To an outsider, Los Angeles can seem like an endless labyrinth of strip malls with numerous inaccessible neighborhoods due to an intricate series of slow-moving freeways. There is undoubtedly some truth in that statement but many of the individual cities and areas surrounding LA have their own unique character and vibe. One of these spots is Culver City. Once a haven for big screen dreams, Culver City has, in the last five to ten years, been reinvigorated with a renovated downtown and an emerging younger and trendier population. To anyone new in town or just cruising through for a visit, here’s a list of our favorite Culver City bars.
Named because the entrance is found in an unmarked alley, for those trying to taste the sweet nectar of the elusive watering hole, look for its partner restaurant FIN Asian Tapas Bar. The interior is somewhere between chic and bungalow with vaulted wood ceilings, but more importantly, Alley embraces a tradition of Taco Tuesdays.
Drink of Choice: Cagney (Rye whiskey, lemon juice, sugar cube, Cabernet Sauvignon, brandied cherry)
This popular whiskey bar is not what you would expect from a bar in Los Angeles just up the road from the Pacific Ocean. The inside of Bigfoot West has a rustic cabin feel, complete with walls lined with logs and taxidermy critters. While the bar welcomes a big weekend crowd, it has a consistent weekday lineup of activities like live music and trivia.
Drink of Choice: The Dudley Do-Right (Whiskey, cranberry juice, lime, and amaretto)
Father’s Office Culver City
This gastropub, aka part bar/part restaurant, with multiple locations, is becoming somewhat of a Los Angeles institution gaining acclaim for their adults-only restrictions and tasty food like the “Office Burger.” As for drinks, Father’s Office features beer “along with esoteric small producer wines, micro-distilled spirits, and classic cocktails”.
Drink of Choice: One of the 36 on-tap beers, which rotates by season, and is great paired with one of the bites.
Public School 310
With their classroom-themed decorations, Public School 310 gives their patrons the never experienced (unless your teenage years were particularly wild) bizarre feeling of drinking at school. Make sure to stop by for “Recess”, which is what they call Happy Hour, for some discounted drinks and cheesy bacon tots.
Drink of Choice: A half-liter of wine is only $15 during Recess — just throwing that out there.
Although we’re talking about bars here, it feels important to mention that City Tavern has a grilled cheese ranked in the Top 10 Best Grilled Cheeses in Los Angeles. In other news, the brick interior creates a cozy feel and with custom cocktails as well as self-serve beer taps, City Tavern is a great place for an afternoon buzz.
Drink of Choice: Duster (Jalapeno infused tequila, mescal, ruby red grapefruit juice, lime juice, and agave)
Something about the name seems to evoke extreme images of strong hipster-dom, and yes there are a few lurking here. To add to that atmosphere, the Blind Barber itself is very much a speakeasy — those who don’t know what they are looking for could easily go in, get a legitimate haircut, and leave before knowing there is a bar hiding in the back.
Drink of Choice: Batman (Ford’s gin, elderflower liqueur, lemon, Peychaud’s bitters, mint)
Oldfield’s Liquor Room
Named after a pioneer of auto racing, Barney Oldfield, Oldfield’s Liquor Room is a chilled saloon that definitely feels like a throwback with its heavy wood features, tiled floors, leathered seats, and antique kitsch.
Drink of Choice: Zack’s Daq* (Plantation Pineapple rum, Clement Creole Shrubb, lime, Angostura bitters)
*Yes, this completely based on the name. Other potentially better refreshments include the Pisco-based, Ember Glow, and the Prickly in Pink, which utilizes prickly pears from cacti.
The Bar at Culver Hotel
Moody in the best way, The Bar at Culver Hotel, along with its Velvet Lounge, is not a typical neighborhood bar but rather with its candlelit tables and smooth jazz, it feels plenty classy.
Fun fact: according to legend, the Munchkins from The Wizard of Oz partied hard here in between shoots for the Technicolor classic. Oh, it also used to be owned by John Wayne.
Drink of Choice: Has to be the Yellow Brick Lemonade (La Caravedo Pisco, Passion Fruit Puree, Lemonade). Shout out to the Lollipop Guild.