Culver City’s the Corner Door feels like a neighborhood place where everybody knows—or should know—your name. It's a cozy culinary and libation retreat where exposed red brick meets dark wood paneling under Edison-approved lighting, and the drinks and bites are reliable and flavorful. Restaurateur newbies, Anthony Falati and Todd Jerry, pegged Beau du Bois from M.B. Post to head up the beverage program, which sees featured craft cocktail specials as well as a set list of classics, beers on tap and a decent selection of Italian, French, New Zealand and domestic wines.
Good for: Happy Hour is in swing every day from 5 to 7pm, when cocktails are under $10 and glasses of wine are $6. Every Sunday, Burger R&D Night offers a burger, fries and a beer for $17, while bourbon Old Fashioneds are a mere $6. Swirl and sip on something young, vibrant and Spanish—try 2010 Vega Sindoa Tempranillo—or get your Don Draper on with a classic cocktail.
The scene: There is generally plenty of seating amidst an exuberant atmosphere of Culver City and Westside locals—a smartly-dressed, casual hipster crowd, animated with conversation and out later than expected for dinner. Perfect for a first date and also for small and large groups, who can gather around the communal table adjacent to the bar. (Call ahead for a reservation.)
Drink this: The menu boasts classic cocktails and original libations, while nightly specials keep things interesting. Start with the Miner Incident mixed with bourbon, apricot liqueur, lemon, honey and Thai chiles, whose kick happily lingers after a refreshingly balanced sip of apricot and bourbon. This drink could do well with a perfectly cut piece of ice rather than the old ice-bin ice; either way, it goes down fast and smooth. If you're looking for beer and are willing to pass on class, order a California-brewed can of Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout or any of the red wines by the glass—smart food-friendly wines like Manzoni 2007 Santa Lucia Highlands Reserve Pinot Noir.