In Los Angeles, brunch is a dearly held weekend tradition, and for good reason. A languid pace and cheat-worthy foods that straddle the divide between eggs-and-bacon and soup-and-salad, all alongside boozy beverages served long before the sun gets above the proverbial yardarm, make the meal into an indolent escape from workaday realities.
When you think brunch, you probably think of the decadence of bottomless mimosas or a parade of bloody Marys baroquely adorned with all manner of wild garnishes. They're classic brunch tipples for a reason, but the best beverage for a lazy brunch might well be beer. Beer’s affinity for food is finally becoming more mainstream, and the vast variety of styles and flavors means there’s a bottle for nearly every food and every mood.
We’ve covered some of the most brunch-friendly beers in the past, but to really get a feel for how well-suited craft brews are to the brunch table, you should take advantage of the variety of L.A. beer bars that serve up fantastic brunchy dishes and pour the craft brews to match.
Blue Palms Brewhouse — Hollywood’s marquee craft beer destination serves up a little-known weekend brunch alongside 24 taps. The catch is that the brunch menu is available only when the Ohio State football team or the Pittsburgh Steelers have a weekend morning game. This features the Football Breakfast (Cap’n Crunch crusted French toast, plus eggs and bacon), the Hangover Burger, or cheddar cheese biscuits with sawmill gravy. They also make a noteworthy bloody Mary if you’re dining with traditionalists. Saturdays, 9 a.m. - noon. 6124 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 464-BEER, bluepalmsbrewhouse.com.
Beer Belly — Available only during the NFL season, the Koreatown beer oasis serves up fare fitting of its reputation for outrageous, delicious creations from Chef Wes Lieberher. Duck confit hash, Reese’s Pieces Pancakes, a perfectly picante breakfast burrito, and Chicken ‘IN’ Waffle — a chicken strip dipped in waffle batter and (of course) deep fried — are just some of the highlights. Beer Belly is also notable for its ample outdoor seating; it’s one of the few beer-brunch destinations where you can dine alfresco. Saturday and Sunday, noon - 3 pm. 532 S. Western Ave., Los Angeles, (213) 387-2337, beerbellyla.com.
Little Bear — This Arts District Belgian cafe boasts two dozen taps of Old World-inspired brews, so there’s always something to pair with the lengthy, varied brunch menu. Highlights include liege waffles (with fruit, bacon or cajun fried chicken), another take on the brunch burger, and a buttery breakfast sandwich that is frighteningly habit-forming. In the mood for something more lunch-like? Try either of the pastrami sandwiches (a melt and a ruben) featuring Chef Andre Guerrero’s Langer's-like house smoked meat. Talk about habit-forming. You may be tempted by all of the mimosas and bloody Marys that you’ll see go over the bar, but the Belgian brews are perfect for brunch, and brunch is a perfect excuse to splurge with something off of one of the best (beer) bottle lists in the city. Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. 1855 Industrial St., Los Angeles, (213) 622-8100, littlebearla.com.
Barbara’s at the Brewery — This unassuming pub nestled at the core of the Brewery Arts Complex is a little-known top-tier craft beer bar that serves up solid lunches and some crave-inducing brunch plates. The tap list always induces that “I want to order one of everything” feeling, and it skews heavily toward the local breweries that make craft beer in L.A. great. Brunch is offered on Sundays with all the expected items like a breakfast burrito (plump with a balanced mix of fillings), chilaquiles (drenched in piquant salsa verde), and a decadent croissant breakfast sandwich that fills the hole left by the shuttered Duke’s West Hollywood. Sundays, 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. 620 Moulton Ave. #110, Los Angeles, (323) 221-9204, barbarasatthebrewery.com.