“Los Angeles is not what you would call a bar town, and for all the obvious reasons. The region covers almost 5,000 square miles. While public transit does exist there — and taxis and Uber are thriving — it is not New York: If you stumble out of a bar on the way home, there’s not a subway on the corner.”
It occurred to me some time ago that I might as well discontinue the #LAhaters project and simply award the Lifetime Achievement Award to the New York Times’ Adam Nagourney, who consistently serves up the most hatery haterade with columns that are somewhere between misguided and evil. The latest, “In Los Angeles, Old-Fashioned Glamour or Hip Mixology” starts with the head-shaking paragraph above. But the one line that cuts the most comes a bit later: “This is not a good place for a bar crawl.” As a semi-professional organizer of Los Angeles bar crawls, I have to disrespectfully disagree.
I have other issues with the piece, like the inclusion of some puzzling choices—Vintage Enoteca is a nice neighborhood wine bar but in no way a destination; Sunset Tower is a pretty place for a drink but not our best example of cutting-edge mixology—and the fact that the bars he chose were all clustered in one small corner of the city (not a single bar downtown?). Upon further examination, however, the bars’ geographic proximity struck me for a different reason: These four destinations would actually make the perfect bar crawl.
Therefore, I present to you my itinerary for the “Not a Good Place for a Bar Crawl” Bar Crawl, including detailed walking and transit directions. Click the little rectangle in the upper right to expand or head over to the site to see it larger. It sounds like a great day to me, shall we plan a time soon to try it out?
Start at Laurel Hardware: The most food-oriented spot on the list is the best place to start the crawl, so might I suggest you begin here with some carb-loading. If you do the crawl on the weekend and want to start in daylight hours, brunch starts at 11:00 a.m. and goes until 3:30 p.m. And it is delicious.
Walk from Laurel Hardware to Tower Bar: After your boozy breakfast, it’s a quick 17-minute walk to the Strip. I’ve selected a route through West Hollywood’s Harper Street Historic District, which will give you a beautiful introduction to the 1920’s Art Deco architecture of Sunset Tower. The only catch for doing the crawl during the day is that the Tower Bar doesn’t open until 6:00 p.m., so time your arrival appropriately. Otherwise the Terrace Bar is outdoors, has great views, and is open all day.
Walk from Tower Bar to Vintage Enoteca: After your high-class imbibing you can walk down the Strip, with optional stop at the Guitar Center, to Vintage Enoteca, 20 minutes away. They’re conveniently open every day until midnight. (If you’d rather bus it, it’s a quick 10 minute ride.)
Bus from Vintage Enoteca to Covell: Grab the 2 bus at Gardner and Sunset. It’s only $1.50 per trip, which you can pay in cash (exact change only), but you can also ask for a day pass for $6, which gives you unlimited rides and comes with a TAP card that can be reloaded with fare next time you ride. Download the Metro app to your phone and you’ll be able to get route information as well as real-time arrivals so you’ll know if you have time to order another glass. After the 35-minute ride, hop off at the corner of Virgil and Sunset and walk a half-block to Covell.
End at Covell: There’s no better place in the city to end your night than Covell, easily one of my favorite L.A. bars. In this tiny, cozy space you can sample life-changing wines (I could write an entire article about a vinho verde I had here) with the friendliest and most knowledgable of folks, and fill up on exquisite bar snacks. If you need to get somewhere after last call, you can summon a taxi or Uber (I hear they are thriving), but it’s also very easy to get home on transit—the Red Line is less than a block away.
Yes, that’s correct. There is a subway on the corner.