The geographical make-up of The Westside of Los Angeles differs depending on whom you talk to. I define it as such:
South of The Valley
North of The South Bay
West of West Hollywood
East of The Ocean.
Though I now live in Long Beach, I had lived on The Westside for almost eight years. Getting in and out of The Westside is never a great experience due to the ever-increasing side street traffic, so visiting my favorite spots out there is a pain in the arse even when I just lived 5 miles away. Now I live thirty miles away. The roundtrip drive takes two hours at minimum.
Sadly I didn't discover The Westside's whisky potential until after I'd moved eastward. And now it's difficult to access it at all. But I made the trip out there yesterday to hit two great whisky spots.
The Daily Pint - 2310 Pico Boulevard, Santa Monica
I've referenced The Pint several times in this blog, usually regarding free whisky tastings. It has a sturdy divey bar look and a very laid back vibe (except on whisky tasting nights), so it always feels like it's far from the LA Scene. A positive. But it has one thing really going for it.
It carries almost 200 single malts.
There's a list here, but there are dozens of drams that aren't on it. I know that for a fact because I had two yesterday that aren't part of the list and saw many many more. Their collection of independents - Signatory, Cadenhead's, Scott's, Chieftain's, etc - is just outrageous.
I had my first cask strength whisky here (thank you James!) two years ago and I remember it promptly numbing my face. (To all you whisky noobs out there, please hit your first and second cask strength drams with a little bit of water in order to work your nervous system up to the point where you can do it neat later on. Educational!)
The prices here are decent, definitely less than the outrageous rates charged by the famous downtown Seven Grand. And I had a tremendous malt yesterday, on special, that I swear they were selling at a loss. They've also started a Single Malt Club which will get members a 10% discount. I just joined yesterday!
They also have about 30 beers on tap and I've heard nothing but raves about those. Of course, my eyes rarely stray from the official malt bottlings in the upper tier and the indies in the back.
If you're looking to test out a single malt before buying a whole bottle, I heartily recommend this place. Especially if you live on The Westside.
Beverage Warehouse - 4935 Mcconnell Avenue, Culver City(-ish)
I'm almost thankful that I didn't find this place until we were about to move down South. This place is like Candyland.
When I walked in the door, I almost had a nervous breakdown. I almost went potty. I am not exaggerating.
It is a warehouse full of beverages.
Here's a pic of the outside entrance:
I will not show you a photo of the liquor shelves within because they're downright pornographic (and I also can't find a pic to steal from the Internet). Hundreds of whiskies. Hundreds of tequilas. Hundreds of vodkas. Hundreds of gins. Hundreds of rums. And the beer selection is crazy.
Their prices are great, possibly the best in Los Angeles County.
They do tastings (wine or whisky, usually). Their staff is nice. And I'm really digging their selection of minis. If you go, pick up a mini of Highland Park 18 and Macallan 18; they're priced 30-40% lower than I've ever seen, so I picked up one of each yesterday.
Like I recommend with a Las Vegas trip, leave your high limit credit card behind when you go here. But unlike Vegas, you really need to be sober when setting foot in Beverage Warehouse. Keep your wits about you or else you will walk out with a full paycheck's worth of liquor in tow.
I'd say that's what qualifies as "good stress". So, stop by the Beverage Warehouse and feel free to turn somersaults in the aisles.
I had a great time hitting these two spots. Didn't even mind the traffic for once. Didn't spend much money either. Now if someone could just bring these businesses out to Long Beach...