Steingarten LA’s dining room, awash with muted golden tones and dominated by a kaleidoscopic art piece, doesn’t immediately scream German biergarten. Its menu, however, astutely outlines the restaurant’s integral blend of hearty Old-World fare and contemporary California cuisine. More than 20 varieties of sausage—including traditional bratwursts and spicy lamb links as well as game offerings of wild boar and berry—sit beneath toppings of pickles or house mustard. Each of the 8-ounce burger patties is made from grass-fed, antibiotic- and hormone-free beef, and can be custom-built with toppings such as smoked mozzarella and applewood bacon. True to form as a German-inspired eatery, Steingarten accents their food with exhaustive drink lists, including a beer list with German, Belgian, and American craft brews on tap. Creative cocktails include a white manhattan, made from clear American whiskey, and a cocktail of the month that has been aged in a used whiskey barrel.
With a drink in hand, patrons can stroll over to Steingarten’s intimate outdoor patio flanked with high stone walls and trellis-climbing ivies. In one corner, rosy cushioned benches surround a slender fire pit that flickers subliminal messages from behind a glass enclosure. The ivy motif also manifests in wrought-metal curlicues on each door and over the beverage fridge that takes up an entire wall at the bar.
The Fat Dog is a welcoming Hollywood gastropub that exploits the canine theme both in its tasteful dÌ©cor and in its playfully named drinks and menu items. Paintings of English bulldogs hang in the dining room above black booths and long, wooden communal tables flanked by low stools. (Guests can even study the breeds of the American Kennel Association, pictured on the wallpaper in the bathrooms.) There‰Ûªs also a full bar and a pooch-friendly patio. Casual sandwiches like the braised short rib French dip and generous sirloin burger with manchego cheese pair well with the array of domestic and imported craft beers, while more sophisticated dishes like beet salad with chÌ¬vre and hazelnut vinaigrette or honey-lavender roasted chicken are a good match for the well-edited, worldly wine list. Comforting desserts like banana cream pie and crafty, canine-conscious cocktails like the ‰ÛÏChocolate Labtini‰Û� provide a sweet finish.
Trees play an important role at Bar Food. They've given their wood for the knotty rafters that support the ceiling, the cubbyholes that make up the bar's Wall of Taps, and the barrels that aged the gastropub's collection of more than 200 whiskeys. You'd expect wood to frame the colorful paintings of music icons that gaze down on the whiskey list with immovable looks of envy, but they hang frameless.
Like a 19th-century dockworker's shopping list, the menu promises hearty traditional public-house fare—fries, cheese plates, sandwiches, shepherd's pie, beef stew, and fish and chips. Guests sup on these and other dishes at cozy wall-length booths or out on the streetside patio. Four and 20 taps keep beer glasses full and diners happily cheering for every chicken that dares to cross Wilshire Boulevard.
Located just off Sunset Boulevard in the heart of Hollywood, District 13 is a punk-rock gastropub designed to throw old Hollywood glamour off its axis. Inventive burgers and exotic sausages make up the bulk of the graffiti-splashed menu. Pheasant, rabbit, wild boar, and even alligator sausages sizzle at lunch and dinner alongside lamb, buffalo, and salmon burgers. The restaurant also offers three vegan sausages, which pair with 22 California craft beers on draft or one of the 50 international bottles hiding behind the bar.
It’s a familiar bar sound—the quick whoosh of carbonation as a bartender opens a beer bottle, then the tinkling of the metal cap as she tosses it into a trash bin. It’s a sound you’ll never hear at Mohawk Bend. Upon walking into the craft-beer haven, patrons find 72 taps lined up behind the bar and nary a bottle in sight. The selection, which could change any minute, is thoughtfully curated in part by co-owner Tony Yanow, whom GQ called one of L.A.’s prominent beer gurus. The beers are almost strictly Californian in origin, not surprising given that Tony is a co-founder of Golden Road Brewing, one of the very few breweries located within city limits. Instead of supplementing these drafts with coolers of eccentrically labeled bottled brews, Tony chose to fill out his bar with six taps of wine and about 50 artisanal spirits—all Californian, of course. Like a Dionysian’s IV, the wine is drawn directly from vintners’ tanks. Bottles are once again lacking in accordance with the bar’s philosophy, which shoots for a Lilliputian carbon footprint. Mirroring the bar is an open kitchen, where chefs pull from a spread of farmer’s market ingredients while preparing meals in one of the designated vegan or nonvegan workstations. A custom-built oven cooks up pizzas such as a Salad Daze topped with avocado, lemon-dressed lettuces, zucchini, and caramelized onions. Crispy pancetta bulks up a Mohawk burger with pickled chilies, arugula, and red onions. Guests can take their plates and pints in one of four distinct dining spaces, rooms that design group Spacecraft dramatically yet respectfully converted from a former incarnation as a vaudeville theater. The 100-year-old building’s original brick walls set the scene in the Ramona Room, where a large skylight pours sun onto greenery and retro orange chairs. Out front, a marquee entices patrons with jocular messages such as “Have no fear, beer is here.”