Bar Crawl: Downtown LA

A boozy tour of the best bars in downtown LA

The Varnish

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What can you expect from a bar crawl in downtown L.A.? An expertly mixed classic cocktail at the unmarked watering hole The Varnish to start, followed by a mezcal tasting at dedicated den Las Perlas. Pit stops for egg white cocktails, whiskey, and powerful rum-based drinks round out this boozy trail.

For Drinks Featuring Homemade Bitters and Infusions

Where: The Varnish, 118 East 6th Street, (213) 622 - 9999

Nestled into a tiny, unmarked back room of the legendary L.A. sandwich shop Cole’s French Dip, The Varnish is a dark speakeasy-style bar with an unflinching passion for the freshest homemade infusions and mixtures. It’s the kind of place where you almost wish you needed a password to get in and where you’ll always enjoy drinking the "bartender’s choice."


For Slamming Back Tequila Shots

Where: Las Perlas, 107 East 6th Street, (213) 988 - 8355

There's hardly a need for the standard "What'll you have?" question here because the answer is always going to be the same: mezcal. The bar is completely dedicated to the spirit, so the only thing you'll need to ask yourself is whether you want it straight or mixed in one of their sensational cocktails.


For Intellectual Drinkers

Where: The Association, 110 East 6th Street, (213) 627 - 7385

Knowledgeable bartenders eager to whip up drinks to order and a sensuous yet bookish atmosphere are notable qualities of The Association. Order a drink prepared with egg whites — it’s their specialty.


For Whiskey Lovers

Where: Seven Grand, 515 West 7th Street, (213) 614 - 0737

There are 300-plus premium whiskies, rare ryes, and small-batch bourbons on the menu. For the whisky/whiskey lover, do any other details really matter?


For a Rum-filled Nightcap

Where: Cana Rum Bar, 714 West Olympic Boulevard, (213) 745 - 7090

Cana Rum Bar is known for reinterpreting time-honored cocktails. Take for example the Tennesse Isle, a spin on the classic Sazerac featuring Prichard’s Fine Rum and overripe mango-infused absinthe.


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