Thursday 4 April 2024

Los Angeles etc.

My USA Vacation moved on to the Los Angeles area.

Saturday 30 March:  Rusty's, Santa Monica Pier

Located on the famous Santa Monica Pier (Symbolic end of Route 66) this is something of a tourist trap as you might expect, but still very good.  At twelve on a chilly Saturday it was pretty empty. They have a small range of craft beers, including a new favourite of mine, Mind Haze.

Not really much more to say about this place, I liked it.

Saturday 30 March:  Jameson's Irish Pub, Hollywood Boulevard

A rather good two room bar in Irish style, targeting the throngs of tourists on Hollywood Boulevard. Plenty of Guinness and Jameson signage on the walls, and sports on the TVs.

I was pleased to be able to have a black and tan, properly layered. They also sell one with cider which sounds awful, I must try it some time!

The Philly Cheese Steak was very good and way too big.

A steady trade in food and drink was keeping the place going at three on a Saturday, one or two of the customers were a bit "strange", I must say.

Sunday 31 March:  Promenade Cafe, RMS Queen Mary, Long Beach

The Promenade Cafe has some art deco opulence, perhaps not as much as in other parts of this wonderful museum/hotel/tourist attraction.

It was pretty busy on a cold wet Easter Sunday, waitresses were buzzing about and lots of food and drink were being consumed.  I had a very good Ride On 5 Hop Citrus from Los Angeles brewery Golden Road and a great reuben.

Sunday 31 March:  Grand Central Market

This is an enormous food court where one vendor is the same Golden Road Brewery as I met on the Queen Mary, with about twenty of their own beers on tap. I selected a rather gorgeous coffee stout to drink with my pork skewers and sticky rice from one of the other stands.

At seven on a Sunday the whole place was quite busy but I managed to find a table.

Sunday 31 March:  Gallery Bar, Millennium Biltmore Hotel

I was staying in the Millennium Biltmore, a spectacular historic hotel in downtown L.A.  The above picture shows the entrance hall, off to the right was the beautiful Gallery Bar.

The decor in the bar featured some rather fine ceramics, dark wood panelling and an excellent carved high ceiling.

There were only about six customers at seven on a Sunday evening, so the funky jazz mostly drowned the conversation.  The barman, hardly busy, wandered round on other duties while I enjoyed my Blue Moon.

Monday 01 April:  Highland Park Brewery, West Elmyra Street

A rather well done converted warehouse with lots of brewing gear at the back.
About thirty craft beers on, I tried a gorgeous coconut and vanilla 12% Imperial stout.

There are no printed menus, you have to look up the food on the internet, what happens if you haven't got the appropriate technology?

Next, I tried their Pils with ghost chillies and other spices I've never heard of. It really has a wonderful kick, will I regret it later? (Update - No I didn't)

Buffalo wings are excellent here, although they were out-spiced by the chilli beer a little. Amazingly, I managed to eat them without getting any on my t-shirt.

Monday 01 April:  Homage Brewing, West Elmyra Street

Just down the road from Highland Park Brewing is Homage Brewing.  More of a shed than the previous one but still a comfortable space.

My hopes were raised by two handpumps on the end of the counter but they weren't in use, so I had a delicious hazy IPA called Lost Time, I think, very fruity and "only" 6.8%.

I think they do food here but I didn't see any served although having said that I was one of only five customers just after opening time on a Monday afternoon, so perhaps not a busy time for food.

The space has a high ceiling with a gigantic cooling fan, the individual blades must be five or six feet long. If anything went wrong that could do some serious damage! On a comfortably cool sunny day it wasn't turning.

More customers came in gradually, and then some food came out.

Monday 01 April:  Casey's Irish Bar, 613 S Grand Ave

Sorry, best picture I could get without standing in the middle of Grand Avenue.  This is a nicely done out basement bar with dark wood panelling.

I was chatted up by an attractive young lady as soon as I got to the counter!  Now that doesn't happen very often.  I ordered a Blue Moon and bangers and mash, and retreated to a little table.

Only about half a dozen customers on a Monday evening, the place was pretty quiet but I bet its a lot busier at the weekend.

Tuesday 02 April:  Stone Brewery Taproom, San Diego

Behind the unprepossessing exterior is a standard craft bar with pleasant modern decor offering some great beers but no food.

Fairly quiet at three on a Tuesday, I didn't stay long because I was looking for food. The cherrywood smoked lager I had was very good, with a hint of cherry in the flavour.

Tuesday 02 April:  Burgeon Beer Co The Arbour, San Diego

Another modern styled craft bar, the decor in this one stands out because the ceiling beams are decorated with hanging vine leaves and cotton wool "clouds".

Again custom was sparse on a Tuesday afternoon, just very slowly ticking over. I was almost the only one eating.

I had a very good hazy fruity IPA called Juice Press. 6.8% and ordered a Korean fried chicken sandwich, with no idea what it was. I can report that it was a chicken burger with real chicken and a very tasty sauce. Excellent.

I noticed that on the seventeen taps they haven't got any really "silly" brews, where's the Imperial Stout, in fact the strongest beer was only 7.2%. (Probably just was well as I had a three hour train journey ahead of me)

Wednesday 03 April:  Karl Strauss Brewing Co, Grand/Wilshire

An absolutely enormous space with modern decor, naked air conditioning ducts and the like. About 24 craft beers on tap.  Umpteen TVs were showing various sports, I could see basketball, American football, proper football, and two different baseball matches.

I started with a rather nice Pale Rider (Although not a patch on the real one, whoever brews it now!)

At four on a Wednesday I could see just eight other customers, making the space extremely empty, I hope it does better later as I rather like this place.

I followed on with an imperial stout which has coffee and cocoa in it. Rather fine, and only 9%, although I must say no coffee or lots of coffee are both better than a hint of coffee, in my opinion.

In what I suspect is a deliberate choice, a change to the beer menu as one beer ran out required the shortest girl on the staff to climb on a table!

Probably the last LA bar I shall ever drink in, as I'm leaving California later this evening*. I must say that makes me feel rather sad; each has been good in its own way, it's hard to name a favourite and there certainly weren't any I didn't like. But I didn't find any cask, so that's one (or to be precise, two) up for San Francisco!

* Strictly, the train crosses the border into Arizona in the early hours of tomorrow morning.

To find out what I got up to when I wasn't in a bar, see here.

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