Log in or Sign up
Taps: 22 / Bottles: 85
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: Y
$$ - reasonable
[ Bar ]
3408 Verdugo Rd
phone: (323) 257-3408
next › last »
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | $$
This place is located all of 4 minutes from my humble abode. I've been trying to get over to visit but working nights doesn't help when this place does not open until 8pm.
However, I made it out with my girlfriend this past weekend. Got there as soon as it opened and we had the place to ourselves. The neighborhood it's in is not the best, it's gotten better recently but it's still a bit dodgy as a previous reviewer stated.
No big glaring signs proclaiming it's a bar, just a simple "Cocktails" sign. It's actually a pretty nice bar on the inside. It's got great lighting (you can actually see, unlike other bars). Sitting at the bar the stools were a bit uncomfortable (you couldn't move them forward or back, but who cares really).
They had about 20 taps and do have a cask (but was out, they're waiting on something new to come in) all great stuff. The usual suspects in craft beer plus a couple from new brewery The Bruery. Our bartender was very friendly and helpful. Excluding their bottle list (they offer beer to go too!) the tap prices are quite good.
A worthwhile place to visit. Quiet until about 10pm when it starts to get crowded. If the typical LA bar scene is not your type of deal, then get here early.
07-21-2008 17:01:16 |
More by Brewlore
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | $$$
I visited Verdugo again on Friday, 12/19/08. The tap selection was awesome, the crowd was full of beer-lovers (a change form my visit 5 months ago) and there was a generally happy vibe that was contagious. Ryan, the owner, was happy to talk with my party for a long time and ply us with beer. There were approachable ladies and upstanding guys and... the place is just great! My Stone work shirt started several conversations! You have to love that.
If only they had a kitchen, opened earlier and were located somewhere that didn't take me an hour to get to, this would be my home away from home!
Visited on Saturday, 07/05/08 at 9:00pm.
The neighborhood is a bit dodgy and it is virtually impossible to find anyplace to eat nearby after dark, but don't let that keep you away. The late opening time is a factor, though; 8:00pm is a bit late to be opening a bar. I understand that they're trying to start slowly and build up a clientele, but, as I'm an afternoon/early evening beer geek, it's tough for me to find time to get here.
Anyway, there's plenty of parking on the street or the lot adjacent to this virtually unmarked building.
Get inside and the story changes. Gorgeous wood bar and walls, inviting booths, a cool back lounge with hidden lighting behind couches, amusing framed artwork on the clean bathroom walls: the physical space is great.
There are flat screens behind the bar, but instead of the usual ESPN, these were showing "Dr. Strangelove" and an obscure Phillipino explotiation film called "For Y'ur Height Only". Excellent!
Over 20 taps of well-chosen brews make the beer lover happy; my only complaint is that the beer is served just a hair too cold. Not a big deal, though, as you can just let it warm up on the bar.
The service was really great, especially from Mindy.
The atmosphere was fine until the DJ started to crank the volume level up and begin playing stuff that may have been okay to most people but kinda bugged me.
By 10:15pm, there were several groups who had come in and tried to order Coronas and Bud Lights and so on, indicating to me that the early crowd is more beer oriented. In a way, this is like Father's Office in Santa Monica; while there's excellent beer to be had, many of the patrons are there for other reasons.
So, Verdugo Bar is certainly worth more than a visit, but it's not the great salvation of the LA beer scene that some of us were hoping it was intended to be. However, this was not designed to be a Toronado or a Liar's Club, so rating it as such would not be fair to the proprietors.
07-07-2008 05:12:51 |
More by charlzm
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | $$
The Verdugo Bar is a fully-restored 1930's bar. It's a beautiful room, with beamed ceilings overhead and a serpentine bar of dark wood up front and pod-booths against the far wall. There's also a separate room in the back with banquette couches and low tables, which I imagine fills up nicely on busy weekend nights. The vibe is hip but not the least bit obnoxious, and completely beer-geek friendly. (They know how to pronounce "Hoegaarden" properly, but won't make you feel like a jerk when you don't.) I've checked the place out on comparably slow weeknights, and I'm happy to keep going back on Tuesdays and Wednesdays until word gets out and the place is packed on those nights too.
Service is knowledgeable and friendly. Gratifyingly so.
There are about 20 regular taps at the moment, which run from Allagash White on the light side to Old Rasputin (nitro-pour) on the heavy side. In-between those two are a well-chosen variety of taps from the expected (Stella, Guinness, Arrogant Bastard) to the intriguing (Green Flash Double Stout, 30-year Ola Dubh, and the awesome Deans Bros. ESB). The 8 rotating taps offer such options as Oskar Blues Gordon, Fullers London Pride, and unique casks from Stone Brewing. There is also a dynamic and dangerous bottle list that goes from Flying Horse Lager on the low end to Hitachino Espresso Stout and Port Brewing 2d Anniversary in the middle to Deus and Alpine Chez Monieux on the high end.
I went on a low-traffic Tuesday night and wound up chatting about good beer with one of the owner/managers for the entire evening. He has excellent beer instincts, and wants to make sure that his bar is regarded as a true Good Beer Destination. There are places with greater numbers of taps, but you'd be hard pressed to find a place with greater range in The Valley. They are also working to set up regular tasting nights each month.
