Wednesday, September 18, 2013

33 Taps Sports Bar Takes Over Dillons space at Hollywood and Vine


33 Taps - New bar at Hollywood/Vine
33 Taps is Hollywood's new sports bar located at the famous (or infamous) section of Hollywood and Vine. Many L.A Boozehounds are probably familiar with this space as it previously housed Dillon's "Irish" Pub....which was quite popular for their $3 all day draft prices.

For those mourning the loss of Dillons. Not to worry as they are scheduled to reopen very soon just down the street in the space that once housed Booze LA favorite Tavern on Hollywood ( 6327 Hollywood Blvd) It was a favorite because of their AMAZING $2.50 happy hour from 12-7pm daily on draft beer. It was also nice not dealing with the Dillon crowds. They also served their beer in chilled pint glasses. Despite these amazing features...they did not last.

Anyways enough of nostalgia. Let's talk about a place that you can actual get a brew at today...and that would be 33 Taps. Visually 33 Taps looks quite similar to Dillon's , but it has more of a modern American gastropub look versus a faux Irish pub look. More of a dark feel overall.

33 Taps has many draft beers on tap. The selection seems to include more craft beers and specifically more local taps than were on draft at Dillon's. I also find it nice that while not ALL the beers are $3, there are still some selections at the $3 price level such as Pabst and Budweiser. As delicious as craft beer is, at $6+ a pop they can add up. One thing a bit different about the beer list is that they list the name of the beer , but not the brewery. For most of the 'big brand' beers this doesn't matter as much, but on the crafts I think it's nice to have this info. For example, Angel City's Angeleno IPA is just listed on the menu as Angeleno.

The food menu has a nice variety with bar 'standards' such as chicken wings, sliders and burgers. In addition to the old standbys one can also order salads, flat breads and a variety of sandwiches. Another interesting touch on their menu is the Kids Menu (all items $7). Overall 33 Taps seems to be striving to a wide varied of people; craft beer drinkers, cheap beer drinkers, meat eaters, veterinarians and even kids! Bartender on duty was friendly and the operation seemed to be well run. Would definitely check this place out again.

Another nice thing is their recently announced happy hour (and there I was going to complain that they didn't offer Happy Hour!) Their current happy hour as of  September 18th,2013 is included below for your convenience!






Friday, September 14, 2012

Bar One Beer & Wine Parlour North Hollywood





Looking for a laid back but classy type of establishment that pours a well selected variety of craft beer and wines...in North Hollywood?


 Do you want to enjoy your beverages in an environment that looks and smells clean and has friendly bartenders that actually help you select a drink for you? Do you want to watch cult movies like Big Lebowski instead of "the game"? Do you want to listen to vinyl records brought in by customers (Weds nights)? Do you like belgian fries , flatbread pizzas and chicken and waffle sliders? 

Chicken and Waffle Slider (YUM!)

Belgian Fries with dipping sauces!


If you answered yes to any or many of these questions Bar One Beer & Wine Parlour in North Hollywood might be for you. Definitely a gem in the valley ...or anywhere in L.A for that matter! They also have a happy hour 6-9 Daily  $1 off drinks. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Tavern on Hollywood



The Tavern on Hollywood  (located on ...you guessed it Hollywood Blvd) is one of the latest additions to the Hollywood bar scene. The place is only about 3 weeks old I believe. The previous business to operate in this space was Osaka which was owned by Adolfo Suaya (owner of BoHo gastropub down the street at Hollywood/Highland). I never went to Osaka which was apparently a Peruvian fusion restaurant. Apparently most of the interior was left the same which is nice because it looks like an upscale place. 

Our initial attraction to Tavern on Hollywood was the low low price of $2.50 per pint of draft beer (regular prices are $5.00). The nice part is that they have 42 beers on tap, and everything is available at the happy hour prices except for  ABT 12 St. Benardus, Gulden Draak and Chimay. When I heard they had 42 taps I was expecting that only the mass market beers like Budlight,Coors and Pabst but it was a nice surprise to discover that we could enjoy Torpedo Extra IPA, Redhook Longhammer IPA , Firestone Union Jack , Anchor Liberty Ale and many others at such low prices.

 If you aren't a beer drinker they also offer a 2 for 1 on well drinks , making them $3 each (normally $6) which is also a great deal for the area. Another nice thing about their happy hour is that it is daily (yes that means weekends too!) from Noon-7pm! In regards to food to soak up all that cheap booze you'll be drinking they also have a food menu. The menu has the standard bar fare such as fries, mozzarella sticks, hot wings, nachos for the most part. We tried the sweet potato fries and they came out great, served hot and with a side of chipotle ketchup. The bartender also mentioned that the menu will be changing soon.  We sat at the bar and the bartenders were friendly and attentive. There are also lot's of tables with couches and two other bars to sit at which was really nice.

