Spring has sprung at Villains Tavern, tempting Arts District residents and visitors alike with a diabolical mix of craft cocktails and beer, tasty bites, live music and gorgeous setting. Last week, Villains celebrated the launch of mixologist Dave Whitton’s spring cocktails with a hosted blogger event, which took place during the venue’s weekly Trivia Tuesday. I was a late arrival and the trivia was already over, but there was still time for me to join my drinking buddies Caroline on Crack, The Savory Hunter, and others for a couple of rounds in the patio area.
First up was a small mason jar of the delicious Osiris Punch, ladled from a huge vessel filled with rye whiskey, hibiscus, mint, citrus, spices and bitters. The punch is devilishly tasty, balanced in such a way that it’s impossible to tell there’s an entire bottle of whiskey in there. Priced at $125, the punch bowl is made to order with a specific spirit and serves 15-17 guests.
I was offered a sip of La Barbie, made with Hacienda Tequila, Aperol, citrus, red pepper, lemon, cranberry and Tapatio. The melted ice had somewhat watered down the cocktail by this point, but there was still enough of a spicy kick and a slightly tart, bitter finish that was intriguing. Definitely one to revisit.
The runaway hit of the night was the Geryon, made with Makers 46, kumquats, fresh grapefruit, lemon and bitters. It’s an excellent spring sipper, perfect for kicking it in the dark and sexy patio and sure to be a favorite in the warmer weeks ahead.
Other spring cocktails ($12 each, the Athena is $13):
- Loki – Haute Vodka infused with green tea, sage, house-made honey peach syrup, citrus and soda
- Astarte – Elijah Craig bourbon, fresh lemon and orange juice, cucumbers and strawberries
- Athena – Junipero Gin Martini with muddled cucumber
- Ma’at – Sagatiba Cachaça, cantaloupe, citrus and Chilean sale
- Isis – Pisco, basil, cucumber, lemon, lime, egg white and sugar
Villains has a nice menu of bar bites to go with the cocktails and craft beers on tap. But for Trivia Tuesdays, the Great Balls On Tires food truck (aka G-BOT) goes “off tires” and takes over the Villains kitchen, offering signature balls such as the Ballywood: garam masala chicken, coconut Madras curry, crispy fried onions, tomato chutney, cilantro chutney, saffron Basmati rice.
I was encouraged to order the Great Burger, created by G-BOT Chef Michael David, who also created the acclaimed Comme Ça burger. For $12 you get 8 ounces of coarsely-ground 100% Certified Angus, bacon onion jam, cheddar cheese, grainy mustard aioli, raw red onion, toasted brioche bun. It’s a superb burger, bursting with flavor and juices, the best kind of messy pub grub. Order a side of the excellent wedge-cut seasoned fries ($3), and you have a killer combo that is up there with some of the best in the city.
Trivia Tuesday takes place weekly beginning at 7:30pm (no cover). Visit the Villains Tavern website or its Facebook page for updated event listings.
1356 Palmetto St.
Los Angeles, CA 91003