Don’t call it a comeback; it’s been here for years. Although most of us associate absinthe–that anise-flavored, green-hued spirit–with the poets and artists of late 19th- and early 20th-century France, the fabled “green fairy” can be found at most bars nowadays. So whether you’re looking to emulate Rimbaud, Wilde, Van Gogh and Hemingway or you just want to get your drink on, here are 10 places in LA where you can raise a glass o’ green.
Bar Noir @ Maison 140 – Beverly Hills
For the whole old-school absinthe ritual (for just $5!!) head to Bar Noir. Every evening from 5pm to 7pm, a few ounces of Le Tourment Vert absinthe are poured into a glass, followed by ice water chilled in a special absinthe fountain. The cocktail is finished with a flourish of cascading water over a sugar cube, which sits perched atop a special slotted-silver spoon, lying across the glass. If you want to heat things up, the bartender can set the sugar cube ablaze before melting it into a snifter of absinthe, and cooling it down with ice. Cost per drink is $5 during happy hour or $10 after 7pm.
The Charleston – Santa Monica
This jewel box-sized space formerly known as Angel’s Piano Bar has been (slightly) transformed into The Charleston, another retro-glam space that pays homage to a bygone era with seven different kinds of absinthe ranging from Pernod ($13) and Abyss ($14) to St. George ($16). All poured with the full presentation by a real-live green fairy.
Sadie – Hollywood
This new glammy restaurant in the old Les Deux space has a couple options for la fée verte including the Green Beast with Pernod absinthe, lime juice, castor sugar, cucumber and water over crushed ice ($12) and Pontchartrain with bourbon, tawny port, housemade grenadine and a dash of lemon in an absinthe-rinsed glass ($14).
Thirsty Crow – Silver Lake
If you want to drink some green while saving a little green, it doesn’t get much better than Absinthe Minded Tuesdays at Thirsty Crow in Silver Lake. Yes, this is a whiskey bar, but every Tuesday from 8pm to close you can get a different $5 absinthe cocktail plus a full absinthe menu.
Mohawk Bend – Echo Park
If you can tear yourself away from the 72 craft beers on tap at this local-everything restaurant and bar in Echo Park, check out the Absinthe Spritzer made with La Sorcière Absinthe Bleue, fresh lemons and limes, agave nectar, soda and a black licorice stick ($14) that really gets that herbaceous licoricey flavor going.
Roger Room – Midtown LA
This hidden speakeasy is a drinker’s favorite, so you’d do well to try The Grifter, a mojito of Mata Hari absinthe, mint, simple syrup, club soda and crushed ice ($16); the Green Fairy with Lucid absinthe, egg white, simple syrup and club soda ($15) ; or Death in the Afternoon, a simple yet lethal combo of Pernod absinthe and champagne ($14).
Oldfield’s Liquor Room – Culver City
This watering hole whose name pays homage to 1900s-era speed racer Barney Oldfield offers absinthe cocktails like the Golden Submarine ($10) with peach-infused cognac, lemon, sugar and Prosecco; Indie Stutz’s whiskey, absinthe, creme de cassis and strawberries ($12); and the Desert Classic’s ($11) smoky mix of rum, bitters, mezcal and absinthe.
First & Hope – Downtown LA
This retro-sleek bar and restaurant in Downtwon LA is where you can might conjure up visions of the green fairy with the Absinthe Minded cocktail made with absinthe, triple sec, pineapple juice, champagne and four mint leaves. The drink is $12.
Fat Dog – Hollywood
This newish dog-friendly gastropub in the emerging Fairfax/Melrose district is serving up The Mutt, a heady mix of rye whiskey, absinthe, simple syrup, Peychaud’s bitters and lemon for $11. It’s not green, but it’s intense and surprisingly refreshing.
Haven Gastropub – Pasadena & Orange
Double trouble: Whether you’re heading to the brand-new location in Old Pasadena or the original spot in Old Towne Orange, this popular gastropub is where you can get a straight-up dose of St. George Absinthe Verte. It’s $14 for two ounces neat or on the rocks. Down the hatch!
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