Thursday, March 29, 2012

Culver City Bar Crawl: Oldfield's Liquor Room and Bigfoot West

The 1933 Group is taking over Venice Blvd in Culver City with bars. This portion of Venice seems a strange place for bars, with nothing much around it but dry cleaners and liquor stores, but both Oldfield's Liquor Room and Bigfoot West were packed on a Thursday night.

I was recently invited to a "bar crawl" to visit both Westside bars for the first time. We started the night at Oldfield's, and we started fast and furious. The standalone building looks old and small from the outside, but the interior is spacious and sophisticated. We were greeted by a bowl of the Shrub Punch (Tru organic gin, Clemente Creole shrub, blackberry rosemary shrub, lemon, Perrier). Shrub, a liqueur made with vinegar, is making a big comeback recently and I've seen it appear on many cocktail lists from LA to NY to Chicago see this NYT article back in October). I, for one, am a big fan of shrub and loved this punch, but looking at how many cocktails we had ahead of us, I had to resist getting seconds.

The cocktail menu is divided into their own modern concoctions, and the classics. We started on the first list with the Speed King (English Harbour 5yr rum, walnut liqueur, Cynar, house chocolate stout liqueur)

Photo courtesy of Oldfield's
I liked the hint of chocolate in this otherwise strong drink. I wasn't sure what to expect from the cocktails here but they were surprisingly good.
Next we had the Peerless (Miller's Westbourne gin, apricot liqueur, apricot nectar, Fever Tree ginger beer). This was my favorite, and easy to see why: gin, fruit, and ginger. Aromatic, sweet, and refreshing.

from the Classics menu:
Delicious Sour (circa late 1800's): Laird's Strait Bonded Applejack, peach brandy, fresh lime, egg white
Photo courtesy of Oldfield's
This was a little too sweet for me, but it will certainly have its own fans.

Our last cocktail was the Whiskey Sangaree (circa late 1700's): Old Weller 107 bourbon, port wine, sugar, nutmeg, fresh lemon. Although both names come from the root word "sangre", the Sangaree cocktail has been around for much longer than the wine-based sangria that was created in 1961 (based on a Sangaree recipe). You can think of it as a spicier, more potent (and much less sweet) sangria, I suppose - but not really.

Oldfields also offers some paninis, and we tried two of these that night to soak up all the liquor:
Fromager D'Affinois, Fra' Mani ham, black jerry jam on fresh Ficelle bread
Fromager D'Affinois, rosemary and apricot mostarda on fresh Ficelle bread
Photo courtesy of Oldfield's

OldfieldsOldfield's Liquor Room
10899 Venice Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90034
(310) 842-8066

Next, we walked a couple blocks down Venice to Bigfoot West, the West LA outpost of Bigfoot Lodge which also have locations in Los Feliz and San Francisco. Bigfoot West was even more packed than Oldfields. Luckily we had a table reserved for us, otherwise it seems that getting a seat for this big a group would have been impossible.

Since we've done so much drinking at Oldfield's, I was glad that there were only two drinks in store for us here. Bigfoot also has their share of cocktails, but we didn't sample those that night. Instead, we had a pint of Cask Beer: Stone Brewing Co's Arrogant Bastard with American oak on cask (7.2% ABV). I'm not a big hops/IPA fan, though at times I still enjoy an Arrogant Bastard. The cask version seems a bit less hoppy and thus more enjoyable for me.

We finished off the night with a bang - a shot: In a Pickle (Bigfoot Lodge's version of the pickleback): Tullamore Dew Irish whiskey followed by house made brine
Bigfoot drinks
I first had a pickleback at Bar+Kitchen thanks to LushAngeles and I secretly liked it. The one at Bigfoot West didn't disappoint: the whiskey went down pretty smoothly and so did the brine.

Big Foot WestBigfoot West
10939 Venice Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90034
(310) 287-2200


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