Bar Review: The Famous
Very few under-40 Angelenos would admit to liking it, but Glendale is LA’s choice suburb. It’s where big box stores and giant malls meet the best Armenian and Lebanese food in the county. And while Glendale hasn’t been known for its nightlife—there’s a roller disco if you’re feeling retro and mall drinking can be had ‘till 10 or so—the SFV’s mountainside city finally has a respectable bar.
The Famous is directly across from the infamous Americana, but, once inside the brick-facade watering hole, the vibe is much closer to the Varnish or Harvard & Stone. The furniture is all wood and leather, exposed brick walls project stills of classic movies and obscure liquor brands are served by vested and mutton-chopped barkeeps who are deeply passionate about their craft.
More details here.

Bar Review: The Famous

Very few under-40 Angelenos would admit to liking it, but Glendale is LA’s choice suburb. It’s where big box stores and giant malls meet the best Armenian and Lebanese food in the county. And while Glendale hasn’t been known for its nightlife—there’s a roller disco if you’re feeling retro and mall drinking can be had ‘till 10 or so—the SFV’s mountainside city finally has a respectable bar.

The Famous is directly across from the infamous Americana, but, once inside the brick-facade watering hole, the vibe is much closer to the Varnish or Harvard & Stone. The furniture is all wood and leather, exposed brick walls project stills of classic movies and obscure liquor brands are served by vested and mutton-chopped barkeeps who are deeply passionate about their craft.

More details here.

Best hotel bars: LA’s classiest lobby lounges
The bar scene in Los Angeles is aces right now, thanks to all-night bar hopping and bartenders’ inventive cocktails. Even tried-and-true hotel bars, from staid classics to new additions, are serving some of the tastiest libations from lemon drops to single malt Scotch. Here, our favorite hotel bars from beachside Santa Monica to ritzy Pasadena.
I wrote this for the new Time Out Los Angeles. Please to enjoy.

Best hotel bars: LA’s classiest lobby lounges

The bar scene in Los Angeles is aces right now, thanks to all-night bar hopping and bartenders’ inventive cocktails. Even tried-and-true hotel bars, from staid classics to new additions, are serving some of the tastiest libations from lemon drops to single malt Scotch. Here, our favorite hotel bars from beachside Santa Monica to ritzy Pasadena.

I wrote this for the new Time Out Los Angeles. Please to enjoy.

Cartagena, Colombia, may never live down its associations with Romancing the Stone. Set in the turbulent 1980s, the film crystallized the image of the Caribbean seaport as crawling with narco-trafficking kidnappers and incubating syrupy romances (à la Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas).

But in recent years, with the drug cartels under control, and security and prosperity reigning, Cartagena has blossomed into a stunningly well-preserved colonial marvel (it’s a Unesco World Heritage Site) that’s an extremely safe (for all people) stop for travelers on the South American circuit. And though it is certainly a romantic city – think salt-weathered buildings in bright Caribbean colors, flowers spilling from balconies, and shady plazas for passing languid afternoons – its sizzling nightlife also makes it super sexy.

Cartagena is, in a way, three cities. There’s El Centro, the historic core surrounded by 16th century walls; Bocagrande, a peninsula filled with high-rise condos and brand-name fashion boutiques that approximates Miami Beach; and the three-million-strong sprawling modern city that surrounds the other two touristy areas. Aim to stay in El Centro, which is so clean, safe, and quaint that you’ll almost feel like you’re in Disneyland. Plus, that’s where all the action is. And many of El Centro’s colonial mansions have been restored and transformed into stylish boutique hotels – perfect for a hot weekend getaway.

You could easily spend your entire time in Cartagena getting lost in the twisting, cobbled streets. While you should definitely do your share of idle wandering, here are some must-hits along the way:

Read more here!

(I’m gonna go there. Soon.)

Jonah Ray has plenty of irons in the comedy fire: an important part of Chris Hardwick’s Nerdist empire, he’s a contributor to that podcast; he co-hosts, with Kumail Nanjiani, The Meltdown, a weekly comedy night; he’s a writer and producer on the G4 show Web Soup; he maintains his blog AND he pops in at various comedy shows around LA to make people laugh. He very kindly took the time to answer our questions about what he’d bring to LA from his home state Hawaii, where he goes for fun when he’s on tour, and where you might find him out on a special night with his lady.

Since you’re out doing comedy many nights of the week, you’re familiar with LA’s rare late-night options. What’s an after-hours spot where the comedy folk can be found?
A comic’s late night options for food are even more limited since it’s pretty much a necessity for booze to be involved. That night’s performance might be in need of a celebratory shot. Or, sometimes, a consolation pint if the show was less than favorable. Public House in Los Feliz has become the late Monday night post Tiger Lily show hang out for comics. They have drinks as well as a kitchen that’s open late … not to say that the food is any good, but at that point, who cares.

What are two things Oahu has that LA’s lacking?
It’s hard to find a place that’s just like being in Hawaii out here in LA. The closest you can get is one specific location of L&L BBQ on York near Eagle Rock Boulevard. They have more of a “Local Kine” selection than any other plate lunch place. They sell not only plate lunch but also haupia, malasadas, Portuguese sausage/eggs and rice, kim chee, and sometimes even poi.  LA also needs a quality shave ice place.