Looking forward to visiting again sometime soon to try some more of their beers and food items. Their happy hour is definitely hard to beat,especially considering the wide range of beers available and the swanky environment to enjoy them in!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

B├Ąco Mercat

Went here around brunch time and it was packed. I suggest reservations. We did not have reservations however; the hostess at the front was very nice and kept checking to see if she could squeeze us in sooner than our 15 minute wait. And she did.... we only waited about 5 minutes and we were quickly seated and greeted once again by a friendly server. Their customer service is excellent. A little too excellent because they take away your plate so fast. It kind of made me nervous for how fast they remove your plate. LOL.

Amazing storefront.The decor was wonderful. It has architectural character. It was well lit with a "skylight" towards the back. They had these really cool vintage chairs that didn't look comfortable but they were extremely comfortable.

Ok, so lets get to the BOOZE part. For brunch they offer bloody mary's and mimosas however; they have a FULL BAR with different wine, draught beer, bottle & can beer, cocktails and spirits! Another interesting beverage is their baco pop (non-alcoholic). It contains orange, ginger and juniper soda. It was really sweet but refreshing. The only downfall was the water they brought to the table. It was warm and came in this glass container that looked really dusty on the outside. Just drink the Booze I guess and don't drink the water. Yikes!



baco pop!

As for the food. Since baco mercat is home of the "baco," the signature flatbread sandwich created by chef Josef Centeno.
We ordered the "el pesco" baco sandwich which was very tasty. It was crispy shrimp, sriracha and chive. It was very filling but I can honestly eat about 3 of them since they are so good and melted in my mouth... but that might be too much food to eat! We also, ordered a "con tomate" double crispy "coca" (crispy flatbread). It consisted of tomato, oregano and extra virgin olive oil. I enjoyed the flatbread. It tasted like a flour tortilla chip. It probably should have a tiny bit more sauce though.



"con tomate" double crispy

We will be back. There is still many more items we would like to try on the menu.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Taste of Brews 2012 Long Beach


Official Taste of Brews Mini Tasting Stein

The 2012 Taste of Brews Festival occupied beautiful Lighthouse Park in Long Beach this past Saturday and I have to say it was quite well run and enjoyable! We had early admission tickets (NOON-4PM) which was nice as it allowed us first dibs at the beer and food samples available. Even though it never got totally packed to the point where it got annoying anytime throughout the event, it was nice having the early admission tickets. Throughout the event the lines were pretty short, which was definitely nice. Waiting to long for brew is definitely a buzz kill! I had never been to Lighthouse Park before, but you couldn't ask for a prettier location for an outdoor festival and the weather was really nice too.

Lighthouse Park with Tents in Background


The brewers that participated in the event were headquartered in several different states but the majority were from California, including a number of OC based breweries. There were some well known craft breweries as well as breweries that I had not heard of which was cool. There were mass market beers such as Newcastle and ShockTop too ... So there was something for all tastes....unless you were expecting Bud Light. Complete list of breweries at the event is at http://www.tasteofbrews.com/thebrews.html  . NOTE: We are not sure if the same breweries will be present at the Taste of Brews on September 29th in Dana Point.


Magic Hat Brewing hailing from South Burlington,VT - Magical Beer!

ShockTop VW Bug..Had a working beer tap in the back!

Free Food Samples: In addition to the beer there were some local restaurants and food related places handing out FREE samples. Although it is hard to turn down a craft beer festival...the free food samples were definitely a selling point when we considered going to this event. The most generous restaurant giving out free samples was STACKED ( http://stacked.com/)  based in Cerritos. They were giving out plates of food...with a chocolate chip cookie!

Generous free plate of food from STACK(in Cerritos) restaurant




House of Big Fish based in Laguna Beach ,CA was offering up mini shrimp cocktails.

Hooters was giving out tasty little boneless chicken wings with a side of ranch. Venissimo cheese was giving out some tasty cheese samples , it looks like they have four shops in Long Beach,Del Mar and San Diego.

Free Boneless Chicken Wings courtesy of Hooters



Food : In addition to the food free food samples there were also a handful of food trucks at the event . All the food trucks we tried were new to us so that was pretty cool. When you are sampling dozens of beers you need some food in your system!


