Last year, an amazing thing happened. A whiskey bar opened in LA. For years, I've wondered, what do we have to do in this town to get a decent bar or restaurant that carries more than five single malts. My yearning was heightened after I visited the Brandy Library in New York with its amazing Russian novel-length menu of single malts.
My prayers were answered with the opening of Seven Grand, downtown at...wait for it...Seventh and Grand Avenue (Actually, it's closer to Seventh and Olive, but I suppose "Seven Olive" didn't have the same ring to it). To boot, the bar is easily accessible by metro, situated a mere two blocks from the 7th and Metro station, so you don't have to drive home.
Now, as a father of two small children, I don't spend a lot of my evenings at bars, so it took me a while to get to this place, but I recently was able to log a couple of trips and give you this report.
Seven Grand is located upstairs on an unassuming and commercially sparse block of Seventh Street. The decor is a funky hunting lodge-chic, complete with mounted stag heads and other hunting kitsch. A few pool tables are lined up in the back of the relatively compact space.
The menu is certainly the most comprehensive selection of whiskey I've seen at any bar or restaurant in LA, with a good selection of Scotch, Irish Whiskey and especially Bourbon and other American whiskies.
That being said, this is no Brandy Library. Most of the offerings, particularly of Scotch, are fairly basic and there is not much in the way of hard to find or rare bottles on the menu. There do appear to be some off menu choices. The helpful bartender found a Cragganmore Distiller's Edition on the shelf that was not listed, so it pays to ask if there is something you want but don't see.
There is also a cocktail list with a dozen choices, including sours, Irish coffees, mint juleps and other traditional whiskey drinks. Though I snub most whiskey cocktails, watching the bartender carefully make them with fresh ingredients almost had me wanting one.
As a certified whiskey geek, I must point out that the drinks menu contains some inexcusable inaccuracies. Highland Park is listed under the Islay section, when it is actually from the Orkney Islands. Stranahan's, an American single malt from Colorado, is incorrectly listed under the heading of blended whiskey. Tsk Tsk Seven Grand.
Still, it's good to see a watering hole for serious whiskey drinkers in LA. It's my hope that Seven Grand will expand its repertoire with some rare and hard to get bottles that will make it a true whiskey-lovers paradise. For now, it's still the best game in town.
515 W. 7th Street, 2nd Floor
Los Angeles, CA