One of L.A.'s great civic institutions, Barnsdall offers affordable art classes for adults and children year round. Generations of Angelenos have learned to draw, paint, weave, make pottery and jewelry — and even learn the ukelele — at the workshops held at the art park in Hollywood.
They are not pouring plonk when it comes to the wine tastings, either. The basic format, Silverlake Wine co-owner Randy Clement explains, is four wines — more often than not, one white, one rosé and two reds. The wines, mostly from small wineries, are different every week. "We curate the wines for Barnsdall exactly the same way we curate the wines for the store," he says.
"The Friday night tastings at Barnsdall have become part of the cultural landscape of SoCal," says Clement, "and the first one each year marks the beginning of summer."
They get started about 5:30 p.m. on the west lawn of Hollyhock house. People lay out blankets and bring picnics or buy something from food trucks, which may include Heirloom L.A., Let's Be Frank, Border Grill, Cool Haus and others on any given evening.
"Basically," Clement says, "it's like being at your richest friends' house when nobody is home except for you and the 499 people you just met."
KCRW-FM DJ Dan Wilcox spins the music. And art workshops keep the kiddies from being bored. Barnsdall Friday Night Wine Tastings are a family-friendly event for a good cause, complete with panoramic views of Los Angeles, the sunset and general mingling.