Komodo Truck - Tasty Asian/Mexican fusion
Tacos from Komodo Truck


Rebel Bite Truck: Specializes in Grilled Cheeses w/ Attitude!

Bacon/Tomato Patty!



The crowd at the event was pretty laid back and everyone seemed to be having a good time without drama. There were police officers on site which made the event feel safe.

There was a stage setup with live music playing, although most people were too busy sampling beers to pay too much attention having a live band playing definitely added to the atmosphere. The band was playing mostly classic rock covers....which is good beer tastin' music.


We were given drink tickets which seemed to be required by the alcohol dept (according to the email from the event organizers) , but a number of tickets were given and some places were not collecting them. The drink tickets seemed to be a last minute addition, so I'm not sure if all the brewery representatives were sure of what to do.



Conclusion: In all this was a great beer festival and one that I will look forward to next year. It was a nice relaxed way to sample many beers from dozens of breweries . If you missed the long beach event there will be another taste of brews sept 29th in Dana point. Tickets for "Taste of Brews" Dana Point are still available at http://www.tasteofbrews.com/eventdetails2.html.

Next Door Lounge in Hollywood


Left: Mai Tai   Right: Watermelon Martini


Visiting Next Door Lounge in Hollywood makes me wish I lived next door to it...and to think I used to live just a mile away (practically stumbling distance!). Next Door Lounge is a sophisticated speakeasy that is located next door to the Hollywood Corner cafe on Highland Avenue. Next Door Lounge and Hollywood Corner share the same owner. We made a reservation for a Saturday and we were emailed a password that we would need to get inside. Outside we were greeted by the doorman that was all dressed up. Once inside you feel like you are in almost in a different era with the decor and the staff is all dressed up , with the men in suits and women in flapper style outfits. We came early and there were not too many people when we got there , but it quickly became busier. Reservations are highly recommended because then you can actually sit down on nice couches or chairs , but these seating areas are limited. They don't have a full menu, but they have several appetizers and flat breads.


Pulled pork sliders!

We tried the smoked pulled pork sliders which are topped with guacamole, sour cream,  crispy onion and apple coleslaw. Definitely and interesting and tasty take on the standard slider. We also tried the sweet potato fries which are served with curry ketchup. We also tried their South of the Border wood fired pizza which had grilled chicken , corn, green pepper, red onion, mozzarella, avocado,cilantro ,bbq and chipotle aioli. The flavors on this pizza blended together nicely!


South of the Border Pizza and Sweet Potato Fries

In the Booze department we tried their Moscow Mule, Madattan (w/ Balcones baby Blue, Benedictine,Cynar, Wild Flower Bitters) and their Mai Tai. All the drinks were well crafted and you could tell that they used very fresh ingredients in their drinks. Next Door's cocktails are priced at $12-14 each, which is surely not a bargain, but offer "happier hours" where you can imbibe at a more reasonable $6-8 for their hand crafted cocktails. They also have a selection of draft beer such as White Rascal , Hofbrau and Affligem on their "happier hours" menu  for $4 , also not too bad a deal. You can also score some decent deals on their food during these times with sliders and a couple of their pizzas at $6 each. Their happier hours are Tuesday -Friday 5-8pm!


Cheers!

Conclusion : Next Door Lounge is one of our new favorite spots in L.A . Not too many places especially in Hollywood offer such a pleasant environment combined with well crafted drinks





Tuesday, August 21, 2012

L.A Craft Beer Crawl 2012 RECAP

So many beers...so little time!

The 3rd Annual L.A Craft Beer Crawl that took place Saturday, August 18th was pretty much a beer lovers dream come true. The event was co-hosted by the Beer Chicks and 213 Nightlife. With so many craft breweries opening in California there were plenty of delicious beers to sample on this warm summer day. Registration went rather smoothly for an event with 2,000 attendees , but craft beer loving folks tend to be a rather civilized bunch. I think it helped that attendees were able to check in early. We checked in about 30minutes prior to the event and used that extra time to take the hike over to head over to Cana Rum Bar on Olympic and Flower. Our thinking was that since this was the furthest out establishment on the crawl , it would be less occupied by our fellow beer lovers. Although it felt crowded it was nothing like the other spots on the crawl. Another reason was simply because we were hungry and we knew that the Ludo Bites truck would be stationed there. Nothin' like some pairing some tasty brews with some fried chicken goodness.


Tasting Glass (I think 6oz)...wish it had been bigger!

