5 Punch Bowls and Jugs for Group Drinking in LABy Lesley Balla
June 24, 2014
Summer party season is already in full swing, especially at several bars and restaurants around town. From seasonally focused punch bowls in the heart of Pasadena to jugs of sangria for DJ nights on West Third Street, here's where to go for group-sipping fun.
Goldie’s: Thursday nights are now "Thumping" on Third Street, especially with tunes from the in-house DJ and jug cocktails like the Aperol Spritz, Golden Girl (spiced tequila, passion fruit, agave and lime meringue) and Sangria, all for $25-$40 per jug.
Punch: Only seating about 30 people at a time, this speakeasy-type bar above Edurado Ruiz's Picnik sausage emporium focuses on punch for the public. Barmen Robin Chopra and Darwin Manahan mix up all sorts of concoctions to serve by the glass or bowl, using recipes based on classic strong, sweet, sour, weak and spice punch components. After you enter through a red door behind Picnik, you can order things like the Caribbean Rhapsody, a tribute to all things tiki, sort of like a Planter's Punch with rum, pineapple, orange, brown sugar, spice and mint, among other things; or the Royal Vice City, a bright green, herbaceous quaff made with gin, pisco, grapefruit, cucumber, basil and peppercorn. It's only open Thursday, Friday and now Saturday nights, and there's often live music and/or DJs somewhere in the complex making it an excellent post-shopping party spot.
Melrose Umbrella Co.: Punch bowls are so appropriate at the throwback Melrose bar. One new offering from barman Zach Patterson is the La Dame Blanc, made with Chivas 12 year, St. Germain, pearl jamsine green tea, unfiltered apple juice, lemon and vanilla sugar. You'll also find it at the new brunch every second Sunday of the month (the next one is July 13). Pay $20 at the door for a glass of Champagne and passed apps via chef Eric Greenspan served throughout the day, and then stick around for punch bowls, craft cocktails and live entertainment from noon-5 PM. It's RSVP only for the brunch. To get on the list, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Church Key: What could make a happy hour happier? Punch bowls. The flavors change regularly based on bar manager Devon Espinosa's whims and fancy, but you can always expect something boozy, fruity and sparkly. The dominant flavors in our recent concoction were bourbon, passionfruit and Champagne. The price — $14 for a bowl for two or $25 for four — and the quality can't be beat. It leaves room in the wallet for snacks from the dim sum carts. Monday through Friday, 5:30-7 PM.
The Spare Room: The swank lounge at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel is the perfect place for punch bowls and bowling...or a rousing game of Connect Four. Punches are created a la minute for groups of four to 20 — prices start at $60 and go to $240 — with flavors ranging from spicy (Irish whiskey, honey, citrus, amaro, bitters and nutmeg) to fruity (Champagne, Cognac, blackberries, sugar and lemon) and everything in between. Look for a summer live music series on Thursday nights.