The next craft beer shopping destination in Los Angeles is coming to Koreatown, with 20 taps alongside bottles to go. Southland Beer, just a few blocks south of Beer Belly on Western Avenue, is putting the final touches on its lounge and getting ready for a late September grand opening.
Joining Echo Park’s Sunset Beer Co. and Redondo Beach’s Select Beer Store, Southland Beer will give beer lovers the one-two punch of a curated bottle selection and a bevy of taps for on-site drinking. Sharing a parking lot with Saint Martha (yes, parking!) the space is the dream of former librarian Tim Sturm and his wife (and current librarian) Orchid Mazurkiewicz.
“I just wanted to open a bar that I wanted to hang out in,” said Sturm, who added that years of idle planning and designing hypothetical bars became a serious pursuit about three years ago, following a visit to San Francisco’s City Beer Store. Sturm said he was inspired by the shop's bar/bottleshop combo and wanted to open a space that nurtured the craft community and educated beer drinkers.
Patrons can get glasses or flights of draft beer, or buy bottles to drink in the shop or to take home. Though there’s no kitchen, there are plans to offer cheese plates, desserts and other snacks with an eye toward pairing the bites with the brews. And staff will be available to help customers navigate the beer list (and the pairings).
“I want people to walk in and be surprised by what’s on the tap list,” Sturm said. “We won’t limit ourselves to one region, but local breweries are a huge part of [what we want to offer].”
Southland Beer's slate gray walls are covered in colorful prints illustrating the characteristics of different hop varieties, and the room is dominated by a long communal table with seating for 20. On the far side of the 10-seat bar, there are 19 draft lines and a beer engine for serving cask ales, and there’s a room just off the common space that will house the cooler and shelves for the bottled offerings.
“I used to tell students that a library without librarians was just a warehouse for books,” said Sturm, who’ll be drawing on his 20 years of experience helping people find what they didn’t know they needed as he curates his tap list, selects bottles and, especially, helps his customers discover new favorite beers.