Friday, April 30, 2010

One Scotch, One Bourbon, One Beer: Thirsty Crow Bar Lands in Silverlake

At the Thirsty Crow two trends converge to create something unique. The single spirit focused bar - Las Perlas etc and the adjectively named animal establishments - Lazy Ox I am thinking of you - come together to create the Thirsty Crow, a bourbon focused bar on Sunset Blvd in Silverlake. The Crow has been fully renovated by the 1933 Group, the team behind Bigfoot Lodge and Saints & Sinners. The 1933 team replaced what had been Stinkers with a beautiful looking space that looks like it could have been there for years. The U-shaped bar with plenty of stools is right in front, highlighting the wall of spirits behind the bar. One of the best features of the room is the most beautiful antique/vintage jukeboxes I have ever seen. The wood exterior and the sunburst of silver inside is something to behold.

The menu offers both a large selection of sipping bourbons, ryes & whiskies curated by Brandon Ristaino (pictured left) and a cocktail list created by Cooper Gillespie (pictured below). The bourbon/rye list has a large variety, of both rare finds and more familiar choices to ease yourself into the whiskey universe. At a pre-opening event, I had the opportunity to sample the Pappy Van Winkle's Family Reserve Bourbon 23 Year old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey thanks to Josh from FoodGPS asking to try it. It was rich but not too sweet and the flavor benefited from the aging in barrels. This was a whiskey to savor, especially at $40 per pour. Although it has some rare and pricey bourbons available, the the Thirsty Crow is an unpretentious environment and has many reasonably priced options on their list as well. On Sunday evenings from 9 pm onward, the Crow hosts a Whiskey Education program in which you can sample several bourbons and ryes for around $5 per. Its a good way to learn what your taste preferences are or just a chance to enjoy a bargain beverage in a fun atmosphere.
The cocktail list is divided into three sections: Classics, Manhattans & Sparkling Cocktails. The choices include a Mint Julep, an Old Fashioned and their signature Thirsty Crow cocktail (pictured below left). The Thirsty Crow is served in a mason jar and includes rye whiskey, citrus juices, bitters, and ginger beer in a glass with ice and a sprig of mint and a lemon wedge to garnish. This drink is worthy of being the signature drink as it is tasty and refreshing and my favorite of the drink list. The Manhattan section of the cocktail list includes several variations on the classic version as well as their their "traditional" made with rye, vermouth and bitters. The marmalade manhattan blended together much better than I was expecting, although of the manhattans I found the traditional to be the most delicious.

The Thirsty Crow successfully threads the needle between upmarket cocktail bar and unpretentious local bar. They have five beers on tap, but they are from microbrewers, and if you absolutely have to have them, Bud, PBR and Corona are available in bottles or cans. Four of the five beers on tap are from California (two each from Napa Smith and Anderson Valley). The bartenders are knowledgeable about the beverages on their menu and can help you navigate the choices to find something you will be sure to enjoy. The Classic cocktails and Manhattans are $12 each and the pours of ryes, scotches and bourbons are mainly in the $8 to $16 range with a few rarities priced for special occasions of any sort. No food is served but they welcome you to bring in your own. The Thirsty Crow opened last weekend and is now fully up and running.

Thirsty Crow: 2939 W Sunset Blvd, just West of Silverlake Blvd. Telephone: (323) 661-6007. Website: Follow on Twitter here.

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