Consistently praised by the Los Angeles Times, LA Weekly, and numerous other publications, BottleRock enlightens palates with a wine inventory of more than 600 labels and a selection of carefully crafted small plates. Oenophiles can unleash their imaginations sans the risk of being punched by Dionysis with a wine flight—a dramatic sequence of three 2-ounce pours. After a trio of samplings, connoisseurs can nibble on mild and nutty manchego cheese from Spain or indulge in tender pork rillette, slow-cooked in-house and served as a pâté. Cheese plates contain guests’ choice of five or seven out of 14 available moon fruits, and elegant charcuterie platters highlight one of six meat treats. Consult the dinner menu for a full list of available options. Wine tastings featuring the happy tears of grapes from Robert Hall Winery let patrons sample an assortment of adult juices, each paired with elegant snacks such as tuna tartar and grilled truffle cheese.
It’s not easy to find a campsite within the city proper, but Bigfoot West is not so different from the Great Outdoors. An incongruous log cabin that sticks out from its neighbors on Venice Boulevard, the bar is filled with mounted antlers and relics from America’s national parks. Guests can even warm up by the crackling fire and tell spooky stories over s’mores—the key difference being that these s’mores come in a liquid, alcohol-infused form. This signature drink is the creation of mixologist Jared Mort, who ingeniously blends vanilla vodka, crème de cacao, and Irish cream before topping it all off with a flaming marshmallow. Mort’s other cocktails generally revolve around the bar’s more than 100 whiskies and 60 varieties of small-batch bourbon. Aside from s’mores, his drinks have been known to mimic the flavors of cherry cobbler and freshly picked blackberries. To create these fanciful cocktails, he uses juices squeezed in-house and ingredients carefully procured from local farmers’ markets and bear dens.
Held on select weekends, each SaMo Wine Party celebrates varietals from around the world with three hours of unlimited tasting. Bartenders uncork everything from Tablas Creek bottles to sparkling wine from Crystianos Cava, all carefully selected by a team of expert vintners and the surviving members of the California Raisins. To complement the evening's limitless pours, DJs set the mood with upbeat tunes, while chefs prepare bites such as customized sushi rolls or gourmet burgers. The soirees take place amid the Bali-inspired décor of the two-level Monsoon Cafe or the 20-plus TVs inside The Garage featuring The Motor Club.
Beer, wine and spirits connoisseurs in Del Ray have been flocking to Beverage Warehouse for more than 40 years, looking to browse through one of the Westside’s largest selections of alcohol, including both mainstream and obscure brands and labels found stocked on the store’s shelves. Whether it’s cheap beer from college drinking days or bottles of expensive champagne for a special occasion, the Warehouse likely has it amongst their rows, racks and stacks. Don’t expect much in the way of creature comforts here; the place is a warehouse, as advertised, but the no-frills interior tends to make things a few dollars cheaper than the competition. The store also occasionally educates as well as vends, hosting tastings and also selling a wide selection of 50mL bottles for those who would prefer to try before they buy.
A longtime westside Los Angeles favorite, Wally’s Wine and Spirits features one of the best selections of wine, beer and liquor in the area, all from its small storefront along Westwood Boulevard. Wine collectors and the uninitiated alike browse the store’s aisles, looking for everything from rare French labels to under-$20 steals to bring to a party. But while Wine comes first in the store’s name, Wally’s also has an impressive selection of craft beers and hard liquor, whiskey in particular. In addition, the store hosts tastings on select Saturdays, with winery representatives or others pouring different varietals and explaining the winemaking process. Its dinners, held at area restaurants and hotels, are some of the hottest tickets on the oenophile’s calendar.
With an collection of more than 7,000 domestic and imported labels, The Wine House dazzles experienced palates with rare vintages while acquainting novices with the subtleties of oenology. Nestled within the vast facility, the bright tasting room beckons to casual shoppers and determined connoisseurs with sippable delights stocked in temperature-controlled trophy cases to protect the wine from indoor snowstorms. Each of the four fully automated tasting stations displays eight bottles awaiting dispensation orders ($1–$10taste), with carafes of water standing by to refresh taste buds. Every 7–10 days, the staff exchanges 8 of the 32 bottles, rotating the selection to include staff favorites, seasonal varietals, occasional collectors’ items, and recently released action movies. Those looking to relive the oaky or smoky experience at home can fill their hands with retail bottles from below each tasting station.