Arts & Entertainment

5 LA bars with the best Old-Fashioned. What's your favorite?

KPCC/Patrick Lee

If you're a cocktail connoisseur, you know: There's something to be said about an authentic Old-Fashioned adorned with a colossal ice cube and just the right balance of sweet and bitters. 

Leading up to our classic cocktail party at The Virgil Thursday (you're invited; RSVP here!) with Off-Ramp's John Rabe and four of L.A.'s best drinkers, we asked KPCC staff and listeners to share their favorite place in L.A. to order an Old-Fashioned. 

We've compiled five favorite spots below. Share your suggestions on Twitter (@ mention KPCC), on Facebook or scroll to the bottom and leave your bar of choice in comments (we're open to recipes, too!).  

Old-Fashioned L.A.

1. SEVEN GRAND | $12 regular hours, $5 happy hour

Directions to Seven Grand

Located next to Mas Malo in downtown Los Angeles, Seven Grand is a great happy hour spot to down a carefully prepared Old-Fashioned. Amenities include pool tables, intimate seating and handmade cocktails made with fresh ingredients. "I'm a fan of Maker's Mark (which is the house bourbon at Seven Grand)," Andrew London Park wrote on our Facebook page. "But what really makes their drinks stand out is the attention to detail and the care that each bartender takes in preparing the drinks." 

2. TOWNHOUSE | $12 regular hours, $5 happy hour 

Directions to Townhouse

Located in the heart of Venice and less than a block from the beach, Townhouse is a popular spot for Westsiders. Head downstairs to its speakeasy, also known as Del Monte, to enjoy live music and a delightful Old-Fashioned. Choose from an  incredible selection of whiskey and expect killer cubes. "The bottom floor has live music on any given night, including jazz and stand-up comedy," says our software developer Jeremy Cohen Hoffing. 

3. WATER GRILL | $12

Directions to Water Grill

You can judge a bar and a bartender by their Old-Fashioned, says Patrick Lee, KPCC's managing editor of digital news. What makes the cocktail at Water Grill so good? "No mashed fruit, not even a cherry, just a sugar cube mixed with bitters, a solid block of ice, a good bourbon or rye whiskey poured over it and garnished with a bit of lemon or orange peel."

4. THIRSTY CROW | $12 regular hours; $5 happy hour

Directions to Thirsty Crow

A mix of Buffalo Trace Bourbon, sugar, bitters and an orange zest make up the Thirty Crow's cocktail. The flamed orange peel and Luxardo cherries "are just amazing," wrote Kerri Dodgens on our Facebook page. "And they are particularly delish during the $5 happy hour."

5. COLE'S | $10 regular hours, $6 happy hour 

Directions to Cole's

This longtime staple in downtown Los Angeles isn't only known for the French dip. It's Old-Fashioned is so delicious that our politics reporter Alice Walton referred to it as "magic." KPCC digital producer Brian Frank concurs: "Nowhere else have I found an Old-Fashioned that marries the flavors so well. And, oh, the giant ice cube! No need to worry about ice melting and watering down your drink." Overall, Cole's received the most votes from KPCC staff and listeners hands down. 

Are you a cocktail connoisseur? Send your best recipes to or share in comments.