Matthew Kaner and Dustin Lancaster, co-owners of this popular Los Feliz bar, are happy to talk beer and wine—the focus on small production, off-the-beaten-path old-world and new-world selections from around the globe. There's also a selection of light-fare snacks and, more recently, brunch on the weekends (11am-3pm). Try Carnivore's Special Flatbread (rosemary, cheese and cured meats) with a glass—note the proper Riedel stemware for optimal sniffing—of something leathery and French. Kaner and Lancaster like to feature wines from obscure and familiar regions, but not arbitrarily—there’s always a story behind the wine, and they're happy to share.Go early with a book and sit beneath ironic bookshelves supporting vintage cameras. Once the bar fills up (and it does), candles and dim Edison bulbs illuminate a well-dressed neighborhood crowd of food and wine buffs.
Good for: Discovering a world of wine you didn't know existed while honing your taste preference.
The scene: A casual crowd swirling, contemplating and talking about whatever's in their glass. Expect a mix of serious winos, first-date couples sizing up each other's taste preferences and potential business partners doing the same—the decision to go red or white can raise eyebrows and inspire input from those nearby.
Drink this: There's no printed menu, so your best bet is to head for the "Order Here" sign and let someone behind the bar expertly guide you to the pour—the first of many and without pretension—of the night: "wine or beer?" If you opt for wine, "white, red or bubbly?" A few questions later, you'll be sampling a couple options—maybe a funky 2009 Domaine Leon Barral Faugeres Grenache from France ($12) or an obscure varietal like the plush, fruit-forward 2010 Rock Wall Wine Company "Tannat" ($12) from California. There's also rotating local microbrews on tap with current offerings like Ballast Point "Reef Rye" and Hanger 24 "Chocolate Porter."