[ Poco Wine Bar]
I spend a lot of time dining and drinking at “NEW” places in Los Angeles, but every now and then I get to a point where I just want some freakin’ familiarity. I fantasize over the idea of walking in to a place in my neighborhood to be surrounded by friendly faces and have the staff greet me by name… I have always been so envious of friends/family who have that type of place in their lives. None of them live in Los Angeles of course, but I’d like to think it could happen here if I tried hard enough. That being said though, I have been to a few places within the past year that really stood out to me because they had that undoubtedbly neighborhood type feel. They’re the kind of places that are never over crowded, they tend to cater to their community, they’re probably aren’t on any Eater Heat Map at present, but most importantly they’re just damn good places to eat/drink/hang with zero attitude. If that sounds like something you’d like to take part in, here are a few of my favorite casual “neighborhood joints” around town that you can always count on to give you that sense of familiarity – even in a town where that doesn’t seem like that’s even a thing!
If there were one place in LA that I would want to be MY neighborhood joint, it’d be The Butchers Dog. It’s tucked away, it’s quiet, you know everyone in there lives in the area, the bartenders and staff are super friendly, but the food and drinks are PHENOMENAL. I cannot stress what an almost literal hidden gem this place is. It’s a great place to watch sporting events and actually be able to sit down and eat “updated English pub fare” while hanging with friends. They have happy hour from 3 – 7 everyday and a late night menu from 10 – 11 – could be the perfect excuse to drop in.
Sawtelle // 11301 W Olympic Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90064
Poco Wine Bar is my most recent neighborhood joint I’ve discovered, and it’s just one of those places I feel incredibly compelled to share with every Angeleno. This place is e v e r y t h i n g. It’s connected to Smoke.Oil.Salt, it’s open Sunday – Thursday at 5:30 – close, and the name of their game is to offer a “tapas-style vibe with wallet friendly dishes”. I love this place because I feel like “legit tapas” is hard to come by in LA and this place has got it! Not to mention, every dish is under $10, it’s got a cozy chill vibe, and the wines by the glass (that change every day) are just $4-7.
Fairfax // 7276 Melrose Ave Los Angeles, CA 90046
I don’t get to venture this far East often, but when your closest friends who live in the area all mutually agree this is their go-to favorite place in the neighborhood… you listen! I walked into Little Beast, that adorable little converted craftsman house built in 1911, and immediately thought to myself “I get it.” The dinner patrons were of all ages but one thing they did have in common was that they were clearly all Eagle Rock locals. I’ve found the best, most warm, welcoming, and beloved restaurants always come from husband and wife teams, so it makes perfect sense that Little Beast is the brain child of such a duo: Deborah Schwartz-Lowenthal and Chef Sean Lowenthal. Come for the cozy vibes, stay for the incredible food.
Eagle Rock // 1496 Colorado Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90041
Just when you thought Wheel House was just an adorable little local shop to pick up some cheese and wine to go, they surprise you with a fantastic little patio and a cozy nook to sip and dine right there! Wheel House is what actually inspired me to write this entire post; I went in a few weeks ago and was inspired by just how much the locals love Wheel House and how much Wheel House loves the locals. It’s such a great casual spot to drop in for a cheese and charcuterie plate and try one of several delicious wines available by the bottle or glass. They’re known to play movies in the back, for their Wine Wednesday events (every Wednesday), as well as their most recent addition: Raclette Night (Fridays I believe). You can get the full rundown on all the Wheel House fun on their Facebook Page!
Culver City // 12954 Washington Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90066
Downtown is growing exponentially, so I’d imagine that if you lived there that it’d be difficult to decide what place to frequent when you have SO many options at your fingertips and all within walking distance. I went to Barcito for the first time earlier this year when it’d just opened and already it seemed to be the place go in the area for people who lived or worked close by. Barcito has this great New York style quality to me, which automatically gives me that feeling of it being something established. It’s a great place to go with no fuss or attitude, it’s just a great corner bar with a cozy ambiance and AMAZING cocktails and food. Don’t skip the empanadas or the pulp0 (octopus)!
DTLA // 403 W 12th St Los Angeles, CA 90015