Block Party

Bars, Beer bars Highland Park
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Photograph: Jakob N. LaymanCali' Creamin' Vanilla Cream Ale at Block Party
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Photograph: Jakob N. LaymanChampagne cocktial snow cone at Block Party
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Photograph: Jakob N. LaymanMi-Che-Guevara at Block Party
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Photograph: Jakob N. LaymanSnowmosa at Block Party
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Photograph: Jakob N. LaymanBlock Party
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Photograph: Jakob N. LaymanS'mores Stout at Block Party
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Photograph: Jakob N. LaymanPretzels & Cheese at Block Party
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Photograph: Jakob N. LaymanAnderson Valley The Kimmie, The Yink, and The Holy Gose at Block Party
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Photograph: Jakob N. LaymanBeef link on a brioche bun at Block Party
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Photograph: Jakob N. LaymanBlock Party
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Photograph: Jakob N. LaymanBlock Party
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Photograph: Jakob N. LaymanBlock Party
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Photograph: Jakob N. LaymanBlock Party

Plenty of California beers abound at this Highland Park bar, but the atmosphere doesn't quite jive with the neighborhood.

From the street, Block Party—a craft beer concept in Highland Park from Jason Eisner (Gracias Madre)—doesn’t look like much of a party. The clean, minimalist shopfront borders on sterile, with white walls and blank space reminiscent of an Apple store, an empty gallery or one of those inexplicably trendy coffee shops that blends the two. A neon sign displaying the words “Block Party” lets you know you’re in the right place, but it’s not until you reach the back patio that you feel like you’ve actually arrived. Here is the relaxed neighborhood bar you were promised, where a large outdoor space complete with communal picnic tables, candy-striped umbrellas and an oversized shuffleboard court serves as the heart of Block Party. Perhaps that's why it's all the more jarring when you have to leave this adult backyard playground to order your drinks back inside at the Genius Bar. The blow is softened, at least, by a genuinely pleasant and laid-back bar staff, who are happy to offer recommendations, samples and Notorious B.I.G. at full volume as the mood prescribes. Still, there’s something less than relaxing about the vibe here. Despite its best efforts, Block Party’s atmosphere feels strained and manufactured, more like a “chill-out” space at a tech start-up than an authentic neighborhood spot. Even in the California heat, this place left us feeling a little cold.

Vitals

Good for: Hanging with your buddies and knocking back some brews in a setting that’s void of televisions. Instead of watching sports, you can use the opportunity to have a conversation, compare notes on the suds or discuss the latest injury to befall one of the players on your fantasy team. If all else fails, you can opt for a friendly game of giant shuffleboard or Wii bowling—or just stare at the screen it’s projected on if you’re experiencing TV separation anxiety.   

The scene: While it’s getting harder and harder to avoid using the H-word, suffice it to say that this place is crawling with beards and manbuns. For the most part, the clientele is young, relaxed and friendly enough to share their picnic table. Just don’t expect every patron to observe proper “she was here first” etiquette when taking their turn at the bar. I’m looking at you, nose-ringed pixie girl.

Drink this: Draft beers at Block Party come in 4-ounce, 8-ounce and 12-ounce pours, allowing you to move freely through the menu without putting too much strain on  your gut or wallet. All the beers are brewed in California, with the exception of Waupoos cider ($3/$5/$7), a crisp, smooth beverage from Ontario, Canada, that’s fruity without the candy apple taste. San Diego’s Ballast Point is represented with its reliable favorite, Grapefruit Sculpin ($4/$6). Moving further north up the state, Temecula-based Black Market Brewing Company’s 1945 ($5/$7) is a tart and tasty Berliner Weisse, while the Kolsch-style ale ($3/$5/$7) from Barrelhouse Brewing in Paso Robles offers refreshing hints of gooseberry and lychee. The house Michelada ($9) doesn’t quite hit the mark on its own, but it’s worth ordering just for the watermelon and heirloom paleta that accompanies it. We couldn’t figure out if you’re supposed to dip it in, let it melt or eat it while you sip, so we did all three. Want something completely different? Try the questionably-named Cali Creamin’ Vanilla Cream Ale ($3/$5/$7) from Vista-based Mother Earth Brewing Company. With a heavenly ice cream aroma and a smooth vanilla finish, it’ll transport you back to your childhood soda fountain.

Our tip: In addition to your beverages, the bartenders also hold the key to Block Party’s casual dining component: a hot dog cart out back serving beef and vegan franks, soft pretzels and a plethora of house-made accoutrements. Once you’ve paid at the bar, you can retreat to the backyard, load up your dog with pimento cheese and pickled things, and kick back.

By: Merin McDonald

Posted:

Venue name: Block Party
Contact:
Address: 5052 York Blvd
Los Angeles
90042
Opening hours: Mon-Wed 5pm-Midnight; Thu-Fri 5pm-2am; Sat Noon-2am; Sun Noon-Midnight
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To improve this listing email: feedback@timeout.com

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Average User Rating

4.2 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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  • 4 star:2
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LiveReviews|5
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tastemaker

Grab food from whatever food truck happens to be out front (or from any other establishment in the 'hood), ignore the unassuming, quiet entrance, and head to the bar, and then the bustling patio out back.  Plenty of beers are on offer here, but my favorite was the frozen blackberry margarita.  If you love fresh, summery cocktails and are in desperate need of a cooldown in LA's constant 90+ degree weather--this is your drink.  Honestly, best frozen margarita I've ever had, and writing about it now--I want to go back asap.

Seating is on communal picnic tables, which can be great if it's not crowded, or challenging if it is.  Great on weeknights for having a relaxing drink with friends.

Bonus, bring your dog!

tastemaker

Great patio that's perfect for big groups. They don't serve food, but you can bring it in from any of the great spots in the area. Can get a little busy (and it seems like they sometimes maintain a line to make it seem more exclusive), but there's always a good amount of space if you can make your way to the patio.

tastemaker

Love this place. One of my fav things in the area. It can get a little busy, particularly on weekends, but don't let that deter you too much. The outdoor patio is excellent and if it's not too busy you can play shuffleboard or wii on a big projector back there. Their beer selection is vast and fantastic - you can order draft beers or grab a beer yourself from their large walk up refrigerators. They sometimes have a food truck out front and you are welcome to bring your own outside food in to eat while you drink.


This cheerful spot is perfect for any night making the Highland Park rounds. Directly across the street from Hi Hat, it's a popular spot to grab a drink before a concert. The craft beer menu is mostly local and sometimes quirky and, while the license is beer-and-wine only, they make up for it with a few fun 'cocktails' for those who just don't want a simple pour. The backyard area is a little meh with all the games, but the overall vibe is fun!