Never Leave LA

Casual Drinking and Dining Spots in LA

This article was first posted on Resident Magazine. 

Looking to discover a new casual spot in LaLaLand where you can relax, enjoy a drink and some great grub, and not feel like you have to get all dressed up? Depending on where you find yourself in Los Angeles’s 503 miles, check out our favorite new down-to-earth locales.

Brouwerij West in San Pedro

Who would ever know the tastiest mixed fermentation beers in LA come from a 70 year old Port of Los Angeles warehouse just steps away from the water? The indoor brewery filled with communal picnic-style tables with overhead dangling white lights reminds you of something you might find in Portland or Denver. The large outdoor courtyard space often brings live music, food trucks, and the Chori-Man, a fourth generation chorizo maker who serves tasty chorizo tacos and burritos. Even dogs and kids are welcome.

Considered one of the best new breweries in 2016 in the US by Beer Advocate Magazine, sample beer that is so fresh and tasty it reminded us of time spent in Belgium. There are over 12 different beers on tap, from a dry stout called Small Gods to a Plum or Buckwheat Saison. Pop Fuji (Unfiltered Pilsner), Money Horse (Brett Saison), and The Dog Ate My Homework (Blackberry Saison) are some of our favorite small batches. We couldn’t get enough of their peachy beer, their flowery tasting beer, the beer with a cereal after taste almost like Captain’s Crunch, and Coffee Tripel, a Belgian-style golden strong ale aged on whole coffee beans.

What makes their beer so unique? Founder Brian Mercer creates mixed-fermentation unfiltered beers. Due to his 10 years traveling to Belgium for his candy-sugar importing business, this is not surprising. A mixed-fermentation beer often needs to sit around until it develops the ideal flavors. Also, Mercer uses a mash filter instead of a lauter tun during the brewing process to help achieve more efficiency in extracting sugars from the malt but also allows Brouwerij West to make mixed-fermentation beers with grains that are ordinarily off-limits to other breweries. ‘We don’t add a lot of hops into the boil….maybe some German noble hops at the end but often floral, fruity hops versus piney danker ones. We just started to get into IPA’s.”

Although Brouwerij West is only one year old, the owner started brewing 5-6 years ago. The brewery now distributes to 33 states. Take a brewery tour, host an event in their massive private space, or attend one of  their beer paired meals with Primal Alchemy, known for their sustainable, seasonal, local farm to table cooking. In keeping with the California spirit, Brouwerij West uses 30% less water than a normal brewery and runs almost entirely off solar panels on the roof. Cheers to that!  Brouwerij West has truly perfected the art of beer.

The Springs in Downtown LA

This massive 13,000 square foot space in the arts district of downtown LA filled with light makes it an uplifting spot to hang out. Deemed as a wellness hub, this is the perfect destination to work on your laptop, hold a meeting, savor a juice flight, or sample healthy bites from their casual vegan eatery.

Try a juice shot or sip a coffee or tea with their house-made nut milks. We recommend the Hot Chagalate made with medicinal mushrooms and considered very healing. Juices we adore include the Northstar (kale/spinach/granny smith apple/celery/romaine), Topaz Spring (cucumber/pineapple/mint/blue-green algae), and Malibu Morning (kiwi/dandelion/pineapple/granny smith apple).

Breakfast and lunch offer healthy options like unique wraps, rolls, and salads. Only in LA can you find concoctions like this – Granola Toast with coconut yogurt, blueberry jam, Breakfast Cups with goji, mulberries, and almond milk, Bowls with Kelp Carbonara, black pepper cream, shiitake, zucchini, basil, coconut bacon, carrot-coconut yolk. For those wanting more than juice, beer and wine are on also on tap.

The space also holds a boutique store filled with vintage and local products, a yoga studio, and a wellness center filled with rooms for massage, reiki, acupuncture, as well as an infrared sauna. Don’t forget to snap your Instagram-worthy shots in the parking lot in front of one of their painted wall murals.

Hyperion Public in Silver Lake and Studio City

Elevated grub pub food to the rescue!  Cozy up with friends in their Silver Lake location and nosh on comfort food with a twist, like Asian Steak Lettuce Cups with pickled carrots, bacon coleslaw and cilantro, Avocado Frieswith lime-cilantro aioli, Spicy Blueberry Wings with house-made ranch or blue cheese, Truffle Mac and Cheesewith truffled mushrooms, smoked gouda, and panko crust, Shrimp n’ Grits, pan-seared shrimp spiced up with andouille sausage and a bourbon shrimp reduction with an onion ‘crunch’ on top, or even General Tso’s Uncle Riki’s Fish, a pan seared snapper mini tower with crispy rice, General Tso’s sauce, grilled lemon-herb bok choy and chili paste.

 

Looking for something healthier? Try their Kale Caesar, Brussels Sprout Cobb, or get playful with Salad Fun, a veggie friendly dish featuring radicchio, shaved cauliflower, arugula, zucchini, red onion, edamame hummus and lemon herb vinaigrette. You may wish to forgo that gourmet burger, and opt for a turkey or chicken burger instead.

Find The Community Pub inside each location, a hidden liquid treasure offering guests a communal space to enjoy a handcrafted cocktail, glass of wine or cold craft beer before or after dinner. Watch sports or politics on the tube. Come by and let loose for special events like trivia or karaoke.

SpireWorks in Westwood and Eagle Rock

If you have ever craved döner or döner kebob from Istanbul or Berlin, now you can get a perfect flavorful doner spire of beef, chicken, or veggie köfte in Los Angeles, but American-style. Newly opened in Westwood and Eagle Rock, this fast food haven will change the way you think of quick food. Perfect for the traveling foodie, the vertically spit roasted meats are served on their signature bread, over greens, or wild rice with one of SpireWork’s new flavorful twists. For vegans, the köfte option will satiate their appetite with meatless meatballs made of cubed vegetables held together by chickpea flour and Urfa biber (dried Turkish Chili pepper).

Doner creations include seven Destination Arrivals like the Istanbul (cabernet tomatoes, cucumber spirals, Zaatar Labneh, pickled red onions, feta cheese, and Zaatar Shaker) and the Bangkok (tamarind chutney, yellow curry aioli, green onion shreds, Thai coconut curry crumble, and pickled red peppers with sambal), their two most popular “destinations.” Enhance your meal with Twice-Cooked Dutch yellow potatoes that include your choice of shaker seasonings or SpireCakes (dessert-like cake bites filled with cream but not overly sweet). Enjoy the Fair Trade Certified Cane Sugar Sodas in yummy flavors and the specialty SpireWorks-made Okinawa Raw Sugar Sea Salt Nitro Latte for the ultimate buzz!

 

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