L.A.’s best beer bars
This Koreatown gastropub is the go-to spot for craft beer newbies, with 12 pristine rotating taps serving up mostly local breweries. The rotating bottle selection features seasonal, domestic and international brews and a rare bottle cellar from owner Jimmy Han’s personal collection—worth ponying up when something like a 2008 Ballast Point Victory at Sea coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter is on the list. Their ultimate beer snack: Death by Duck fries, tossed in duck fat, smoked salt and sweet onion sugar, with crispy duck skin cracklins and duck confit on top—artery-clogging goodness.
A phenomenal beer bar smack dab in the middle of Hollywood? It sounds like some kind of tourist scam, but we assure you it’s not. Blue Palms Brewhouse sits right next to the Fonda Theatre and down the street from the Pantages, making it an ideal spot to grab a drink before heading to a show. But it’s also a haven for beer fans, sporting a rotating tap list of 20-or-so specialty craft beers, like Bell’s Third Coast Old Ale, Eagle Rock Manifesto and Ballast Point Yellowtail. If you can’t settle on just one, flights are available for four 50-ounce pours. Stick around for the food, too, like the lobster mac and cheese or a plate of beer-battered fish and chips.
At first glance, the Daily Pint might look like your standard dive, but take a closer look and you’ll find hundreds of bottles of whiskey cluttering the shelves and, more importantly, an impressive lineup of 30-plus brews on tap and cask. Craft beer spangs the gamut, with brews hailing from California all the way to Ireland, Belgium and the United Kingdom. Think you’ll become a regular? Join the Daily Pint’s Craft Beer Club (you can sign up online), which gets you early notice of specialty beer arrivals, discount specials and a subscription to their monthly newsletter.
Of all the things Americans associate with Germany—great beer, good sausage, the consumption of large quantities of both while wearing lederhosen—easy pronunciation is not one (see also: lederhosen). Der Wolfskopf doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, but conversational German is not required for entry here. The Pasadena beer hall has 20 German and German-inspired beers on tap bearing enough syllables and umlauts to twist your tongue well into the night. Overwhelmed? The friendly bar staff actually know their stuff and will guide you in the right direction. Add a food menu with sausages, pretzels and schnitzel and an outdoor beer garden, and this place ticks all the necessary boxes.
Chef Sang Yoon, the “father” of Father’s Office, has been serving gourmet grub and craft brews long before gastropubs began popping up on every city block. Since then, his Culver City outpost has expanded to include 37 draft beers, of primarily domestic brews with a smattering from Belgium. There’s a full dinner menu but a must is the cult-favorite Office Burger—there are no substituitions, period—made of rare beef topped with caramelized onion, applewood bacon compote, gruyere, Maytag blue cheese and arugula. Pair with a full bar’s selection of wines, a fine list of classic cocktails and, of course, a not-to-miss selection of beer that keeps the diehard beer drinkers coming back.
This vintage motor-themed bar is replete with a seasonal, rotating list of 52 beers on tap/cask, with nitro handles and to-go brews by the bottle and can, to boot. Go for local or international brews by the pint and half pint, and opt for creamier choices from the nitro tap. Join the weekend crowd at the bar—conversation steers toward vintage motor sports as Mystery Science Theater 3000 plays over the TVs—or wait your turn for the pool tables (no charge) as the jukebox plays a mix of owner Steve Skorupa’s favorites from the Deftones and Phantogram to John Coltrane and Cat Stevens.
With loads of natural light and an industrial-chic feel, Highland Park Brewery’s Chinatown warehouse offers a larger and more airy space than that of its Hermosillo taproom in Highland Park (though we love that one, too). Picnic-bench-style seating provides a great place to perch while enjoying HLP Brewery’s newest beers—thanks to the extended barrel program of the newer location—plus snacky bites from the full kitchen.
This Belgian-focused gastropub of industrial-chic design with Euro-rustic flair has 17 beers on tap and 35 bottle selections that rotate regularly. You might find Gnomegang, a Belgian strong pale ale; Oud Beersel Framboise, a traditional Belgian lambic aged with raspberries; and Struise St. Amatus 12, a Belgian quadrupel with strong caramel and molasses, banana and spice. Go with any of their grilled cheese options to pair—we like the option with ale-braised short rib, house-smoked mozzarella, arugula and crispy onions.
Sweet relief for thirsty beer geeks can be found at Melody Lounge, which boasts one of Chinatown’s best draft craft beer selections. Great brews abound in a tight room of lacquered walls, glowing lanterns and display tables stuffed with the cans of fallen beer brands. Catch labels such as Chimay, Angel City, Drake’s, Bell’s, Hangar 24 and Eagle Rock Brewing on the chalkboard tap list, while a fridge holds bottled brews like Ommegang’s Rare Vos Amber, Cistamonte’s Reisling and Pilsner blend, several Belgian beauties and a swell of super-cool locals. Catch an extended happy hour from 5 to 9pm.
Before walking into Downtown’s beautifully-designed Mikkeller, you should know a little about its history. Mikkel Borg Bjergsø was a math and physics teacher in Copenhagen who moved his experiments from the lab to the kitchen. Fast forward a dacade and Mikkeller is an extremely popular microbrewery that exports to 40 countries with 36 of its own locations worldwide, including four on the West Coast. The DTLA location features a wall filled with 50 tap lines, rows of communal tables and the brand’s recognizable graphics adorning the open space. The menu boasts not only beer but craft cocktails, coffee, kombucha, cold brew and food into the wee hours of the night.