Cocktails of LA: Sip Some Soju at Santa Monica’s Weary Livers

The menu has dozens of beers on offer but it’s the cocktail menu that keeps bar crawlers coming

If you’ve ever bet on a horse just because of its name, you’ll understand why we were drawn to Santa Monica’s Weary Livers. Who could resist this one? Unlike corporate drinking holes with tasteful everything, the Weary is dark and cozy and chock-full of owner John Saladana’s quirky thrift store finds. Here, you can sip original recipe cocktails while perusing 1940s wedding portraits and taking selfies with a 12-foot-tall skeleton.

The menu has dozens of beers on offer but it’s the cocktail menu that keeps bar crawlers coming. First-time customers are converting to soju, the Korean distilled alcohol that’s often compared to vodka. Soju’s proof is higher than wine and beer, but not as potent as hard liquor, says mixologist Brian Kaufman. He’s proud of the Painkiller, a mix of pineapple and orange juices with coconut cream that’s whirled in a slushy machine. Topped with an orchid, it’s a creamy concoction that might replace that Pina Colada you’ve been drinking for years.

The Pain Killer will kill what ails you. Photo: Maureen Harrington

If you’re seeking something refreshing on a hot summer night then go for the Weary Grog, with chilled lime and grapefruit juice, or the tequila-flavored soju, which makes a standout marguerite. Manager Rene Vasquez pours three ounces of soju, to compensate for the lower alcohol content (24%). Even with a heavy pour, it’s a good choice for those wanting a cocktail with less impact and more flavor. The craft cocktails run from $10 to $14; at happy hour, the Painkiller is $8.

Weary Livers came about from the combined efforts of Saladana’s boyhood friends from the Central Valley, who all pitched in to get this cabinet of curiosities open. Some new friends and patrons from the neighborhood have gotten involved, too. The Brixton, a favorite drinking spot next door, supplies the bar menu and customers have been coming up with special occasion nights to boost business: drag performances, an art show and sale, and a comedy night organized by a regular who’s a professional writer by day. Check out Weary Livers on Instagram for upcoming event nights.

And as a bonus, the bar features a dartboard and shuffleboard for some evening and late-night fun.

Weary Livers
2819 Pico Blvd, Santa Monica
Monday-Saturday, closed Sunday
5 p.m. – 1:30 a.m.

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