The exterior is pretty non-descript, with only a "Cocktails" sign to indicate that the place is a bar. But walk in the door and you'll soon realize you've found a superior beer location. Ask the knowledgeable staff "What's good?" and they'll give you articulate and informed answers. Go early, go often, and say hi to me once you get there. I'm the beer geek at the bar with the happy grin on his face.
06-25-2008 08:24:04 |
More by vurt
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | $$
I finally got to Verdugo after having been constantly nagged for a couple of months by a beer distributor buddy of mine and I'm really sorry I put it off so long. Before I get to the specifics, I will just offer that I think this has got to be the best place to enjoy a beer in the greater Los Angeles area.
When I pulled up to the address, there was only a brick building with a sign that said "Cocktails" and I immediately became suspicious. It seems that the latest trend in upscale, hipster bars in Los Angeles is to not put your name somewhere that's visible to the public- something that I find totally ridiculous and pretentious. The decor and atmosphere is cool and vibey without trying to be too hip. Plenty of seating at the bar, comfortable booths, sofas in a back room and an outdoor patio. There was a DJ spinning in the main bar area, but it was not so loud that I couldn't carry on a conversation with a friend.
But more importantly, what about the beer? There are other beer joints in the area that have a wider tap selection than Verdugo, but unless you have a super-ultra-spcefic hankering for something you know they just put up at Naja's or Father's Office or Lucky Baldwin's or Stuffed Sandwich, you're not going to miss it. The list seems very well thought out with a large number of unique selections you won't find anywhere else (Stone Smoked Porter with vanilla bean ON CASK, Harvieston Ola Dubh aged in 30 year old Highland Park barrels, Green Flash Belgian-style stuff...) as well as brews you'd expect to find (Stone IPA, Pale and Arrogant Bastard, North Coast Old Rasputin, Rodenbach, AleSmith Wee Heavy).
One of my favorite aspects of the selection though, is that they've replaced things like Widmer or Pyramid Hefeweizen (ok brews, but pretty boring and ubiquitous) with something like Weihenstephaner Hefeweizen. I consider this a score for beer education and love to see establishments getting away from the tried (tired) and true and getting customers in the habit of opening their minds and ordering something different.
Similar comments can be made for the bottle list. Styles and regions are all very well represented, there are a few gems and their prices seem fair.
The only negative mark on the selection front is a tap dedicated to High Life ("For the hipster a-holes" my buddy said), but I think it's tolerable due to the total lack of any other macros on draft.
I visited Verdugo late on a weeknight, when the bar was a little busy but not slammed, and found the service to be good. There was a full bar with only one bartender (although one of the owners would step behind the bar every now and then to pour a pint, although- and I love this- more often than not it was to pour a tasters of something for customers.) Still, I never waited too long with an empty glass and although she wasn't totally familiar with all of the different beers they had, she was quick with tasters when she couldn't describe something.
The owners of Verdugo seem really committed to maintaining a great beer establishment and I think it shows. When they figure out you're a beer geek, they seem happy to talk to you and get your opinion on things. This combined with a very comfortable atmosphere makes me hopeful for the future of Los Angeles beer culture.
05-21-2008 21:47:07 |
More by bnutz
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | $$
I stumbled upon this undiscovered gem on the beer advocate calendar. I saw a listing for a Stone Tasting at the Verdugo Bar and even though I live in the area, right down the street, my reaction was "Verdugo Bar??? What the hell is the Verdugo Bar? I have never heard of the Verdugo Bar" As a mid level local beer snob, I thought I was completely dialed into the beer scene in my area. After doing a little research, I figured this was one of those new places that keep popping up with all the standard fare, a little Stone, a little Bear Republic maybe a few decent Belgians on the bottle list. Like most self professed beer snobs my ego was bigger than my knowledge! Not only was the Verdugo not typical, I would say that it is on par with the Father's Office or Naja's without the crowds.
They had no less than 4 stone taps, including Imperial Russian Stout among the numerous other outstanding brews on tap, I got a little lost and did not take notice of all that was on tap, because they were serving a Cask of Stone Smoked Porter with Vanilla Bean...OUTSTANDING!!! It was brought down for the Stone Tasting but will be left until sold out. As impressed as I was with the Cask offering I was pretty much blown away by their bottle list which actually included Russian River Supplication for $20. And check this out, they actually had it in stock! Even if you were lucky enough to get it from Russian River when it was released it was 15 bucks plus shipping. I mentioned to one of the co owners, that he could be charging a lot more for such a rare beer and his response was that he would rather sell it for an honest price, in limited quantity to people who actually appreciate it. Wow! That's pretty fricken cool! So I took one bottle to go and left the rest for others that may also appreciate a great beer at a good price. I also grabbed a bottle of Port Brewing 2nd Anniversary for 16 bucks.
A little bit of the particulars. From the outside, you would not even know this was a bar if not for a small sign that reads "Cocktails". It's one of those places that you would figure must be a real dive from the outside but than looks really cool on the inside. Very dark lounge atmosphere, nice bar, well appointed, cool out door patio in the back with a beer pong table. Most of the beers on tap were in the 5 to 7 dollar neighborhood. Bottles were varied but reasonable for the most part. It has a slightly more upscale vibe than your average beer joint and I think they have DJ music there on some nights, which might scare me off, if the selection were not so outstanding.
In the end what really seems to make this place is that it is run by people who not only know beer, but care about the overall customer experience they are providing, a rare thing these days.
05-20-2008 17:46:06 |
More by HopHeadLouie
next › last »
Verdugo Bar in Los Angeles, CA