The Varnish - Downtown L.A.
|Classic craft cocktail aficionado Sasha Petraske is a big deal in New York—he opened one of the city’s first serious cocktail bars Milk & Honey—so when he teamed up with downtown nightlife operator Cedd Moses (Golden Gopher, Broadway Bar, Seven Grand) and barman Eric Alperin in 2009, he launched one of Los Angeles' first sophisticated bars, now considered the godfather of LA's craft cocktail movement. The Downtown speakeasy sits inside Cole's, past a discrete rear door, marked only by a drawing of a coupe glass. Standing at the bar is not permitted, so snag a vintage booth and take in the live piano music; but, of course, the main draw here is the drinks. You can't go wrong with a classic Old-Fashioned or Aviation.|