5 great places to (legally) drink beer outside, in and around L.A.
Beer just seems to taste better under a clear blue sky. But despite more than five dozen independent breweries operating in Los Angeles County, spaces for outdoor beer drinking are few and far between. As the June gloom dissipates into the heart of summer, here are some new spots, plus a classic one, to enjoy a beer in the sun.
Griffith Park Roosevelt Cafe
It may be easy to overlook this cafe, located across from the Greek Theater on Vermont Avenue, but it’s more than just the 19th-hole restaurant serving the golfers. It also has the best craft beer selection in Griffith Park. You’ll find an assortment of craft beer from local (Iron Triangle, Boomtown) and regional breweries (Coronado, Trumer) pouring, and there’s no better place in the park to sit down with a pint and watch the day change. Beer and sausage specials are available on Saturdays, and the toasty and dry Deep Roots ESB from Three Weavers Brewery is a perfect fit for the occasion. Dogs are welcome, but parking can be tricky (especially if there’s a show at the Greek Theater). 2650 N. Vermont Ave., Los Angeles, (323) 674-0000, www.rooseveltcafe.net
Yorkshire Square Brewery
On the edge of sleepy Old Town Torrance, Yorkshire Square Brewery is the newest addition to the flourishing South Bay beer scene. The brewery is focused on British-inspired brews and traditional ingredients and methods. And with darts, a stone hearth and ales that are cask-conditioned and served via hand pumps, you could mistake the tasting room for a pub in the English countryside — until you step out onto the shady patio. Ivy clings to the walls (just think of it as the perfect Instagram background), and you’ll find a mix of cozy corners for sipping pints privately and a massive 22-foot-long table up front for more social toasts. It’s a mash-up of British tradition and California climate that’s reminiscent of the patio at Hollywood’s Cat and Fiddle when it was on Sunset. 1109 Van Ness Ave., Torrance, (424) 376-5115, yorkshiresquarebrewery.com
Los Angeles Ale Works
This scrappy startup in a Hawthorne industrial park serves up a slate of IPAs, brews tinged with coffee or Thai tea, and a unique take on the traditional Berliner weisse that’s tailor-made for sipping outside. The oak-fermented Blüme is light and tart and, as you might see at a cafe in Berlin, the brewery offers a selection of house-made syrups to flavor the brew and offset the acidic bite. Sample them all while relaxing on the spacious dog- and kid-friendly patio, where you can borrow a board game from the on-site library or grab a bite from the parade of food trucks often parked nearby. 12918 Cerise Ave., Hawthorne, (424) 456-4191, www.laaleworks.com
This San Pedro brewery is housed in an outsized port warehouse just off the waterfront. They’ve added an outdoor drinking area to their expansive tasting room, and it’s now open seven days a week. So far, it’s just picnic tables on the old warehouse loading dock, but with a cool ocean breeze and clear skies, there’s no need for added atmosphere. There’s also a revolving lineup of food trucks and a growing selection of canned and bottled beer to go. Best known for takes on traditional Belgian-styles, Brouwerij West also advocates the use of unique malts and esoteric grains from small farmers in the Pacific Northwest. 110 E. 22nd St., San Pedro, (310) 833-9330, www.brouwerijwest.com
Ladyface Ale Companie
Ladyface isn’t a new destination — the Agoura Hills brewpub was part of the initial wave of independent breweries that opened in Los Angeles in 2009 — but it’s still the best beer-focused outdoor drinking space in the county. With a picturesque view of the rugged hills above Malibu, a French bistro-inspired menu and beers for every palate (don’t miss the bright and quenching La Grisette), a visit to Ladyface is the perfect end to a day of exploring the the numerous trails that snake through the canyons. 29281 Agoura Road, Agoura Hills, (818) 477-4566, ladyfaceale.com
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