Angel City Pilsner Number Two

“A working man’s beer. Very American,” says the ‘tender to a couple at the bar at Angel City Brewery in DTLA. I agree.

As the bartender serves me my pints, I chime in: “I’m a bartender drinking it on my day off,” I say to a young couple asking about the flight in front of them. “Great for when you want to pace yourself. I’m usually an IPA guy but I could drink this all day.”

And I will.


Lost Hollywood, Found

I drink a lot of Fernet. I also drink a lot of Rye. However, I never thought of combining the two in the same drink. So when I read the ingredients in the Lost Hollywood on the menu at the Three Clubs Cocktail Lounge on Vine in Hollywood, I had to try it. Rye, Fernet Branca, grapefruit peel, served up. Three Clubs’ website homepage proclaims that it is “Your favorite bartender’s favorite bar.” Thanks to the Lost Hollywood, Three Clubs is now my favorite bar, or at least one of them.

I asked the bartender what kind of rye he used in the Lost Hollywood. “Old Overholt,” he said. More loyal to Bulleit when it comes to rye whiskey, I wavered for a second, then decided to err on the side of restraint and said, “I’ll just take two Golden Road IPAs.” As though reading my mind and nudging me to abandon my course of caution, the bartender said, “It’s a great drink,” referring to the Lost Hollywood. Sold. “I’ll have one of those, too,” I said.

Why not? Sunday night for me is like Friday and Saturday nights for everyone else, time to let loose after toiling behind the bar all weekend, and once I start slugging, there’s no turning back. Hence, at that moment, it didn’t feel the least bit excessive to double-fist a hoppy IPA and a very potent cocktail with two of my favorite liquors in it.

How was the drink, you ask? Delicious. The robust rye balanced the herbaceous liqueur perfectly, with the Grapefruit peel’s slightly bitter, citrusy zest tempering the sweetness of the Fernet. “Is it just rye, Fernet, and bitters?” I asked, the bartender after downing the last drop (I’d noticed he added a dash of Angostura bitters to his mixing glass as he stirred the cocktail). “And a bit of sugar,” he said.

There you have it, a blissful marriage of the two spirits most dear to my whiskey- and Fernet-loving heart. Were I to mix the cocktail myself, I’d probably omit the sugar altogether as the drink was a bit sweet for my palate, accustomed as it is to Fernet, chilled, and taken straight up, or whiskey, neat. “It is a great drink,” I told the bartender. “Great drinks are usually simple,” he said.

Thus, amidst a night of debauchery, my alcohol education continued, and I’ve a feeling I’ll be appropriating the Lost Hollywood, or some variation of it, and serving it to my most discriminating clientele in the near future, perhaps my next shift even. As my boss, AKA The Guvna, says, “Gotta educate ‘em.”

Three Clubs educated me. Now, I must pass it on.


An older guy walked up to the bar last night and asked me, “What do you have for whiskey?”

I gestured to the rows of Scotches, bourbons, ryes, Irish whiskies, and sour mashes on the shelves against the brick walls behind me.

“Do you have Seagram’s 7?” he asked. I pointed to it.

“I’ll take a Seven and Seven,” he said.

I poured it, set it in front of him, and he handed me a twenty. “The change is all yours,” he said.

To air on the side of professionalism and fairness, I charged him the eight dollars for the drink and offered him his twelve dollars in change.

“Keep it,” he said.

“Thank you very much.

Second round, same result. As I stuffed the twelve bucks into the tip jar and thanked him again, he asked, “How much are these drinks, anyway?”

“Eight dollars”

“Well, then, I’m getting a bargain!”

By the time he ordered his third, Happy Hour had descended upon us, and the price of his drink had plummeted to five dollars. Still, when I tried to hand him his fifteen dollars in change, he said, “That’s yours.” I poured him an extra shot in gratitude and thanked him once again.

Happy Hour in full swing, I’d removed my shirt, as is the custom in many WeHo bars especially during the busy Friday-Saturday surge.

“You better watch out,” the guy said to me. “You’ve taken off your shirt now, and I’m a dirty old man. Now, you’re stuck with me.”

Moments later, my bar back stood beside me, stacking glasses next to my well.

“I’ve been coming out in this area since before both of you were born. Well, at least before he was,” he said, gesturing towards me.

“I’m actually a lot older than him,” I said. My bar back is twenty three. I’m pushing thirty, but I’m blessed with Eastern European genes that make me look much younger.

“Well, I wouldn’t be able to tell, unless you were both naked,” said the big tipper. “Then I would be able to tell from the wrinkles.”

Looking back at this exchange I realize that, as a straight bartender working at a gay bar, “it comes with the territory,” as the saying goes. Furthermore, perhaps the generous gratuities that came with this old man’s overtures is the nightlife universe giving back to me for my honesty last weekend, when I returned a guy’s one hundred dollar bill that he unknowingly handed me as payment for a single vodka tonic.