The beers offered at Cana Rum bar actually turned out to be our favorite brews on the crawl : White Thai and Test Flight by Kinetic Brewery. Also at Cana we tried both offerings from El Segundo Brewery . Sand Dune and Citra Pale. Both were decent beers, but they were being served out of a pitcher as opposed to straight from the keg causing the beer to be a bit too warm for our liking...especially since this beer was being served on Cana's outdoor patio.

Chicken Strips@Ludo Truck
Biscuits w/ Honey @Ludo Truck

It was our first time trying the Ludo Truck and it was quite scrumptious indeed. We got the chicken strips with honey mustard. A nice tasty batter surrounded by good quality pieces of chicken and not a greasy mess like most chicken strips. From what i've been reading (on the side of his truck)  Chef Ludo Lefebvre has been on Top Chef Masters and Iron Chef America and worked in some fancy  restaurants.

Next stop was the Broadway Bar. Now this bar was packed to the gills with beer swillin' folk. At broadway we tried the Blond 5 and Tripel 9 from Brouwerki West and Saison du Buff (A collaboration with Dogfish Head and Victory Brewing  and Stone 16th Anniversary Ale from Stone Brewing.We also tried Pour Toi and Rosa's Hips from Monkish.
Broadway Bar's Packed Interior (view from staircase0

After stepping out of sweat drenched Broadway it was of course time for MORE FOOD!...We noticed several attendees and Beer Crawl staff enjoying some tasty NY style pizza from Two Boots Pizza next door so we decided to check it out. We shared a piece of cheese pizza. The pizza was definately tasty , it had that crispyness you look for in a slice of NYC pizza. The other slices looked pretty tasty too and were named after cult heros such as "The Dude" and "Tony Clifton". Also Two Boots actually has outpots in NYC so extra brownie points for them for authenticity. I could see this place doing well,especially considering it's right next to a bar (and close to other bars) that don't serve food.
Two Boots Cheese Pizza w/ Parmesan


Next stop (I think!...) was the Golden Gopher. The line to get into the Golden Gopher was a little long, but it gave us some time for to try a Philly Cheesesteak from the South Philly Truck. It was a pretty decent cheesesteak , and definitely helped to soak up the suds on this crawl. You definitely don't wanna do a crawl on an empty stomach! At the Golden Gopher we had Hanger 24's Orange Wheat , this was a nice refreshing wheat...great for a hot summer day. At the Gopher we also sampled Ballast Point Brewing's  Sculpin IPA.

At Cole's we tried Triple White Sage by Craftsman Brewing Company and Unionist and Populist IPA by Eagle Rock Brewing. Of course since we were at Cole's we had to get one of their famous french dip sandwiches. You're probably thinking this turned out to be more of a food crawl...but remember those words of wisdom "Thou Shall Not Crawl on an Empty Stomach"...i'm pretty sure it's one of the 10 commandments. The french dip was pretty tasty, and the little thing of horseradish is a nice touch..but as a french dip lover ..can't say it's THE BEST french dip ever.

After leaving Cole's , next stop on the crawl was Las Perlas. Las Perlas is a Mexican themed bar specializing in tequilas and mezcals . Las Perlas was kind of small, hot and stuffy so we didn't spend too much time in there..we did fill our glasses with some Get up Off That Brown and Point the Way IPA from Golden Road which we have had before . We chated with the dude from Golden Road for a couple minutes and he told us they'll be celebrating their 1 year anniversary soon. Pretty amazing since it seems it was just yesterday that we attended the Grand Opening at the brewery.

Next up was Seven Grand. I have always wanted to check out Seven Grand, so I was happy to hear that it was one of the stops on the crawl. I'm looking forward to revisiting this bar to try some whiskey based drinks. At Seven Grand the highlights were the Brasserie d'Chouffe Biere de Soleil and the Ommegang Witte by Brewery Ommegang.

We finished off our crawl at the bar that we checked in at ...Casey's Irish Pub. At Casey's we tried Allagash White from Allagash Brewing Sir Walter's Scottish Ale from Craft Brewing Company. Both tasty solid beers. Casey's actually serves food...but we didn't sample any of it. Next time for sure we want to try their Irish Faire. Also planning to check out their happy hour as well as it sounds pretty good. Everyday from 3-7pm and all night on Mondays.

Conclusion: The 3rd Annual L.A Craft Beer Crawl was totally a blast. It was an amazing experience to try so many local California beers in some of L.A's best bars. Also the food that we tried was all pretty delicious too.  If you missed this year's crawl I would definitely recommend going next year!