Over the weekend, you may have noticed that we were Tweeting about a few Downtown watering holes. Well, we were on a bar crawl where we took to public transportation and walking to go from bar to bar Downtown and eventually to Silver Lake. It was most definitely a fun experience even though the end of the crawl left us all a bit dazed and glassy eyed (AKA very intoxicated). Thus, we wanted to share a little bar crawl that gives you a good survey of Downtown and Silver Lake and is very much Metro accessible.
We all gathered at LAIY writer Mad Ex and artist Erin Burrell‘s house for celebratory Jell-O shots, an overview of the day’s plan, and instructions to use the hashtag #BARCRAWL2012 to document our journey on any social media (i.e. Twitter and Instagram). Bobby and I toted around our camera to document things as well (which, as you will see from the ninety photos, go from perfectly normal documenting to blurred and flared documenting). We all hopped on the Line 2 bus on Sunset and were on our way to start a long day of drinking in Los Angeles…
Stop One: Lucky Strike
Sure, this place is no good. Actually, this place is quite terrible. Located inside L.A. Live, we started here to get a sense of the most commercial of the commercial places Downtown and because it seemed like the silliest, most extremely ridiculous in the complex. The place is completely lit red and top forty music is pumped into the space while a softball game played on the televisions and really, really, really bad art outsourced from third party websites are displayed on nearby screens. There’s lots of Shepard Fairey artwork and other wannabe Shepard Fairey pieces in the space so, yes, it’s totally edgy. The service was a bit of a disaster, the bartenders somehow only able to take one drink order at a time. We ended up grabbing a waaaaaaaay tooooooo sweeeeet mojito and the “Laker Shaker” as I took it upon myself to get the drink most emblematic of the venue. We also ordered some fries which were so good bad/bad good you couldn’t not eat them.
Stop Two: Hank’s
After a short pitstop on FIDM’s campus to joke around in their park we arrived at Hank’s, which I had never heard of. Hank’s is this extremely old dive located in the likely seedy and haunted Stillwell Hotel, which also houses Uncle John’s Café and Gill’s Indian Restaurant. Hank’s is a gem: it’s pretty dimly lit, is only filled with local regulars who look like they run on alcohol, and is tended by a super kindly gentleman who poured the stiffest drinks out of all the bartenders on this trip.
Most people took the opportunity at Hank’s to fill up on whiskey drinks, which were all whiskey with a splash of mixer (one person got a Red Bull and vodka and the bartender filled up a tall glass with vodka on ice, splashed Red Bull, and handed him the can with the vodka). To fulfill my house drink rule, I grabbed a Stanley Shot, AKA cough syrup. The drink is made in honor of the King’s vying for the cup and consisted of blackberry brandy, vodka, and cranberry juice. I couldn’t imagine a more “BLEH” shot in my life but I shot it with two others and definitely shook my head furiously for two minutes trying to get the bite out of my mouth. It also must be noted that Hank’s also has hot dogs for customers, which we unfortunately did not try.
Stop Three: Spring Street Bar
At this point, everyone was starting to feel good: we were three drinks in plus Jell-O shots beforehand. Spring Street Bar was definitely one of the best stops on the trip and likely one that we’ll repeatedly return to. It’s laid back and the drinks are good and they have a great happy hour. They also have really great sandwiches, too. The most surprising? The Veggie Melt. What an extremely shockingly good non-meat sandwich. Check it out, if you are there. We opted for some beer and whiskey cocktails since Spring doesn’t necessarily have any cocktails unique to them (and it was happy hour and well drinks were $5 each).
Stop Four: The Biltmore
After a walk through Pershing Square (which I had never been through and it reminded me of a vacant LA version of San Francisco’s Union Square) and attempt to take a photo of us all jumping in the air, we made it to The Biltmore. This spot, guys: if you haven’t been here, you have to go here. I had been here once before years ago but couldn’t remember the name or location for the life of me. Right when I walked in, I knew where I was and I giggled with joy. The place is this suppppper old Hollywood hotel with an amazing bar that is both posh and outdated and cheesy: the entire place aspires to be a haunt for Frank Sinatra’s ghost.
Now please note this if you plan on doing this crawl yourself: this is when people started to turn from normal to ~*~cRaZy~*~ as drink four was waving hello to their brain. We kept it cool here and got the Classic Manhattan and Manhattan Vacation from their legendary Manhattan Menu. The Classic was out of control great while the Vacation was just okay. The moral? Don’t mess with or stray from the Classic.
Stop Five: Perch
We’d heard about Perch for some time and had been meaning to go for months. This was the most surprising of them all: it was nice and the drinks were great and the service was wonderful and the views were–duh–really good. We could very easily see this place getting a little overrun with “cool” folks later in the evening but at 7PM on a Saturday it was perfect. Protip, though: go upstairs to the top patio for drinks and a shorter line to the bar. The house cocktail here was the French 64. It was fine. Not as good as the view and the lighting at that time of day, which inspired a little drunken photoshoot of each participant in the trip. My, how people love taking and having their photo taken after a few drinks.
We also grabbed a Manhattan here which eclipsed The Biltmore’s take on the drink. With the help of a bartender, we were also steered to get an off-the-menu Sazerac which was a sweeter version of the cocktail but one of the best drinks of the night, hands down. This is one place that we highlit and circled over and over again to revisit: it’s just wonderful!
Once all tabs were paid and we could stand up straight, we rode the Perch elevator down and ran to the Pershing Square subway back to the Sunset and Vermont subway stop. The ride resulted in lots of silliness and us spending most of the ride talking to and making faces at a baby. The trip did show how close Silver Lake is to the Vermont/Sunset Metro stop, which is something that never clicked in our heads until this point. And, if anything, it’s super close to our next stop…
Stop Six: Akbar
This is really when things got ~*~SiLLy~*~ and everyone ordered way-too-strong drinks and started to try to dance and talk to strangers and bum cigarettes and weave in and out of memory. We stayed here for what seemed like twenty minutes but was actually a little over an hour and a half. After wrangling the drunk and hungry troops we moved on to the “after party” of #BARCRAWL2012, which we did not plan specifically but probably knew subconsciously that we would land there.
Stop Seven: Del Taco
This poor, poor Del Taco on Sunset near Akbar. They undoubtedly get the craziest of crazies up in their space around midnight, which we most definitely were. We all ordered an absurd amount of tacos and stole nearly half of the restaurant’s space to sit. Thankfully, our desire to keep the crawl going was greater than our love of fast food tacos because we were on the move in about twenty minutes.
Stop Eight: El Chavito
After being turned away from a too busy Tiki-Ti, we made our way to El Chavito next door. And, thank heavens we did, because Tiki-Ti’s drinks would have been too strong for us and we were too many people to fit into that smokey little bar. Thankfully, El Chavito had the outdoor space for us to go wild and make performance art jokes, breaking a glass or two and charge our phones in outlets on their patio. I’m sure many in the group don’t remember this but I made lots of us take Bandera Shots because you just have to do that when you are at El Chavito. Surely, this pushed most of us into mania.
Thankfully, we only wreaked havoc on the space for a little under an hour since they stopped serving drinks not too long after we arrived. We then made a long trek back to Mad Ex and Erin’s, which entailed lots of detours and silly antics associated with walking home around 3AM. #BARCRAWL2012 from Downtown to Silver Lake was most certainly insane–and insanely fun. It covered so much of Los Angeles and required none of us to drive: how fantastic is that? You should do a similar crawl but do note: go with a friend who lives nearby the crawl’s ending location so that you can crash on that friend’s floor.