We saw some of the city's best new bars open in 2019, but one of New York's finest couldn't let the New Year come and go without seeing 2019 off in style. Launching just days before New Year's Eve, Death & Co.—a major player in NYC's aughts cocktail renaissance—opened the doors to its first West Coast outpost, landing in the Arts District with a sleek subterranean bar.
Technically, two bars. You can find Death & Co.'s main cocktail den, a glowing lounge with a 25-drink menu, open every night of the week, but from Thursday to Saturday you might want to start your visit at Standing Room: a walk-up bar sporting only eight cocktails and a handful of beers, sakes and snacks.
The Standing Room menu focuses on more familiar ingredients and flavor profiles—think: a highball, a sazerac, a rum sour—and can serve as a beginning or end to your visit, while the main bar involves drinks spread across five categories: "fresh and lively," "light and playful," "bright and confident," "elegant and timeless" and "boozy and honest."
The main bar is also where you'll find a more elaborate small-plates menu, including wagyu with chanterelle mousse; West Coast oysters topped by verjus and caviar; caramelized potatoes with winter truffles and fontina; dungeness crab with anchovy toast; and braised octopus with merguez spice.
Of course thoughtful and wildly creative cocktails are nothing new to Los Angeles; the whole of the beverage industry has continued to grow and adapt both before and since Death & Co. first opened in the East Village in 2006, and L.A.'s own bars have more than come into their own. A handful of lauded NYC cocktail bars have already made the jump to L.A. in the last year—including Employees Only and Apothéke—and we're curious to see what yet another New York transplant can add to our drinking scene.
But if anyone can bring us something fresh, it's probably Death & Co.'s David Kaplan, Alex Day and Devon Tarby, who've also opened some of our favorite spots in Los Angeles: Normandie Club, Bibo Ergo Sum and the sadly shuttered bars Walker Inn and Honeycut. Together, with Ravi DeRossi, they soft-opened Death & Co. last week, with a ticketed grand opening celebration slated for New Year's Eve, a nod to the first location's December 31 launch all those years ago.
Take a peek inside Death & Co.'s Los Angeles outpost, below, then stop by for some of New York's most lauded cocktails any night of the week.
Death & Co. is now open in Los Angeles at 818 E 3rd St, with daily hours of 6pm to 2am. The Standing Room bar is only open Thursday to Saturday.