Del Monte Speakeasy Serves Updated Classics

The LA Beat was invited to try some of the Spring cocktails being introduced by the Del Monte speakeasy located in the basement of The Townhouse bar. The room is dark, with an authentic vibe, which it has earned by once being attached to the network of Venice tunnels that Canadian whiskey runners used. Owner Louie Ryan has also earned his stripes, from East to West coast, from the Scrapyard in New York in 1987 to Angel’s  most recently. 4 1/2 years ago he opened upstairs and then opened the downstairs. His wife Netty’s music mixes are a relaxing selection of Leonard Cohen and Billie Holiday. They host live music and DJs as well as comedy and burlesque on Wednesday nights.

General Manager and Beverage Director Brandon Ristaino has converted the farm-to-table approach to a “market-to-glass” philosophy. They use farmer’s market produce and homemade juices and syrups. They are also privy to sly tricks like using a little ginger in a virgin Mint Julep to mirror the burn of alcohol. My favorite House Special was the Gaelic Swizzle: Irish Whiskey , Green Chartreuse, Housemade ginger syrup, fresh squeezed lime juice, bitters, agave nectar, and soda. Swizzled. The Hapsburg with Cinnamon-infused absinthe is for serious drinkers and manly men,  while the Hans Brinker is an extremely refreshing mix including pineapple syrup and chamnpagne. We also tested a virgin version of the Spring Forward with mussled strawberries, coconut syrup and lime and found it to be one of the best virgin drinks we have ever tried.

Townhouse and the Del Monte downstairs certainly offer a cozy yet exciting night, even if Donna Lethal wouldn’t let me get a tattoo next door.

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Elise Thompson

About Elise Thompson

Born and raised in the great city of Los Angeles, this food, culture and music-loving punk rock angeleno wants to turn you on to all that is funky, delicious and weird in the city. While Elise holds down the fort, her adventurous alter ego Kiki Maraschino is known to roam the country in search of catfish.
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