The aptly named Old Fashioned is one of the oldest mixed drinks around. While variations to the basic recipe exist, the drink starts with sugar (cubes or simple syrup), a bit of water, and bitters. To that, a fine rye or bourbon, like Elijah Craig Bourbon, is added and stirred with ice until cold. Often a twist of orange peel is squeezed and placed on top. In the hands of a deft bartender, the Old Fashioned highlights the best notes of a complex whiskey. Here’s where to find some of the best Old Fashioneds across Los Angeles.Read More
Where to Get the Best Old Fashioned in LA
Scopa Italian Roots
It’s best to have a reservation (or loads of patience) at this perennially hot Venice Italian restaurant. But once seated — at the bar or a table — it’s all about the simple but pitch-perfect Italian fare (an Italian chopped salad, perhaps, with a dish of cavatelli, sausage, rapini, and pecorino Romano), and the drinks to go with it. It’s hard to choose between something from the notable whiskey selection or a perfectly mixed Elijah Craig Old Fashioned served with the large ice cube that the drink demands, but the latter is hard to beat. Top off the night at Old Lightning, a speakeasy hidden within the restaurant.
A bar from a time when Venice and Abbot Kinney weren’t on the Instagram influencer map, the Brig is loud, and sometimes a bit rowdy, but it’s got more than a few quality whiskeys available, including Elijah Craig Small Batch and Barrel Proof. Drink ‘em straight or turn to that standard-bearer, the Old Fashioned. There’s no lack of extra entertainment here either, with the pool table, frequent live music performances, and food trucks parked just outside the door. It’s a complete night out in Westside LA all in one locale.
While Suzanne Goin and Caroline Styne’s A.O.C. in Beverly Grove is well-known as a wine bar and small plates joint, it’s equally good at turning out classic cocktails. An Old Fashioned here makes a great pairing with a plate of cured meats and cheeses or roasted chicken with green olives. Or, for a twist, try the Pendennis cocktail, made with Elijah Craig bourbon, house bitters, and allspice dram. Of special note for cocktail lovers: The cocktail hour, daily from 5 to 7 p.m., is when specialty cocktails, as well as focaccia and Spanish fried chicken, come at a discount.
Another Suzanne Goin-Caroline Styne hit on this list, the Tavern Restaurant is best known for its California-Mediterranean dishes. But its bar menu and stellar happy menu is not one to be missed. The Tavern Classic Old Fashioned, on the menu through the spring, is made with Elijah Craig Small Batch bourbon, Demerara syrup, bitters, and brandy soaked cherries. It’ll go well with one of the burgers on the menu, like the Niman Ranch burger with fontina cheese, or the happy hour larder board.
The Nickel Mine
There’s no rule that an Old Fashioned has to be drunk in fancy environs. This West LA sports bar is a place where you can feel confident that your Old Fashioned, made with Elijah Craig Small Batch bourbon, will be made the right way, the game will be on, and thin-crust pizza and other solid pub grub is just an order away. The spot’s lengthy whiskey selection includes top names and more than a few hard-to-find bottles from around the world. Late-night hours and a Sunday through Friday happy hour help seal the deal for the Nickel Mine as a go-to sports bar that offers a little bit more.
Upscale but unpretentious, Granville puts an emphasis on using artisanal and fresh ingredients in its food menu — so it should be no surprise that the cocktail menu is no different. The Gran Old Fashioned is an updated version on the classic, made with Elijah Craig Small Batch bourbon, a port cherry syrup, and from-scratch cherry vanilla bitters (which, wow). Granville’s laidback atmosphere means you can settle in for an Old Fashioned or two along with some shareable plates. The Gran Old Fashioned would go perfect with the grilled cheese dipper.
