Ever chosen a glass of wine based on musical taste? The Whisperer, an Echo Park beer and wine bar, shows us how it's done.
The Whisperer skulks in the shadows of a Walgreens on Echo Park Avenue. On its jet-black facade is a spray-painted mural of a finger pressed to lips, implying that this is one of those on-the-down-low kind of places. Except securing access doesn’t require a secret password; flannel-and-jeans-clad locals breeze right on through a bouncer-less entry. Inside the oh-so noir lair, crimson lighting, vintage photographs from the Golden Age of Radio, glass bottle chandeliers and boarded-up windows ooze Prohibition-era covertness. There is no shortage of wine bars on the Eastside, but one that encourages imbibers to select a glass based purely on musical preference? Now that’s a first. An obliging menu insists White Album listeners opt for a transcendent Portuguese white blend, while fans of the Rolling Stones’ Sticky Fingers record experiment with a bold Tempranillo from California’s Central Valley. It’s not all rock-and-roll, though. Beverage director Amy Luftig assures liquid satisfaction for each kind of fan, with reds, whites and bubbly from Sicily to Silicon Valley at every price point. Mellifluous imbibing doesn’t have to take place in the dark, by the way—there’s a patio out front.
Good for: Wine- and chicken wing-fueled gabfests. For Echo Park locals, The Whisperer is the place to head to when their go-to bars are slammed. It might not always be the first choice, but it’s easy. Friendly staff, plenty of empty seats and ridiculously indulgent shared plates (fried chicken, spicy mac and cheese and “great freakin’ ribs” available until 12:30am every day) make it the perfect place for catching up with old friends, neighbors and colleagues. If the dark and moody interior is putting you to sleep, grab a bench outside and bask in the urban charm of Montana Street.
The scene: For the most part, The Whisperer is populated by twenty- and thirty-somethings fresh off work and desperately seeking vinotherapy through generous pours. Intimate heart-to-hearts happen inside.
Drink this: Reggae doesn’t jive with everyone, and that’s why it takes a certain kind of individual to relish a glass of Copertino Negroamaro ($9 glass, $34 bottle). Hailing from the heel of Italy’s boot—a region known for sunshine and white-washed houses, Luftig’s Lee "Scratch" Perry Super Ape pairing is spot-on. She describes this particular red as “deep, funky, weird, I can't get enough.” We could have easily guzzled another glass or two. A solid choice for a lighter white is Le Tracteur Bleu’s Chenin Blanc ($7 glass, $26 bottle), described as “high energy, exuberant, more sophisticated than it gets credit for, also … French.” Does it pair well with Daft Punk? Sure, why not. End your evening with a tall flute of Spanish Cava—not just because of the Ziggy Stardust reference, but because the Mercat ($8 glass, $30 bottle) is delicate and crisp, with overwhelming notes of pear, papaya and honeysuckle. It’s perfect for pacifying a sweet tooth.
Our tip: The off-the-beaten-path location works to your advantage. Lines are rare. Did we mention there’s a free parking lot? And it’s worth making clear, this is a wine-and-beer-only establishment. Despite the whole speakeasy vibe, you won’t find any artisanal cocktails here. There’s a good dozen-or-so regional brews on tap, though nothing you wouldn’t find elsewhere, so stick to the wine.
|Venue name:||The Whisperer (CLOSED)||Contact:|
1325 Echo Park Ave
|Opening hours:||Daily 5pm-1am|
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