'Pregaming' in DTLA? Here are 3 places you won't want to miss

Whether you’re catching a game at Staples Center, taking in a performance at Walt Disney Concert Hall or hitting up a downtown club or concert, the eclectic array of 19 eateries at FIGat7th makes it the ultimate one-stop “pregaming” spot for dinner and drinks. With something for everyone right in the heart of downtown L.A., FIGat7th is conveniently located off the 110 freeway at Figueroa and 7th streets, just a stroll (or a subway or bus stop) from all of the above.

Here are three FIGat7th eateries where DTLA visitors can turn an event into an experience.

Torta Company founders Jimmy and Andy Shaw have elevated the traditional Mexican sandwich into a hip, hearty meal in itself that’s perfect for pregame. Layered inside what’s been dubbed “the most delicious, authentic telera [Mexican sandwich roll] ever” are any of number of mouthwatering delights including poblanos and oaxaca cheese (papa con rajas), alambre (Mexican shish kebab), chorizo cheese steak (puntas choriqueso), and sirloin tips and cheddar (puntas de sirloin con queso). Despite these eclectic choices, chef Jimmy Shaw uses traditional methods for creating his sandwiches, as demonstrated in the making of his torta cubana.

Mexico City-born chef Jimmy Shaw is also behind Lotería Grill, which began at the Original L.A. Farmers Market and now has a location inside FIGat7th’s Taste Food Hall. Take the edge off your day and start the night right with one of the raved-over signature margaritas from Lotería’s well-stocked cantina. Made with only premium tequilas, they’ve been declared the best margaritas in DTLA (or anywhere) by numerous reviewers. With a scrumptiously authentic regional Mexican menu, including enchiladas, tacos, handmade tortillas and breakfast served all day; Lotería Grill provides an easygoing start to any evening, with reasonable prices and swift, attentive service.

For a more leisurely pre-event meal, City Tavern at FIGat7th is open until 10:30 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays (10 p.m. Monday through Wednesday and Saturday; 9 p.m. on Sunday). Created by Ken Kaufman and Brian McKeaney, the partnership behind the original City Tavern in Culver City (and the nearby Rush Street bar-restaurant), this downtown destination serves nuanced contemporary comfort food in a comfy throwback atmosphere complete with warm wood tables, distressed brick walls and reclaimed wood floors.

City Tavern’s dinner menu features an expansive selection of appetizers, from freshly-shucked oysters and chipotle shrimp cocktail to Canadian-inspired poutine (slow-braised short rib, pimento cheese and gravy over garlic fries). Entrees include crispy-skin salmon with fingerling potatoes, New York strip steak, baby back ribs, and a perfect fall warmer: A pan-roasted half-chicken with potato puree, broccolini and lemon-herb sauce.

City Tavern also shines with its impressive choice of craft beers on tap (28 at last count), carefully curated wine list, and specialty cocktails like the Grape Gatsby (Ketel One, St. Germain, Pamplemousse, grapes, grapefruit, lemon) and Tavern Old-Fashioned (Henry McKenna 10-year bourbon, calisaya, Angostura bitters and orange zest).

The next time you are venturing into or staying late in dynamic DTLA, consider making an evening out of a ticketed event.

Paul Rogers, Tribune Content Solutions

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