Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The Nickel Mine, West LA's New Neighborhood Social House

by @btsunoda

The Nickel Mine is a brand new bar located in West LA. I hesitate to call it a bar because it is so much more than that. It’s located on Santa Monica Blvd and there is no sign on the building. I guessed I was in the right place because from the outside, I saw a few big screens with the Dodgers playing. Due to the large picture windows, the interior of The Nickel Mine is full of indirect light. The walls are lined with aged brick. Bar height tables and chairs line the center. Regular height seating is available along the windows. On the west side of the bar, they have comfortable couches and chairs. With the bookshelf along the wall, it mimics the appearance of someone’s reading room. I like the fact that they have games (e.g., Connect 4, Zenga) available throughout the bar. Their menu is quite extensive. It’s broken down into grub, brunch, wine, beer, cocktails, whiskey, scotch, bourbon, tequila, mezcal, gin, and rum. Ten draft beers are available. I was surprised to see the Chicken and Waffles were made with a Belgian waffle on the brunch menu.

The Garlic Knots are served with a spicy marinara sauce on the side.
Knowing that I was going to try a few different offerings, I promised myself that I would only eat one. Wrong. There was something about these piping hot garlic knots combined with the marinara sauce that made it so addicting to eat.

IMG_1640The Chicken Caesar Salad was topped with large slices of chicken breast, shaved parmesan and crunchy croutons.

What made the salad surprising was the fact that the romaine lettuce was extremely fresh and crisp. An assortment of wings was served next: Buffalo, Teriyaki and Lemon Garlic. Despite my strong inclination to prefer something other than Buffalo wings, I’d have to say it was my favorite among the three.

Coincidentally, it was National Beer Day. To celebrate, I had samplers of some of their draft beers.

Of the four, my favorite was the Black House Stout by Modern Times Beer. This was a smooth coffee stout.

I was anxious to try their pizza because I heard it was popular.
For me, it’s really about the taste of the crust and the overall consistency. I was extremely impressed that their pizza was crisp from the center to the edge. Most “NY” pizza I’ve eaten had soggy crust in the center of the pizza.

The “Purple Rain” craft cocktail was made with vodka, cassis and fresh lemon.
I enjoyed the presentation as it was frothy when it was served to me. The cold citrus cocktail was ideal for the warm day. They have done an incredible job of providing a first class craft whiskey menu. It consists of US West and East Coast offerings as well as a few from Japan. Many of them are extremely difficult to find.
A craft whiskey flight followed.
Flight of craft whiskeys
On the flight was tastings of Yamazaki, Slow Hand Six Woods, Mosswood and Krobar craft whiskies.  Yamazaki is Suntory’s flagship single malt offering. It was delicate and I enjoyed the notes of sweet vanilla with this smooth whiskey. Slow Hand Six Woods Malt Whiskey gets it name because they use a combination of different woods. For me, I thought that cinnamon and spice were the primary notes. I really enjoyed the Mosswood whiskey. It is finished in Germain-Robin Apple Brandy barrels to create a whiskey with a lot of fruit. After tasting it, I agreed with the fruit and cinnamon composition. The last sample on the flight was a rye whiskey from Krobar Craft Distillery. This whisky had undertones of cinnamon & butterscotch. I was fortunate that to sample what was my favorite whiskey that evening, the Akashi White Oak. It was extremely smooth and had hints of honey and fruit.

 Despite the fact that The Nickel Mine features free wifi, I didn’t see people on their laptops. Most people were actually conversing with each other and not glued to their phones. To me, The Nickel Mine should be named, The Nickel Mine: A Social House.

The Nickel Mine
11363 Santa Monica Blvd.
West Los Angeles, CA
(310) 231-0239
Nickel Mine Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


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