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7 Spots to Find Cocktails on Tap in LA

By Lesley Balla
March 19, 2014

Welcome to the Zagat #BarBlitz, our one-day celebration of all things shaken, stirred and sipped. Make sure to watch for more reasons to toast the LA cocktail scene today and keep the party going on Twitter and Instagram.

If you look closely, you'll notice that beer isn't the only thing flowing from taps around town right now. Bartenders are pouring heady cocktails, like tiki favorite Zombies, Moscow Mules and fruity mai tais on draft, which is both efficient for them and delicious for cocktailians. Julian Cox, who heads up bar programs for places like Petty Cash, Acabar and Circa in Manhattan Beach, admits it's not just a gimmick. "Draft cocktails are difficult to do well, but when you master the science, it's incredibly powerful," he says. "You get speed, efficiency, and consistency without sacrificing quality." But don't be fooled: quality drinks will always take time. Just because some are easy to pull versus pour, doesn't mean you won't have to wait a few minutes, especially at the busiest bars or clubs. But once you taste what's in the glass, that's all forgotten. Here are seven spots pouring the tastiest draft cocktails on the scene.

  • Corner Door: Barman Beau du Bois changes up his cocktail menus every season, but one thing that remains: the Moscow Mules on tap. The vodka, lime and housemade ginger beer concoction might sound simple, but it's an art getting it in the keg for easy-flowing service. 

    12477 W. Washington Blvd.; 310-313-5810

  • Acabar: We're still not sure how a tiki classic like the Zombie - three kinds of rum, sweeteners and lime - fits in with the Moroccan-Spice Trail theme of this stunning West Hollywood spot, but it's incredibly delicious and festive with its flaming top. Why on tap? It's quicker, and the nitrogen helps homogenize it. Definitely stick with the two-per-customer rule: it is indeed potent. For something a tad lighter, there's also a chartreuse swizzle on tap. 

    1510 N. Stanley Ave.; 323-876-1400

  • The ChurchillThe classic Manhattan on tap (Templeton rye, Carpano and Antica vermouth) is so popular, the West Hollywood hot spot goes through about a keg a week.  

    8384 W. Third St.; 323-655-8384

  • HoneycutAlex Day and Dave Kaplan's bar program is so extensive at this two-sided bar, the only drinks served in the dosco come from the tap. Right now there's the Step & Repeat, a fun fruity sipper made with blanco tequila, coconib-infused Campari and pineapple soda; Nobody's Robots, made with vodka, sherry and orange cream soda; and Candy's Room, with gin, Lillet Rose, Giffard Pêche de Vign, lemon, ginger and seltzer. They're sweet, spritzy and exactly what you need to get out on the dance floor. 

    819 S. Flower St.; 213-688-0888

  • Petty CashJulian Cox came up with cocktails fitting Walter Manzke's take on Mexican street food. There's an Oaxacan negroni from the tap, made with mezcal, Campari, Aperol and Capano Antica sweet vermouth; an Old Fashioned made with reposado tequila, mezcal and mole bitters; and The Brixton, sort of a spicy-sweet concoction with gin, poblano sorbet, habanero and flaming green Chartreuse. 

    7360 Beverly Blvd.; 323-933-5300

  • CircaCox and business partner/barman Josh Goldman help created the list at this South Bay spot, as well, and their draft cocktails definitely fit the Manhattan Beach scene. You'll find things like the Phil Collins, which comes with your choice of spirit, grapefruit, lemon and a splash of seltzer, and the Beach Don't Kill My Vibe, made with mezcal, lime, pineapple and lemongrass. The mai tai is as pretty as it is delicious, a blend of Jamaican rum, rhum agricole, Curaçao and housemade orgeat. 

    903 Manhattan Ave.; 310-374-4422

  • Bludso’s Bar & QueWhat else goes with barbecue other than a mint julep. Here, the bourbon-based quaff comes icy cold from the tap in traditional cups and mounds of ice. Just try to stop at one. 

    609 N. La Brea Ave.; 323-931-2583

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Places Mentioned

The Corner Door

American • Culver City

Food21 Decor20 Service22 Cost$42
 
 
 
Honeycut

Cocktail Bar • Downtown

Atmo.- Decor- Service- CostM
 
 
 
Circa

Eclectic • Manhattan Beach

Food22 Decor22 Service19 Cost$39
 
 
 
Acabar

Mediterranean • Hollywood

Food20 Decor25 Service21 Cost$62
 
 
 
The Churchill

American • Beverly Grove

Food18 Decor20 Service16 Cost$29
 
 
 
Bludso's Bar & Que

Barbecue • Fairfax

Food25 Decor14 Service21 Cost$23
 
 
 
Petty Cash Taqueria

Mexican • Fairfax

Food23 Decor19 Service21 Cost$38
 
 
 
 
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