And what two things would you bring from LA back to the island?
I would bring things to do, and the swordfish burrito from Baja Fish in San Pedro. Because Hawaii has a lack of things to do and a lack of any good Mexican food.

more here…

Lijiang, a city in China’s Yunnan Province, is the culturally and historically important home to the Nakhi people, a matriarchal society related to Tibetans. Full of tiny canals and still-thriving artisan industries like papermaking, it’s a fascinating stop on the Yunnan trail, with evidence of Buddhist and Dongba religions and historic trade routes.

It’s also party central for China, apparently. This is where the eastern wealthy come to drink and scream and, probably, fall in a canal or two. The bars, the music, the drinks are interchangeable. (Really. Ask for a margarita. Or a martini. Either way, you might just end up, as I did, with a fruity, frothy concoction adorned with a couple olives.)

more here…

Jeff Ellermeyer and Mitchell Frank went into business together years ago when they opened Malo, the Silver Lake restaurant and bar known specifically for its tortilla chips and salsas, and more generally for its Chicano recipes and preponderance of hipper-than-thou customers and servers. Mas Malo, their downtown location, just opened a few months ago after, literally, years of trying to open the place. The wait was worth it (at least for customers), as the space, a renovated, previously empty old Clifton’s location, is gorgeous, and the bartenders are serving up some excellent drinks. We spoke with Ellermeyer and Frank about where they end up around the city.

How long have you had your eye on the Mas Malo space?
Jeff Ellermeyer: The offices for my production company Buck are located on the 4th floor of the building. We have been looking at the space for 5 years.

Why do you think permitting for bars and restaurants in LA takes so darn long?
JE: You got me why the city of Los Angeles paradoxically needs tax revenues while stalling new businesses. Someone should look into that.
Mitchell Frank: Too many cooks on the permitting side. Pre-expediting LADBS (Department of Building and Safety) was a nightmare. Needed 17 sign-offs and then each inspector can make changes. It made estimating costs difficult.

more here…

After a long week explaining away your boss’s latest snafu, where does the political wonk go to unwind? A cruel wit once said that Washington, DC is “Hollywood for ugly people,” and like their entertainment brethren the policy minded like to party hard.  Here are five spots to relax your overachieving, ambitious brain, have a beer and some onion rings and … talk about work.

Bullfeathers: When Teddy Roosevelt wanted to curse in public he would instead say “Bullfeathers.” This no-nonsense pub and sports bar features 31 micro-brews and outdoor seating perfect for summery DC nights. The food is pure middle class Americana with a menu featuring a plethora of chicken sandwiches, burgers and steak. Recently renovated and stripped of its former grungy charm, many regulars have been disenchanted by its newly shiny interior, although wood paneled walls still give it that summer house library feel so popular with the government set.
Bullfeathers, 410 First Street SE

The Tune Inn: All ye who enter this hidden dive bar be sure to be a card carrying friend of the donkey. A legendary greasy spoon, this dark, game filled bar (patrons talk of being seated next to a mounted deer butt) has been a favorite hang-out of Democratic members of the house for years. Super friendly staff, cool regulars, yummy bar grub and cheap well drinks make it what many consider to be the best bar in DC. After the historical health care bill passed, a large group of Democrats came to the Tune Inn to celebrate. The party of the people indeed!
331 1/2 Pennsylvania Ave. SE

more here…

Bigfoot Lodge's westward younger sibling, deftly named Bigfoot West, has become the more interesting of the two properties lately. It does have the camping-themed drinks the brand is known for — like the Toasted Marshmallow and the Girl Scout Cookie — but now there is way more exciting stuff on offer. And it’s cheap for Happy Hour!

Every day from 5pm to 9pm, Bigfoot West has $5 cocktails, classic concoctions such as gin gimlets, Old Fashioneds and Manhattans. The drinks fit with the woodsy, totem pole-bedecked decor (you could camp here if it were a bit quieter).

Bigfoot goes a bit overboard with the Sailor Jerry, a newer rum brand that’s pushing quite hard right now to become the hipster pirate booze of choice. But there’s nothing wrong with it — especially at $5.

more here…

Cliff’s Edge is one of Silver Lake’s standbys — good for a first date or even a parents’ visit. The food is fine; there’s a wine list and cocktails. But the comestibles were never the reason for coming to Cliff’s Edge: It’s all about that otherworldly back patio, just steps off of Sunset Boulevard and yet perfectly free of the sound of traffic, lit up with candles and tealights, decorated with giant seashells and brightly embroidered pillows. The space is an L.A. treasure.

For all of its cool-kid cred, Sunset Junction isn’t the greatest neighborhood for drinking. No locals go to Tantra or 4100 Bar (it’s almost a mystery their doors are still open), and El Conquistador is reserved for those special occasions when you want to get so smashed off one margarita that you can’t feel your face for three days. The cocktails at Cliff’s Edge were always acceptable, but patrons were never allowed to sit at a table and just order drinks. Loitering over a shared appetizer certainly wasn’t encouraged.

Thank goodness co-owner Dana Hollister has decided to make some changes. (The developer has her hands in about a million projects at any given time, and she’s got an excellent track record— you like Villains Tavern, don’t you?) We’ve learned of three major changes that her team is working on for a Cliff’s Edge intervention — all to be finished by the middle of May:

This is so. exciting. people. More here…