Silver Lake is one of the oldest areas in Los Angeles. It's where Walt Disney first set up shop and some of the most famous mid-century architectural giants built iconic homes. It's also a great destination for imbibing. Joe Keeper, of the definitive barware shop Bar Keeper, passes along his favorite watering holes in Silver Lake and neighboring Los Feliz.
By Joe Keeper
Silver Lake has the distinction of the birth of the Gay Rights Movement. The revolution occurred prior to the infamous Stonewall on the east coast. It used to be illegal for men or women to kiss in public. On New Year's Eve 1966 to 1967, the police infiltrated a local bar and waited until midnight when the celebratory New Year's kiss occurs. The vice began arresting people. The outcome was a riot and, in the following days, protests and marches occurred. A plaque across the street from Bar Keeper commemorates the event.
LOS FELIZ NEIGHBORHOOD
This is an Italian-American restaurant redone to feel like an old school neighborhood joint. It is the same owners as 101 Coffee Shop and Dominick's.
"They have excellent food with a great bar, but with a tiny footprint of a bar within the restaurant."
2128 Hillhurst Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90027
T: 323.661.0055 | www.littledoms.com
Located in a family-owned mini-mall, this is a dark bar that opens at the crack of dawn. Low on pretense, high on friendly, ample on pours. They also have a jukebox.
"A dive bar with lovely folks."
1800 Hillhurst Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90027
Located inside of the Alcove Restaurant, they make their cocktails with fresh juices, fresh herbs and house-made syrups. The good news is that Happy Hour begins at 2pm.
"Big Bar inside of the Alcove Restaurant has an outrageous bar program! What makes it so special, besides mixology caliber cocktails, is the decor. The back bar, which the customer faces, are glass windows overlooking the outside. A fabulous location for day drinking. Also, they honor East Coast time for happy hour...meaning happy hour commences at 2pm local time."
FED Pro > Barman Joe Keeper of Bar Keeper
1927 Hillhurst Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90027
T: 323.644.0100 | www.alcovecafe.com/bigbar
While the name implies that it is a bar, you might be better off describing it as a gastropub, serving burgers, sandwiches, salads, pasta, and breakfast on the weekends.
"A neighborhood unremarkable bar program, but great food."
4321 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90029
SILVER LAKE NEIGHBORHOOD
"Located at the corner of Edgecliff and Sunset, Darwin, the mixologist, creates some really special cocktails. While the cocktails are unique, they aren't so complicated that they are confusing. Cliff's Edge has no signage... so one must know its location."
3626 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90026
T: 323.666.6116 | www.cliffsedgecafe.com
A neighborhood pub with farm-to-table American food and classic cocktails.
"This is as close to a Sport's Bar you'll find around Silver Lake."
2538 Hyperion Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90027
T: 323.761.6440 | www.hyperionpublic.com
The Black Cat
Former gay bar that was raided by the cops in the mid-60s. It's now under new ownership and become a tavern with valet parking, a mix crowd, and a notable burger.
"This is a local neighborhood bar."
3909 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90029
T: 323.661.6369 | theblackcatla.com
A dark and moody neighborhood cocktail bar with leather banquettes and a big singles scene. On weekends, the cash-only Barbecue Pit Stop sets up in the parking lot from about 9:30pm until 2am.
"A pick-up bar."
4100 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90029
T: 323.666.4460 | 4100bar.com
Joe Keeper of Bar Keeper
Joe Keeper is the owner and curator of Bar Keeper in Silver Lake. Keeper has earned the respect from bartenders around the world for his unique and obscure selection of small batch spirits, bitters and vintage barware. If you watched the Television series "Mad Men," this was were they sourced their vintage barware.
What are the gems to be found at Bar Keeper?
"Bar Keeper can be subdivided into five categories -- Small Batch Spirits (i.e. out of the ordinary), Vintage Bar Ware (BK provided much of the barware for TV's Madmen), Bitters & Cocktail modifiers (i.e. BK carries over 150 different bitters and syrups), professional grade bartools, & glassware. Bar Keeper is one of the 'spokes' in the bartending community in Los Angeles. The bartender's guild and its off shoot, The Sporting Life, were formed here ten years ago. Perhaps the most unique inventory is our vast selection of Absinthe Accoutrements (i.e. fountains, glassware, spoons, Absinthe)."
3910 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90029
T: 323.669.1675 | www.barkeepersilverlake.com
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