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Try your hand at pétanque and indulge in high quality craft cocktails at this friendly neighborhood bar in DTLA.
Bar Clacson has answered the prayers of Downtown Los Angeles imbibers who have been seeking a watering hole refuge that isn’t a speakeasy, a dive bar or a night club. A bar where you can show up as you are and get to know your bartenders, enjoy pieces of bruschetta with your beverage and play a game of pétanque (France’s version of bocce ball). It has all the makings of your neighborhood Cheers, but with French, Italian and American influences. While the theme could be considered kitschy, it works, thanks to the all-star roster of hospitality gods overseeing Bar Clacson: Cedd Moses and Eric Needleman of 213 Hospitality (Normandie Club, Arts District Brewing Company), Eric Alperin of The Varnish, and Richard Boccato of Dutch Kills and Fresh Kills Bar in New York City.
It’s safe to say that these guys know how to create a successful beverage program, so instead of ordering a beer on tap or a glass of Lambrusco, order from the cocktail menu which boasts specialty drinks that accommodate every spirit preference, as well as low-alcohol (ABV) spritzes. Bar Clacson is the type of place you can picture yourself celebrating birthdays, hosting happy hours, or enjoying a date or a low-key evening with friends. Pretentiousness and indifference doesn’t exist here, among staff or patrons. And for that to be found in Downtown L.A., we say, amen.
Good for: Day drinkers who need a stiff beverage after waiting in line at Egg Slut—Grand Central Market is only a few feet away. Though in reality, Bar Clacson is worthy of being a destination and not an afterthought. Currently, you’re more likely to find DTLA residents and those who work in the vicinity as patrons, but don’t let that stop you from making the trip. Parking is spotty, so rely on a ride-sharing service or take the metro to Pershing Square Station, just a five minute walk to the bar.
The scene: The scent of sliced meats, cheeses and baked bread from Cole’s French Dip will be the first thing you notice when walking in. The front of Bar Clacson is a bodega, open from 5pm to midnight, and serves a selection paninis ($10), bruschettas ($2) and cheese and charcuterie boards (three for $14 or five for $20). A coffee program is also available should you need caffeine and not a cocktail. Lack of seating won’t be an issue, so if you’re here to grab a bite to eat before heading home after work, grab a stool at the counter along the window and stay a while. Otherwise, plant yourself at a standing high-top near the pétanque court, or at the long wooden bar, where you’ll find the flags of Italy, France and the U.S. hanging proudly against the back wall.
Drink this: It’s not often you find a dedicated list of spritz and sherry-based cocktails, so take advantage of this gift. While these drinks are lower-proof than their high-octane (gin, vodka, whiskey) counterparts, they still pack a punch, so go easy. For an introduction into the world of aperitifs, try the Clacson Spritz ($11) made with Aperol, Absolut Elyx, lemon juice, white wine syrup and soda water. If you’ve ever wanted to try sherry, the Greenbrier Julep ($11) made with Oloroso sherry, red vermouth, peach bitters, mint and sugar syrup is rich and aromatic, yet still refreshing.You won’t miss the bourbon in this julep, but should you want it, The Separatist ($13) made with bourbon, Amaro CioCiaro, lemon juice, sugar and topped with a blood orange slice is tart, slightly sweet and strong. And if you’re really feeling good, order the Quill Cocktail ($13) with gin, Campari, sweet vermouth and absinthe.
Our tip:Happy hour is seven days a week, from 5-7pm. Enjoy a curated selection of low-ABV and house cocktails for $10. A light selection of beers ($5) and sparkling wines ($7) are also available, along with select small bites.
351 S Broadway
|Opening hours:||Tue-Sun 5pm-close|
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