Tucked away in Glassell Park, a tiny neighborhood east of Silver Lake and southwest of Highland Park, lies a bar on Verdugo Ave. aptly named Verdugo Bar.
I was introduced to this joint about a month ago and I am profoundly grateful as I was instantly transported back to my days living in East Austin where just about every bar has a huge outdoor drinking area with heaters, huge picnic benches and food trucks with awesome comfort foods; fusion or traditional.
Although food trucks are not a nightly fixture at Verdugo Bar they do come often to feed the patrons (check their website to see their truck schedule).
Verdugo Bar specializes in craft beers, and when I say they specialize I mean they pride themselves on catering to the beer geek.
I myself am not one but in the hour that I spoke with the bartender, Katie, I could quickly see myself becoming one as I enjoyed learning about what beers were difficult to find on tap and how some independent breweries were in such demand that they have become selective on who they allow to carry their product.
Apparently Verdugo Bar is one of those bars because they carry Russian River IPA; one of the more sought after craft beers on the market.
I stopped by one Sunday afternoon to do my research on this bar – a follow up to my initial visit, which I don’t remember much of because, well, I had a really good time and decided to have a light liquid brunch of Russian River IPA and a glass of Barterhouse bourbon neat.
Other than specializing in craft beer, they also have an extensive and respectable bourbon menu, carrying a couple of bourbons I have yet to taste. One was the Barterhouse. Another is Old Blowhard. Both are made by the same company, Orphan Barrel.
I chose Barterhouse because, one it was cheaper and two, I have seen it in my local liquor store so if I fell hard for it I would know exactly where to go to pick up a bottle.
The Barterhouse ($16) was so, so smooth, warm and delicious! The Russian River IPA, full-bodied, hoppy and had a wonderful after taste.
***A side note for those who love to make awesomely poor choices… Verdugo Bar sells beers to go until closing.
Owner Ryan Sweeney hasn’t created a bar, he has built a community and a culture. Verdugo Bar hosts pop culture trivia nights, Hip-Hop Thursdays, “Patio Sessions” where you can congregate with your friends and play board games from 3-7 pm (including but not exclusive to Cards Against Humanity) and on the last Thursday of every month they roast an entire hog in a china box.
Once a month they even have an event for the “Church of Seitan” which offers vegan food (tacos, cupcakes and such).
The people who work here are food and beverage professionals.
They are not aspiring actors or actresses, they are aspiring restaurant and bar owners and in some cases they are restaurant owners, as in the case of Katie who was my educator this glorious Sunday afternoon.
She is one of the owners of Lemon Poppy Kitchen nearby (their biscuits are supposed to be redonkulous).
The girl that I spoke with sitting next to me at the bar lives in Silver Lake and comes here every Sunday. There is a serious loyal following at Verdugo Bar and I have no doubt that it will continue to grow.
I am excited to count myself as one of them. Verdugo is truly a gem.