You may or may not know that California law means drinking under 21 is illegal, and many bars, well, bar young people. Particularly annoying for us, with two teens in tow – esp one who is nearly 19 – we were usually on the look out for inclusive bars and taphouses. But often a nearby Starbucks or an Uber home for the sprogs made an otherwise possible bar possible. LA saw us use both methods in a single day!
Idle Hour is an over 21s bar that is a fantastic piece of kitsch Americana formally protected, as Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument #977, because it is one of the last remaining examples of Programmatic Architecture – buildings designed to make passing motorists stop and gawp. And that is exactly what to do when faced with this beautiful renovation of a ginormous barrel! It’s like entering something that merges Alice in Wonderland with Toy Story, with a fabulous rotund interior leading out onto a beautiful vine covered garden with another rescued piece facing you – a giant fibreglass dog! It was all possibly too much, but a measure of Belching Beaver’s Peanut Butter Milk Stout on nitro soon made it all feel normal. A delicious helping of buffalo cauliflower also helped.
We retrieved the kids from the Starbucks opposite, had dinner, then popped them in an Uber so we could head off to a classic LA dive bar, The Surly Goat. Still finding it hilarious to be ID checked for proof of age on the door, we gained entry and snagged two seats at the bar. The menu left us spoiled for choice, although we missed the Pliny the Elder (a recurrent motif of this trip, I’m beginning to think it doesn’t exist…). I had the fantastically tasty Monsters’ Park from Modern Times, a Tequila barrel-aged Imperial with vanilla, lime, and sea salt. A proper mouthful of flavour this was a super quality beer.
I then had the Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout, a previous favourite of mine, but I am finding the 2018 release too hoppy for my taste (in bottle in the UK, and now on draught) so didn’t drink all of it. Simon was happy to help finish off, just so we didn’t seem rude of course, and he thinks I am imagining the hoppiness. And because I only had half my second drink, I had a third, another Modern Times, their Black House stout on nitro – yummy!
The Surly Goat is clearly an up all night sort of place, and on reflection maybe that’s why they were checking our ID – were we of an age that could cut it? The answer was no, and we staggered out in to the night after three drinks. English lightweights…