Spotlight On: Idle Hour Los Angeles

Idle Hour is not your typical bar and that’s apparent from just the exterior. Housed in a gigantic barrel, Idle Hour looks more like a cathedral for alcohol than a bar.

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Built in 1941 as part of the “Programmatic architecture” movement, this establishment has had its ups and its downs over the years.  Idle Hour thrived in the 1920s and 1930s when its idiosyncratic design caught the attention of people passing through in the increasingly popular automobile.  Over the years, it was neglected until the heroes at the 1933 Group restored it and turned it into one of L.A.’s coolest, quirkiest venues.

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Here, you’ll find that it’s not just the architecture that’s a throwback.  The menu features good old fashioned American fare, such as the sloppy joe.  However, the sloppy joe meat is tossed with bourbon, topped with gruyere, and placed betwixt a challah bun. There’s also Carolina pulled pork, made with Idle Bar’s proprietary rub and marinated for 24 hours before being slow smoked and hand-pulled.  You also can’t go wrong with the house-smoked brisket which is brined for ten days before graduating to the smoker.  In a city that isn’t exactly teeming with quality barbecue options, there are a lot of appealing menu choices here.  Enjoy these dishes and more on the outdoor patio, which is a recreation of L.A’s long-lost Bulldog Café.

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Here, HOOCH subscribers can get things started with one of four featured cocktails.  We suggest starting with the Happy Little Accident, a drink that blends Mount Gay Black Barrel rum, lemon juice, spiced syrup, and Cherry Heering liqueur.  Like the bar it’s served in, Cherry Heering is enjoying a renaissance after a decades of being ignored.  Danish cherries and spices soak in neutral grain spirits, before being cask-matured for up to five years.  The result is a deep, complex flavor that beats the pants off of any regular cherry schnapps.  There’s a lot of history in the walls here, but you may also a bit of antiquity in your glass.

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Idle Hour Bar
4824 Vineland Ave,
North Hollywood, CA