Mar Vista may not be the first place imbibers think of for progressive cocktails in a chic atmosphere, but that's all changed with the arrival of accomplice (and yes—the bar’s name does, in fact, begin with a lowercase “a”). The wholly futuristic decor features alien pod-esque pendant lighting and a ceiling that could double as a MOCA exhibit. Accomplice is a small space adjacent to Taiwanese comfort spot Little Fatty, with roughly 10 stools around the L-shaped bar and only a handful of two tops along the opposite wall; reservations are encouraged but not exactly publicized. The inventive drink program comes by way of Aaron Siak, most recently at Proprietors LLC’s whimsical Walker Inn. That same experimental yet meticulous spirit is manifested in libations that run from a toasted sesame and green tea julep to a pear and brandy highball garnished with a Chinese celery leaf. The best part? These drinks won’t break the bank. While locals have a short distance to go, outsiders can bide their time before the long drive home by chowing down on Little Fatty take-out delivered to their seats from next door. Because who wouldn’t want to end the night with a full belly of Taiwanese soul food?
Good for: The chic factor of a Downtown drinkery with the comfort of a small-town watering hole. Accomplice is exactly the kind of date-night destination this family-friendly area could use. Cuddle up in the corner and linger with a few stiff swills, or make your friends schlep over to the Westside and treat them to punch. A carafe for four will cost you $44—or the $99 jug serves 10 if you are feeling especially gracious. There are even sober options for the designated driver of the group. If a tall glass of ginger-mint bubbly doesn’t sound refreshing, perhaps a sugar rush-inducing Mexican coke?
The scene: For the most part, it’s Mar Vistans. This is a tight-knit, beach-adjacent community where bowling alleys and thrift shops reside around the corner from tree-lined cul-de-sacs, and the clientele at accomplice reflects just that. It’s a hodgepodge of young and old, cool and casual, and all-around artsy. In other words, there’s some great people-watching here.
Drink this: Other Side of Green ($12) was surprising in the best way. A refreshing and utterly unique blend of gin, pear brandy, rum and celery bitters, you would never guess this cocktail is a gin and tonic at its core. And the Chinese celery leaf garnish adds a special touch. For something with a ginger kick, give Mother We Share ($12) a try. Bourbon, Fernet Branca, lemon, pineapple and ginger are shaken and poured over crushed ice, then topped with an Angostura bitters float, which gives it an eye-pleasing sunset hue. If you've always wanted one of those Lady and the Tramp moments, share a Midnight Tommy ($11) with the special guy or gal in your life. The green tea julep is sweet and strong and comes with two straws. While we cannot stress enough that these cocktails are seriously good, we won’t judge you for ordering a Pizza Port Pick Six Pilsner ($6) or Three Weavers Expatriate IPA ($6) on tap. There’s cider, champagne and rosé too—but seriously, stick with the cocktails.
Our tip: Don’t miss accomplice's happy hour from 5-7pm, when wine is 50 percent off, draft beer is $4, gimlets are $6 and you can get a stellar old-fashioned for only $7. Also, you really can’t beat $1.50 fries.