N. Layman)
Photograph: Jakob N. LaymanBucky O'Hare at 1886 Bar
 (Photograph: Jakob N. Layman)
Photograph: Jakob N. LaymanPimm's #13 at 1886 Bar
 (Photograph: Jakob N. Layman)
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman1886 Bar
 (Photograph: Jakob N. Layman)
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman1886 Bar
 (Photograph: Jakob N. Layman)
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman1886 Bar
 (Photograph: Jakob N. Layman)
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman1886 Bar
 (Photograph: Jakob N. Layman)
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman1886 Bar
 (Photograph: Jakob N. Layman)
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman1886 Bar
 (Photograph: Jakob N. Layman)
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman1886 Bar
 (Photograph: Jakob N. Layman)
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman1886 Bar
 (Photograph: Jakob N. Layman)
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman1886 Bar

For the finest swills in all of Pasadena, 1886 Bar is your place. Located in the back of the Raymond Restaurant is a low-ceilinged room plastered in Victorian wallpaper and bathed in Old West mood lighting. And yet, there's nothing pretentious here. Between the laid-back staff and cushy seats you could fall asleep in, it feels a little like home—fitting, since the space is part of the former caretaker cottage of the historic Raymond Hotel. The pinnacle of this pocket-sized bar is undoubtedly the stellar drink program helmed by Aidan Demarest and Marcus Tello (you may know them from Neat, The Varnish and Seven Grand). The 21-long menu changes each season and thrives on originality, from the Pimm's #13 made with mezcal and Mexican Tamarindo soda to the Meyer lemon- and rosemary-infused Yoshi's Island. Wash those (both $14) down with some tater tots ($8) and you're set.


Good for: Splurging on top-notch booze and grub. Chef Tim Guiltinan has whipped up some delicious bar bites: $4 oysters to $14 pork belly confit (Hey, we never said they were cheap). The ambience is cozy or romantic, depending on who you're with and where you're sitting. Opt for the tufted leather banquette for intimate conversation, or sit at the short bar to chat up some enthusiastic barkeeps. It's easy to drink at 1886 on a nightly basis, though you might want to spread out your visits for the sake of your kidneys.

The scene: Beyond the frosted door etched "Est. 1886," the room is buzzing with easygoing locals, smartly dressed couples, and in-the-know imbibers watching over their bartender's every stir. A casual attitude abounds thanks to friendly servers and complicated drinks with long-winded descriptions that are just begging for questions.

The playlist: Upbeat Oldies to get patrons' shoulders shaking while they sip on their drinks. You'll hear songs like "(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher And Higher" and "Superstition." Because how can you not dance in your Craftsman seat to that?

The bartender says: 1886 is Demarest and Tello's first complete concept-to-cocktail program. That means they had as much input on the tin roof as they did on the handcrafted libations vigorously stirred underneath it. The collaborators dodged LA's played pre-Prohibition fad to focus more on straight neat drinks reminiscent of the building's industrial roots, so bourbon and gin are king here. With a whopping 21 cocktails to choose from, you shouldn't have a problem finding something to wet your lips.

Drink this: For a next-level drink, order the Angel of Darkness ($14), but best to save this one for last—it's quite the layered concoction. First to hit you is the citrus lime and pineapple juices, then the sweet maple syrup, the rye and, finally, the sherry. The real knockout on the menu has to be the Bucky O'Hare ($14). Mixologist Gregory Gertmenian gives his twist on the classic ginger buck by adding smoky mezcal and amaro, the bitter-sweet Italian digestif, then topping it with grapefruit soda. The combination is utterly refreshing.

By: Danielle Jacoby


Venue name: 1886 Bar
Address: 1250 S Fair Oaks Ave
Los Angeles
Opening hours: Tue-Fri 5pm-2am; Sat-Sun 11-2am
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Average User Rating

4.7 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:2
  • 4 star:1
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
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Delicious cocktails in a historic hideaway, what more could you want?  1886 frequently changes its cocktail program, so it's hard to recommend any one thing--suffice to say I had a couple of mango fizz-esque cocktails on a recent trip that absolutely blew me away.  Strong, tasty, and impeccably mixed.  The bartenders and staff are all friendly and helpful; when they were out of a drink I wanted, I asked them to recommend something based on that flavor profile, and they wound up making me a custom creation.  Inside, the space is homey and cozy, ideal for a casual date or relaxing afternoon with friends.  Outside, there's a spacious patio ideal.  Whether journeying by day or night, 1886 has great atmosphere.  There's parking on the street nearby.

It's not the most hip or exciting bar, but it's definitely one of the nicest ones I've frequented with friends. The decor is classic, without any of the pretense one might expect from an L.A. bar. Seating can be difficult with a large party, but don't let that deter you. Their drinks are fantastic, though very pricey ($14 for a signature cocktail). Still, the bartenders are fantastically knowledgeable and can easily conjure up a drink that caters to any person's palate. The crowd skews chill, so don't expect it to be too loud or crazy, which is ideal for me. i try to always stop by whenever I'm in the area.


This is my favorite bar in LA, full stop. It's sophisticated and romantic but still casual, whether inside at the bar or outside on the patio. Most importantly, the drinks are wildly inventive and memorable (pricey, yes, but worth every penny). The signature cocktail list changes a lot, so sometimes your favorite drink may go off the menu. One of my favorite was a deconstructed piña colada, essentially a summer lime snow cone drenched in pineapple and coconut rum and served in a sundae glass.