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Inventive cocktails abound at this auto-themed bar in Venice, where a spacious patio and a cozy lounge entertain both locals and travelers alike.
Walking down a section of Venice’s Lincoln Blvd that’s home to little more than auto body shops, liquor stores and an Orthodox synagogue, you’d be forgiven for thinking you might be looking in the wrong place for a swanky cocktail bar. And yet, just as you begin to wonder if your sat-nav has erroneously guided you to “Lincoln Liquor Locker” rather than your intended destination, the familiar sight of a bouncer appears and The Lincoln calls you home.
Upon crossing The Lincoln’s threshold, you immediately find yourself in an enclosed open-air patio, where industrial light fixtures hang over reclaimed wood tables dotted with ubiquitous succulents. The post-industrial theme continues inside, where designer Matt Winter’s (Melrose Umbrella Company, Power House) creative hand is evident in the seamless incorporation of modern elements and warm vintage aesthetic. In keeping with the neighborhood, The Lincoln’s design invokes the feeling of a renovated repair shop and is peppered with automotive references—the most obvious being the rusty old Lincoln on display at the bar’s rear. Encased in glass and surrounded by antique auto mechanic artifacts, it’s a diorama that could easily be conceived by an Imagineer as a focal point alongside a Disney attraction. Whimsical but refined, stylish but not pretentious and innovative but oddly familiar, The Lincoln might just be one of our favorite pit stops on this side of town.
Good for: Small group outings and celebrations, cocktail-fueled catch-ups, entertaining out-of-towners, classy but casual dates and Venetians who like to keep their bars within biking distance. Even if you’re not a local, it’s worth the mileage.
The scene: Start-up employees, trust fund beach bums and, well, a bunch of presumably normal people between the ages of 21 and 50. It’s a friendly crowd, at least—during our visit, our fellow patrons passed the Stranger Smile, the Door Hold and the Bathroom Line Small Talk tests with flying colors.
Drink this: With whiskey, housemade B&B, lemon, cinnamon honey and earl grey tea, the aptly named Grandpa Cal’s Old Tyme Cure-All was the menu’s unanimous winner. Complex yet comforting, it’s a cold take on a hot toddy that will remind you of your own grandparents’ prescription of choice. The Hot Route’s combination of mezcal, cucumber, watermelon shrub and smoked sea salt makes for smoky, sweet and summery sipping, while the similarly refreshing Menthylamine is a dainty blend of gin, mint, lime and egg white finished with an herbaceous spritz of atomized Fernet Branca. For those after something with a bit more bite, the spirit-forward Ol’ Horizon is an excellent closer, bringing tequila, aperol and both sweet and dry vermouths together with a dash of lemon bitters for a drink that’s smooth, strong and straight to the point. All cocktails are $12.
Our tip: Arrive between 7 and 9pm and you’re likely to have The Lincoln more or less to yourself—plus your pick of an abundance of available couches, bar stools and high tops for which there is table service. As the night unfurls, seating becomes increasingly scarce as a line begins to form outside.
2536 Lincoln Blvd
|Opening hours:||Mon-Sat 7pm-2am; Sun 2-10pm|
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