Beat the summer heat at 3 new sizzling bars in Los Angeles.
By Andrea Richards, adapted from WHERE Los Angeles magazine
In the hip area known as Historic Filipinotown (“HiFi,” if you’re in-the-know), three Filipina women have opened Genever, an intimate speakeasy-style lounge that pays tribute to the history of women behind the bar (FYI: The term “speak easy” was coined by a female bartender 30 years before Prohibition). The innovative cocktails, of course, are primarily gin-based, and many incorporate Filipino flavors or ingredients such as tapioca, pandan and calamansi. The drinks are delicious, the art deco decor beautiful, and the crowd a diverse, friendly mix. This is both a destination bar and the prettiest watering hole around.
3123 Beverly Blvd., L.A., 323.577.5446. geneverla.com
2. Sam First
On the other side of town is Sam First, a stylish bar near LAX that proves to be the perfect place to wait out traffic after a rush-hour arrival (complete with happy hour specials). This oasis of cool perks up the airport-adjacent area with a menu of classic cocktails and midcentury-style decor. Plus, there’s live jazz on weekends.
6171 W. Century Blvd., Westchester, 424.800.2006. samfirstbar.com
3. Employees Only L.A.
Touching down in WeHo from New York is a West Coast branch of famed restaurant/bar Employees Only, with a beverage program overseen by EO founder Dushan Zaric. It’s twice the size of the NYC location but retains the same speakeasy-style entrance: The bar hides behind a fortune-teller’s shop, complete with psychics. There’s also a speakeasy-within-a-speakeasy, Henry’s Room. Pair expertly executed cocktails with bistro fare from chef Sascha Lyon, should you care to order dinner. Or simply ask for a bartender’s choice by ordering a “Spin the Bottle,” which involves spinning an actual roulette-style wheel, selecting your spirit of choice and leaving the rest to chance via the capable hands behind the bar.
7953 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood, 323.536.9045. employeesonlyla.com
Genever photo courtesy of Noted Media. Sam’s Old Fashioned photo courtesy of White Oak Communications. Employees Only photo by Josh Telles.