New restaurants opening in L.A. can no longer simply pay lip service to beer if they want to draw customers from the swelling ranks of craft beer devotees. The next new hot spots need a beer program as well thought out as their decor and menu.
Here are three new pubs built on the idea of great beer paired with great food.
Eagle Rock Brewery Public House
Neighborhood: Eagle Rock
Who should be excited: Fans of the veteran Los Angeles craft brewery looking for more adventurous eats.
Don’t miss: The churrones — deep fried beef tendon sprinkled with cinnamon-sugar and served with a demitasse of viscous Mexican hot cocoa.
When Eagle Rock Brewery first opened in 2010, the production brewery and tasting room in Glassell Park became a beachhead for the craft beer invasion in L.A. At the end of 2014, the team behind ERB finally opened the doors of the brewpub they’d dreamed of since the early days of launching the Eagle Rock Brewery brand. On Colorado Boulevard in the historic building that last housed vegetarian outpost Fatty’s Public House, Eagle Rock Brewery Public House takes a chef-driven approach to a menu bereft of burgers.
“People have this preconceived notion that pub fare needs to be burgers, and fish and chips, and bangers and mash,” says Eagle Rock Brewery founder and Brewmaster Jeremy Raub. “We want to explore new territory and have people enjoy good beer with good food in a way that maybe they’re not used to, but that’s still very comfortable.”
Chef Jerry Su — who worked in the kitchens of Son of a Gun and Bouchon, in addition to countless shifts behind the bar at the Eagle Rock taproom — has filled the menu with some jazzed-up comfort foods, such as braised pork cheek, duck liver toast, and a colossal tomahawk pork chop that’ll feed the whole table. The beer list showcases the easy-drinking Eagle Rock Brewery beers, including some of their tough-to-find sour brews, and the taps provide some fun pairing possibilities. Try a pint of the dark-in-color but light-in-body Solidarity with a raw oyster for an unexpectedly fun match. 1627 East Colorado Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 739 0081, eaglerockpublichouse.com.
The Lost Knight
Neighborhood: Echo Park
Who should be excited: British expats, anglophiles and beer fans chasing the newest spots to grab local pints.
Don’t miss: The cask-conditioned ales and the beet Wellington.
The dust hasn’t yet settled inside the labyrinthine Lost Knight on Sunset Boulevard in the former Barragan's spot, and the new pub is drawing crowds from across the city. The space is split between dark wood booths in the dining area and a more open bar-seating room with big screens and punk music, and the menu is loaded with the type of classic pub fare that you’d expect. In addition to the burgers, high-end fish-and-chips, and bangers and mash there’s an assortment of sausage rolls and a rather dramatic fish pie featuring a river trout and lots of puff pastry. A selection of bar snacks are served late into the night, and the pub hopes to be open for lunch soon.
The food is rich and tasty, but the tap list will keep you holding court in the pub’s confines for many rounds. The taps skew heavily toward local breweries and cover stylistic ground from novel interpretations of classic German styles like the Gosebusters from Noble Ale Works to some of L.A.’s best hoppy brews. There are plenty of opportunities to experiment with different food and beer combinations, and the pub is equipped to serve cask-conditioned ales (like those from the British-themed Van Nuys brewery MacLeod’s Ale Company) the right way. 1538 W Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, (213) 278-0408, www.thelostknight.com.
Who should be excited: Beer lovers with families and anyone working in the nearby offices or studios who's looking for a liquid lunch or post-shift happy hour.
Don’t miss: The bleu cheese haystack -- a pile of shoestring fries covered in blue cheese and buffalo wing sauce -- and the apple-filled glazed doughnut served à la mode.
The newest outpost of local restaurateurs Chris and Mike Simms, the Burbank Simmzy’s brings the beachcomber aesthetic and fast-casual dining to the old Cabo-Cabo space on Olive Boulevard. There’s a big parking lot, an astroturf lawn strewn with corn-hole boards and the attendant beanbags, and — a first for the mini chain — a full bar serving cocktails with scratch-made bitters and flavorings. The menu is heavy on the burgers and sandwiches, and a weekend brunch menu just launched.
Other than the couple of spots in the downtown area, and the NoHo-adjacent Tony’s Darts Away, craft beer has been tough to come by in Burbank. Simmzy’s brings 24 taps of local craft beer to the corridor of studios and businesses in need of some proper pints. Plenty of IPAs are available for the hop-hunters, but the list strikes a good balance between popular brews and more esoteric (but delicious) styles. There’s also wine on tap and an upstairs event space that overlooks the airy dining room. 3000 W. Olive Ave., Burbank, (818) 962-2500, www.simmzys.com/home/location.