Cocktails in Los Angeles and Palm Springs5

Something I look forward to every time I visit LA is the wealth of great cocktails bars that city has to offer. I’m there a couple times a year and it seems like there’s something new every time. The big finds on this trip were Tasting Kitchen in West LA and 320 Main, down in Seal Beach, which is next to Long Beach, about 30 miles south of LA proper. Watch for writeups and photos from both of these places coming soon.

Our second priority in LA is good Mexican food, which is hard to come by in Portland. For this we paid another visit to Lula Cocina Mexicana in Santa Monica, among other places.

This trip also brought us east through the desert to Palm Springs, an oasis of fantastic mid-century architecture and design. Here we had plans to check out Sinatra Cocktail Hour at the Riviera Resort and Spa, the Parker hotel and bar, and whatever else the city threw our way.

Our first bar stop, however, was The Amigo Room at the Ace Hotel, where we were staying. The Amigo Room is a small, nondescript bar situated between the hotel diner and the pool area. The bar itself was nothing special, but it was a great place to sit and cool off on 105°+ days. While the cocktail menu isn’t quite up to the standards set by the types of places we usually frequent, there is some creativity and attention to quality going on here that elevates them a bit over what you might expect walking in. Freshly muddled fruit and herbs and a lack of bottled mixers are some of the ways they accomplish that.

The Ace also one-upped other hotel minibars by supplying us with 375ml bottles of their selected spirits:

Our visit to Mister Parker’s, the bar at the Parker hotel, was foiled by an early closing time of 10:00pm. Granted it was a weekday, and June is the off-season in Palm Springs, but this still caught us by surprise. Unfortunately, this was our last evening in town, so Mister Parker’s will have to wait until our next visit. Jonathan Adler’s interior design for the Parker hotel was amazing though, and we had a great time wandering around taking it all in.

See Flickr for more of our pictures of the Parker Palm Springs.

Back in the LA area, I made one last stop far into the depths of Orange County to meet Forrest at Hi-Time Wine Cellers in Costa Mesa. This is the kind of thing I miss since moving from San Francisco to Portland (apart from the aforementioned Mexican food) — the abundance of high-quality liquor stores that you just don’t get in liquor-controlled states like Oregon.

Hi-Time Wine Cellers, Costa Mesa, California

Comments 5 Comments So Far


We stayed at the Ace, and were not at all impressed with the Amigo Room. They talked the talk, but I really think a hipster hotel chain based in the Pacific NW could have done a little better. Maybe we just didn’t get lucky with the bartender, but our drinks (nothing that complicated) were awful – I ordered a rye old fashioned, which got me a *shaken* old fashioned made with Canadian whiskey. They did use bitters at least, but I was not impressed. My girlfriend got a dark and stormy, which was neither dark nor stormy. On top of this, the service was not at all friendly. We decided to call it a night after one drink.

Love Tasting Kitchen – hope you had a good experience there.

Kenn |

Wow, sorry for the bad experience at the Amigo Room. We must have had a different bartender; our bartender was friendly and seemed to know what he was doing, at least as far as our two rounds were concerned. A couple things might have been done differently here and there, but what we got was better than what we expected, so I can’t complain.

Tasting Kitchen was fantastic. I’ll definitely be back.

forrest |

It was nice to meet you Kenn.
i am glad you came by to say hello!
Next time you’re in town we should grab a drink.

Kenn |

Definitely! I’ll be sure to let you know when we’ll be down there next.


I love the Parker! I recently stayed there when I was out looking at homes – I almost wish I could live at the Parker. I haven’t been to Ace yet, but I hear good things so hopefully I won’t get the same bartender that Will had. I’m sure once I find a place there I’ll frequent many of these spots. Blue Pear is good for a chill spot, at least when I went. I’m addicted to their chicken puffy taco now.