Los Angeles restaurants have a bit of catching up to do when it comes to beer (sit down gastropubs, this isn’t about you). Part of my soul dies every time I go to a bougie restaurant that offers Coors Light—that’s like putting a Kraft Single on a Kobe beef burger. And if I see one more tiny beer menu orphaned onto the bottom of a delicious, extensive wine list, I’m going to implode.
But there are exceptions to this very specific pet peeve of mine—meticulous restaurants that choose NOT to shaft beer drinkers. And there are plenty of non-top-tier restaurants that are rocking their beer game in a deeply satisfying way as well. Cue the listicle: These seven restaurants have surprisingly great beer menus.
Beautifully assembled dishes using seasonal ingredients… and a killer (if not super extensive) beer menu as well. Gjelina is one of the few top-tier restaurants in Los Angeles that offers local (read: Los Angeles) beers. A recent glance at the menu reveals choices from Three Weavers, Smog City, and El Segundo Brewing. 1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, 310-450-1429 or gjelina.com
When it comes to dive bars, you know the drill – Ask for a can of Bud or GTFO. Not so with Crawford’s Bar in Westlake. The classic dive reopened under new ownership earlier this year, and the guys behind the revamp managed to pull off something miraculous: a dark, dank dive with a top-tier beer menu. They’ve got brews from Highland Park Brewing, Stone, Duvel… and, oh yeah, fried chicken on demand. 2616 Beverly Blvd, Westlake, 213-568-3133
Another high flyer that’s taking beer seriously, Baco Mercat offers great beer selections from all over the world. From cans of Mikkeller Beer Geek Breakfast to an Ommegang sour on draft, someone at Baco Mercat really know what’s up… with this caveat: whither the Los Angeles beers? 408 S Main St, 213-687-8808 or bacomercat.com
Sushi and beer? Oh yes. Hamasaku not only serves some of the best sushi in the city, but a well-curated selection of Japanese craft beer as well. Might I suggest the Hitachino Nest White Ale? 11043 Santa Monica Blvd, Westwood, 310-479-7636 or hamasakula.com
Great Mexican food deserves great Mexican beer. Bizarra Capital (run by the guy who brought you Guisados) boasts a well-curated selection of Mexican craft beer, so you can skip the fizzy piss lagers and grab a Tiniebla witbier from Tijuana’s Cerveceria Insurgente; the perfect pairing for ceviche de agauchile and/or pollo asado. 12706 Philadelphia St, Whittier, 562-945-2426
Ok, this one is kind of cheating—they don’t serve food at Melody Lounge so it’s not really a restaurant. But rarely do you find a perfect karaoke bar with a perfect beer list (24 taps!). And damn it, if I have to get up in front of a group of people and sing Britney Spears, I had better have my kind of liquid courage to do so. 939 N Hill St, Chinatown, 213-625-2823
Milo & Olive, Santa Monica
Beer and pizza seems obvious. But when you get to the upper echelons of Italian pie in Los Angeles, beer is mostly abandoned in favor of wine (I’m looking at you, Pizzaria Mozza). But Milo & Olive eschews that small kind of thinking, and offers a beer program that dazzles. While light on local options, the menu takes you to some of the more interesting corners of Europe – selections from Sweden’s Omnipollo and Germany’s Köstritzer enhance a good list list of Stateside options. 2723 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, 310-453-6776 or miloandolive.com