From the original groundbreaking pub, The Eagle, in London to the acclaimed Spotted Pig in New York City, gastropubs have been steadily popping up in dining scenes everywhere. It’s a delicious compromise, really: the familiar atmosphere and inebriating libations of a pub mingling with haute hipster gastronomy. With the rise of celebrity chefs and popular cooking competition shows, it’s no surprise that innovative yet comforting cuisines — and potables — are a hot trend.
Pub grub has come a long way from pickled eggs and the picked-over bowl of beer nuts. Even quintessential staples like fish and chips and shepherd’s pie have been revamped into high end entrees. Los Angeles, of course, is no stranger to a makeover and has, accordingly, embraced the idea of transforming dowdy dives into sleek yet cozy eateries. As such, there is now a thriving scene of gastropubs around our fair city. It’s now easier than ever to find an establishment that boasts obscure selections of beer, wines from unknown vineyards and carefully crafted edibles. All good things, I assure you.
Below, in no particular order, are 10 of the best gastropubs in Los Angeles and their menu highlights. I encourage you to try all of them at some point. They are all great spots for a quick bite with friends or a long intimate date or any other social situation. Dress is casual but appetites should be serious!
1018 Montana Ave., Santa Monica, CA 90403
3329 Helms Ave., Culver City, CA 90034
Even if you’re vegan, the prizewinning Office Burger — topped with GruyÃ¨re, bleu cheese, arugula, and an applewood-bacon compote — is a must. Don’t forget to add a shopping cart of sweet potato frites (yes, they are served in miniature shopping carts) and one of the 30+ brews on tap.
10850 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90064
Go for gold with the James Ranch Lamb French Dip served with onion marmalade and horseradish cream. The Jar of Chicken Liver Mousse is not to be ignored, and be sure to check out the fresh cocktails which are expertly mixed.
The Village Idiot
7383 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90046
Step into this Melrose Ave. bar and you’ll think you’ve been transported to London. This modern British pub is all about the neighborhood charm. While there are a lot of gems on the menu, I have to go with some obvious choices here: the Fish & Chips and the Steak and Potato Pie.
Waterloo & City
12517 W. Washington Blvd., Culver City, CA 90066
This “traditional British gastropub” has an impressive wine and beer list as well as delightful cocktails to wet your whistle. Try the Smoked Salmon Terrine and don’t skip dessert especially their Sticky Toffee Pudding with salted caramel.
6372 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90028
The everything-under-$21 menu boasts some good treats. Order up the Oyster Po’ Boy Sliders and a Bianca Verde pizza. Be sure to wash your food down with one (or two or three) of the many beers on tap.
5018 York Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90042
I have yet to make my way to this Highland Park gastropub, but I am told this is the perfect place for a Cheddar Burger and a pint.
Ford’s Filling Station
9531 Culver Blvd., Culver City, CA 90232
One of the original leaders in the LA gastropub trend, Ford’s Filling Station continues to draw crowds with its impeccable menu, the genius of Owner/Chef Ben Ford (yep, that’s the son of Han Solo Harrison Ford). Must eats include Kobe Cheeks with root vegetables and the Polenta Cake with truffle mascarpone cheese.
6268 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood, CA 90028
This New York City-style bar and bistro is all about the Moules Frites (steamed mussels) and, of course, the Bowery Burger. Looking for Pabst Blue Ribbon in a can? Look no further; your hipster cred points can be easily earned here.
119 Broadway, Santa Monica, CA 90401
“Top Chef” fans will get a kick out of Chris “CJ” Jacobson’s residency at The Yard. Some notable treats include the Braised Crispy Beef Cheek and the King Crab Mac ‘n Cheese. Pair your edibles with a “Taste of the Tap”, a flight of 3 draft beers.
Follow The GastroBus on Twitter to find their whereabouts
Looking for a quick bite or just love the food truck trend? Check out The Gastrobus. On Sundays, you can find them at the Los Feliz Farmers Market where Chef Antonio Medina will whip up a ‘tapas’-style brunch based on what ingredients he can find at the market.