Sip Back and Explore LA’s Whisky Scene With Us
LA has a rich history of whisky consumption and production. During and after Prohibition is when whisky really had its moment. As soon as the alcohol ban was lifted, bars and clubs started specializing in this smoky malt liquor, and it’s really taken off since. In recent years, LA’s whisky scene has grown with new bars and distilleries opening up all over the city. Now, LA is considered a destination for whisky lovers from all over the world. Here are a few of our favorite spots to sip whisky neat. Whisky Bars LA
Tucked away on the top floor of the Saddle Creek Lodge in Malibu Canyon, The Double Barrel Room is an exclusive whisky room with a cabin feel. Leather couches, taxidermy mounted on the walls, a chess board, candles and, of course, lots of whisky make it the perfect place to enjoy a cozy nightcap before you hit the hay. They serve Balvenie whisky neat, and they even sell it by the bottle (up to 40 years aged). You can only purchase a bottle if you choose to become a member—we’d say it’s worth it.
Location: Malibu Canyon
The Musso & Frank Grill is a historic restaurant in Hollywood that’s been serving up old-school Hollywood glamor since 1919 (picture red leather booths, white tablecloths, vintage decor and black and white photos of Hollywood legends), making it one of our favorite whisky bars in LA. The bar here is timeless with bartenders in red coats serving up classic cocktails and luxury spirits like Balvenie Single Malt Scotch Whisky—perfect for sipping neat. We suggest enjoying it after dinner and pairing it with the brioche bread pudding. The notes of vanilla and honey in the whisky complement the sweetness and creaminess of the bread pudding to perfection. Maybe you’ll even get Johnny Depp’s attention with a choice as sophisticated as that!
Nothing pairs with whisky like a juicy rib eye, and Steak 48 in Beverly Hills has a great one. When you walk in, you’ll immediately notice the sleek white tablecloths, fancy globe light fixtures and expansive wall of fine wines. They require a dress code of elegance (we’re talking sport coats and collared shirts) to contribute to the high-end, contemporary atmosphere. Their 45-day dry-aged bone-in ribeye is deliciously tender and buttery—a perfect complement to the richness and complexity of a nice glass of Balvenie whisky. This location just opened in January 2023, so it’s sure to attract lots of celebrities. Get a good seat and keep your eye out because you never know who might walk through those big glass doors.
Location: Beverly Hills
With over 700 rare and unique whiskies in their collection, this historic establishment has perfected the art of whisky appreciation. Step into a captivating atmosphere, where the rich history and old-world charm seamlessly blend with a cozy and welcoming vibe at The Tam O’Shanter. While savoring their renowned Salted Caramel Old Fashioned, crafted with expertise, you’ll find yourself immersed in the intricate flavors and aromas that only the finest whiskies can offer. Buffalo Trace reigns as their top-selling whisky, a testament to their commitment to quality. And celebrating their 101st anniversary, The Tam O’Shanter proudly presents a truly exclusive treasure—the first full barrel sold by SMWS to any partner bar in the world, directly from the Scotch Malt Whisky Society’s Vaults in Leith, Scotland. Prepare to embark on an unparalleled whisky journey, meticulously curated for the tasteful connoisseur.
Location: Atwater Village
Want to pretend you’re living during Prohibition and have to enjoy your whisky incognito? The Varnish is a quaint speakeasy hidden behind what looks like a storage closet door in the back of Cole’s French Dipped Sandwiches downtown (just past the pool tables). Every seat in the house has a view of the live band, which plays Sunday through Wednesday in the evenings. The brick wall behind the bar gives it a real Prohibition feel, and the cocktails are to die for. We recommend just asking for the bartender’s choice and letting them surprise you!
The Cigar and Whisky Bar is a speakeasy-style cigar and whisky lounge (if you couldn’t tell by the name) that can be found behind a hidden door on the second floor of The Maybourne Beverly Hills. It’s open to the public, but if you’re a guest at the hotel, you get access to a special menu with even better selections. Right when you walk in, you’re hit with the sweet smell of over 1,000 cigars from the Caribbean and Central America. Sit outside on the balcony or on a couch by the window to overlook the gorgeous gardens and courtyard below. What beats a Cuban and a glass of whisky outside on a summer night, right?
Location: Beverly Hills
If you’re looking for a classic, old-school vibe, Seven Grand is the place to dwell. One of the most popular whisky bars in LA, Seven Grand attracts whisky lovers from all over the world. It’s more laid back and casual than the other spots on our list, so there’s no need to dress up. They’ve got live bands playing almost every night (think jazz and blues), making it a great place to socialize over a nice glass of one of their 700 different types of whisky. Whether it’s a Monday night or a weekend, you’ll always find this place lively and bustling. Hint: hidden in the back is Bar Jackalope, a tiny speakeasy that serves Japanese whisky—make a reservation; you won’t regret it.
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If you like truffle, whisky or the potential to run into Eva Longoria, Wally’s in Beverly Hills is the place to go. It’s a wine and cheese market in addition to a restaurant, so the walls are lined with hundreds of wine bottles. They don’t take reservations and can get really busy for dinner, so we love to go during happy hour. Order truffle fries and Wagyu steak tartare for the table, then wash it down with a glass of Balvenie whisky neat. The rich, earthy flavor of the truffle and the savory Wagyu will pair excellently with the drink, and the sophisticated, modern atmosphere is just the cherry on top.
Location: Beverly Hills, Santa Monica
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When you walk into Mastro’s in Downtown LA, you’ll see a grand staircase that leads up to the main seating area, featuring gorgeous chandeliers, plush seating and dark wood finishes. It’s upscale and refined—they have a strict upscale dress code as well, so leave your jerseys, ball caps and sweatpants at home. Our favorite part is the piano bar in the front with live music every night of the week. Enjoy a Balvenie Truffle cocktail or a whisky neat with the sound of piano music as your backdrop, and you’re sure to feel like a celebrity. Who knows, you may even spot Katy Perry or LeBron James enjoying a meal next to you.
Location: DTLA, Beverly Hills, Malibu