This all-day Italian-American stop in Los Feliz is a favorite, whether for ricotta cheese and blueberry pancakes, a chicken parm sandwich, or spaghetti and meatballs. The place, which opened in 2007, feels like it’s been around forever with its wooden bar, red leather bar stools, and cozy booths. Its cocktails don’t disappoint either, especially if you skew old-school, like with the Old Fashioned or house Boulevardier, made with Elijah Craig bourbon, Campari, Alessio sweet vermouth, orange bitters, and a lemon twist. And if you get there soon, try their custom Elijah Craig Old Fashioned; made with butternut squash, walnut bitters, and nutmeg, it should make for a perfect fall treat.
This Silverlake neighborhood spot dishes up the kind of fare that warms the belly — baked mac and cheese topped with garlic chili bread crumbs, warm bacon, and blue cheese salad, and braised oxtail ragu — and the same is true of its cocktail offerings. An Old Fashioned just seems to make sense amidst the decor, a nod to the building’s past as a circa-1924 fire station, with a dark wood bar, a pressed-tin ceiling, and framed photos of silent film stars set on antique-looking wallpaper. Not listed on the menu, but always served upon request, Edendale’s Old Fashioned is also topped off with Elijah Craig Small Batch bourbon.
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a swankier bar than the one at the InterContinental Hotel. It helps that it’s 73 stories high, as the hotel is the tallest building on the West Coast. At Spire 73, the tallest open-air bar in the Western Hemisphere, the cocktail menu is as expansive as the views. There’s several twists on the Old Fashioned, but we prefer the most classic of them: Cozy up near a fire pit and order the Los Agelenos Old Fashioned, made with Elijah Craig Small Batch bourbon, maple syrup, angostura bitters, and an orange twist.
DAMA Fashion District Restaurant & Bar
There’s no shortage of atmospheric spots to sip an Old Fashioned at this indoor-outdoor pan-Latin Fashion District spot. The 5,000-square-foot space — once home to the Pacific Banana Co. building — now riffs on a tropical theme in multiple drinking and dining nooks, from a central bar with a commanding art deco light fixture to an expansive outdoor area. The cocktail menu by Pablo Moix includes blended drinks you’d want to sip on a Havana patio and plenty of classic cocktails. Try a dynamite Old Fashioned with Elijah Craig Single Barrel bourbon, or dare to go summery with the Derby Tropical, made with Elijah Craig Small Batch bourbon, pineapple, lemon, and mint. It’ll go well with chef Antonia Lofaso’s far-reaching menu that jumps from the Caribbean to Spain and beyond.
A “big” restaurant in every way, Redbird in Downtown LA impresses in its hallowed space, a former rectory of a cathedral, in chef Neal Fraser’s food menu of both expected (bone-in rib-eye) and unexpected (barbecued smoked tofu) dishes, and in Tobin Shea’s back-to-the-classics cocktail menu. The latter has all kinds of ingredients you don’t see at every bar, but the bartenders are well-schooled in the classics like the Old Fashioned, served in appropriate glassware and with an orange peel. For a limited time, you can also order up a special Old Fashioned; dubbed the Kentucky Colonel, it’s made with Elijah Craig Small Batch bourbon, Benedictine, bitters, orange essence, and an orange peel for garnish.
Everson Royce Bar
You know you’re in good hands at this Arts District bar when you take a look at the bar’s spirits list. It’s long and includes notes on just about every liquor out there, including whiskey. There’s an especially large list of bourbons from Elijah Craig, which the bartenders will happily make into an Old Fashioned. Fortify yourself for a game of bocce with something off the short but serviceable food menu, like a burger made with prime beef chuck and topped with Tillamook cheddar and a dill pickle or buttermilk biscuits with honey butter.
When you want a comfortable pubby spot in Covina, the Lincoln House, decorated with visages of the country’s 16th president, is the place. There are plenty of cocktails, like the barrel-aged Old Fashioned, and don’t miss the Wednesday special when all whiskey is $5 off — why not go then and save on Elijah Craig Small Batch, Barrel Proof, or 18-year? To soak up the liquor, guests dive into the menu’s parade of greatest hits, from bacon deviled eggs to California dip sandwiches to fish and chips. Weekend nights often mean a live band; anything from rock to jazz to pop.