Food & Drink

The 10 Best Whiskey Bars in LA

Published On 02/12/2014 Published On 02/12/2014
The Stave (click here for address and deets)

Long Beach
This classy, wood-laden bar's got three-whiskey flights every Wednesday, plus specials on call-your-own Old-Fashioneds and Sazeracs from their selection of nearly 100 brown boozes.

Seven Grand
Seven Grand (click here for address and deets)

The granddaddy (wokka-wokka?) of LA's whiskey scene, this brown-spirit bar's still tops, with a huge range of whiskies, a dark vibe that's both date- and hanging-with-the-boys friendly, and even a "Whiskey Society" where they teach you about rare whiskies via monthly tastings.

213 Nightlife
Jackalope (click here for address and deets)

Think of this as Seven Grand's younger brother: a former private-room back area, Jackalope is now its own speakeasy-style, 18-seat bar with its own entrance (marked by a light, with instructions on how to enter in both Japanese and English), its own booze selection (including rarities like Balvenie Tun 1401), and just three cocktails: an Old Fashioned, a Manhattan, and a Highball.

Neat (click here for address and deets)

There are no menus at Aidan Demarest's award-winning Glendale bar -- just bottles and bottles (and bottles! AND BOTTLES!!!) of great booze, including rare ryes and Scotches, all of which can be drunk, uh, neat, or served with sides of house-curated mixers and produce.

Thirsty Crow
Thirsty Crow (click here for address and deets)

It's crazy to think that this classy, throwback bar used to be a novelty truck-stop, PBR-slinger called Stinkers. Now it's worlds away from that, with shelves full of options for discerning whiskey drinkers and mixologists who know what to do with them (see: photo above).

10 Pound (click here for address and deets)

Beverly Hills
Hidden away atop the Montage, is this unsurprisingly ultra-classy, itty-bitty bar dedicated specifically to variations of The Macallan Single Malt. If you've got thousands of dollars to burn on a single shot, this is definitely your spot, but if you're looking to sip $20's-worth of booze, you can do that too: they'll even hook it up over an ice sphere made of frozen water that's imported (really!) from Scotland.

Blind Donkey (click here for address and deets)

The mastermind behind The Surly Goat -- one of our favorite beer bars -- is also one of the dudes behind Pasadena's best ode to barrels; they've got a stellar selection that's dozens-deep of American, Irish, and Scotch varieties.

Rosewood Tavern (click here for address and deets)

Is this a steak restaurant? A gastropub? A whiskey bar? Kind of yes, yes, and yes, with enough shelves of Scotch to require a ladder to reach the top couple. Bonus: the new chef (who's done time at Animal and Bouchon) is happy to let you know what grub pairs best with their booze.

The Daily Pint
The Daily Pint (click here for address and deets)

Santa Monica
This long-time dive on the Westside may not look like much, but whiskey aficionados know their range may be the best in the West(side), with selections from Australia, India, and Japan.

MessHall (click here for address and deets)

Los Feliz
Not only does MessHall have one of the greatest burgers you've never had, but they also have eight of the 10 best small-distillers in the country -- as well as the largest collection of Willett's single-barrel bourbons in SoCal. They've also got a slew of rarities, like 18-year Thomas Handy rye and, yes, Pappy -- all five variations.

Jeff Miller is the Senior City Editor of Thrillist LA. You can follow him at @thrillistla on Twitter and @jeffmillerla on Instagram.

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1. Seven Grand 515 W 7th St, Los Angeles, CA 90014

Seven Grand has a hipster-esque hunting lodge decor to match its massive whiskey selection. Vintage and contemporary recipes are featured on the cocktail menu, which incorporates freshly squeezed juices and house-infused syrups. Cigars and pool tables contribute to the man-cave vibe of this place.

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2. Jackalope Bar 515 W 7th St, Los Angeles, CA 90014

In the back of Seven Grand is the bodacious, lustful Bar Jackalope -- seducing you with delicious whiskey flights, serious ambiance points, and a rowdy crowd.

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3. Neat 1114 Pacific Ave, Glendale, CA 91202

One of the perks of success is that others start doing work for you, with the other being talking to Oklahoma City Thunder center Kendrick Perkins about his nickname & surprisingly successful pro career. Weirdly opting for the former route, the super-successful barman behind Neat.

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4. The Thirsty Crow 2939 W Sunset, Los Angeles, CA 90026

The Thirsty Crow is the kind of place you'd think your grandfather used to frequent. It's a bourbon-centric bar located in the former truck stop-style drinkery called Stinkers', whose owner capitalized on the elevated tastes (read: above the PBR/Jack Daniels paygrade) of his guests. He gutted, renovated, and re-concepted Stinkers' into The Thirsty Crow, and decked it out with a brand new... vintage feel. The shelves are stocked with over 40 small-batch distills, the music comes from an all-wood, all-vinyl juke box, the bar is lit by antique fixtures, and the walls are lined with weathered photographs. New construction, old-school flavor... like I said, there's no way your grandfather used to come here.

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5. 10£ 225 N Canon, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

Surprisingly not 50 Cent's much posher English cousin, 10£ is a tiny, balcony-adorned, wood-paneled ode to Macallan, serving up way-hard-to-find varietals like the Fine & Rare Vintage 1951, and 57yr-old Lalique.

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6. Blind Donkey 53 E Union St, Pasadena, CA 91103

The Blind Donkey is an Old Pasadena gastropub and whiskey roost with over 100 labels to choose from, plus classic cocktail, ten rotating craft beers, and a menu designed for whiskey consumption (and heavy drinking in general). Sit at a table with built-in chess boards and enjoy your small batch, single barrel scotch over a quiet game of chess, or indulge in one of their ten french fry-based dishes, like pizza fries with marinara, mozzarella, pepperoni, and mushroom, buffalo chicken fries with mozzarella, celery, and ranch, and Reuben fries with pastrami, sauerkraut, mozzarella, and Thousand Island, to name a few.

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7. Rosewood Tavern 448 N Fairfax, Los Angeles, CA 90048

Disappointingly not named for what they'd have called Betty White's Golden Girls character if she'd married Ed Wood, RT's an old Western-esque chopshop (slinging beef like herb marinated crispy skirt steaks, and a top sirloin culotte) featuring exposed-brick and beautiful backdrops.

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8. The Daily Pint 2310 Pico Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90405

This SM dive has surprisingly impressive whiskey flights, craft beers, and SHUFFLE BOARD!!

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9. The Stave 170 The Promenade North, Long Beach, CA 90802

This swank whiskery-erie is doling out some seriously impressive 'tails, as well as great craft brew flights.

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10. Mess Hall 4500 Los Feliz Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027

This sleek, summer-camp-themed Loz Feliz spot (think metal cafeteria trays on the wall) pulls out all the stops: an extensive gastro-inspired menu with offerings at breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, and late-night, plus a full raw oyster bar. We'll narrow it down for you: try the fried chicken sandwich (with a hot honey aioli), a side of the perfectly crisp french fries, and a mint julep out of their top-notch cocktail program, and head for the outdoor patio.