Tucked into a corner of the sprawling new Zinc Cafe & Market in downtown's Arts District is Bar Mateo, a cocktail hideaway with a drinks list created by Proprietors LLC.
Attached to the cafe's olive-tree-dotted patio, the new drinkery features a long zinc-topped bar, cafe tables and chairs and a charming open-air patio view. Booths line one wall of the space, which also features bow-trussed ceilings and oversize paintings.
The cocktail menu is divided into two categories: aperitifs and house cocktails (all $12 each). The Avery aperitif is Lillet Rose and Giffard Pamplemousse with fresh pineapple and lime juices and Campari. The Willow features Dolin Blanc vermouth, Capurro pisco, Meyer lemon cordial and seltzer.
"Zinc is such a pretty room, we envisioned a lot of late afternoon meeting-up with friends before dinner on the patio," says Devon Tarby of Proprietors, "which of course is a perfect environment for aperitif cocktails." She notes they're lower in alcohol, include a bittering agent and have a fortified wine as the base, such as Lillet or sherry. "They're light, refreshing, not something you sit with for too long, and they go down pretty easy."
These will prime you for bar bites that include double-fried French fries tossed with thyme, herb-cured olives and sea-salt-toasted almonds, honey-drizzled goat cheese, and sliders with harissa and aioli, for example.
The thoughtful house cocktails include the Hewitt with Elijah Craig 12-year bourbon, Amaro Nonino, Lustau East India Solera sherry and cherry wood smoke; the 4th Place with Bummer & Lazarus gin, lemon juice, vanilla cream syrup, orange marmalade and seltzer; and the Decatur with Aylesbury Duck vodka, grapefruit and lemon juices, Creme de Violette and sparkling wine.
A concise wine list also is on hand, mostly California labels with a couple of French vintages in the mix, available by the glass or bottle. Beer on tap includes Saint Archer Blonde, Ommegang Rare VOS Amber and Houblon Chouffe Tripel ($4 to $8). In cans: Modern Times Wheat IPA, Oskar Blues Skotch Ale and Modern Times Coffee Stout ($4 to $6).
A list of featured spirits covers vodka, gin, rum, tequila, mezcal, brandy, bourbon, rye, Scotch and amaro. So there's something for everyone.
Bar Mateo at Zinc Cafe & Market, 580 Mateo St., Los Angeles, (323) 825-5381, www.zinccafe.com.