You may start seeing a theme with the posts that I write on some of my favorite drinking establishments… Yes, its obvious I love and appreciate a well crafted cocktail, but what makes the experience even better is when you meet a bartender that you click with, start sharing your love of spirits and cocktails and develop a great dialogue. That is why I have had such an amazing experience at Neat Bar in Glendale.
The concept of Neat, created by well known LA bar man Aidan Demarest, is great. They prefer to serve all spirits neat paired with house made sodas, juices and syrups; this way you can truly taste what defines the spirits are and what makes them unique. Its kind of like a deconstructed cocktail. You really get to observe how the flavors in the pairings go together and complement each other. They have a very extensive list of spirits, that would probably take some time to try them all. I like to try two similar spirits at a time, to see how two different Gins differ, or how a Bourbon differs from a Rye, Tequila vs Mezcal, light Rum vs Dark Rum or how and Islay Scotch compares to a Highland or a Japanese Whisky. Its good to know though, that even thought they would like their patrons to understand and appreciate spirits, once they know you do, you can get yourselves some great cocktails here as well. Everyone really knows their stuff, their spirits and the art of cocktail making.
My first visit to Neat I had the pleasure meeting Cari Hah. Cari was great to chat all things booze with and she was really creative when it came to both neat pairings as well as cocktails and she had great suggestions for new spirits to try based off ones I’ve already had. With people like Matt at Library and Cari, it isn’t just their extensive knowledge or creativity, but also that they’re just great people. You enjoy yourself talking about cocktails and spirits with them, they are excited that you’re excited about their craft and you’re excited that they are equally excited about what they do. You know that there is something special about a person when Miracle Mile Bitters Co. makes Cari her own Persimmon bitters, that come in a bright pink label called Hello Cari, that are not for sale. Cari changed my idea of an old fashioned, making me one using Hibiki, a Japanese whiskey (which I LOVE but had never thought of mixing) paired with the Hello Cari bitters, it was fantastic! They recently had a Korean inspired cocktail night, that I unfortunately missed, where it looked like Cari really had her place to shine. I hope that theme makes a return some day.
The fact that I had such a great experience with Cari, isn’t to take away from any of the other bartenders there, I actually went on a night that Cari wasn’t working and had a great Bourbon sour and straight up Old Fashoned… but you know how it is when you find a favorite bartender that you tend to like to stick with.
The only negative thing I can say about Neat is that it is all the way out in Glendale, isolated from any other bars or anything… you can tell that I am a west sider 😉 Although perhaps that is also a great thing because otherwise I would probably stop there daily.
Head on over and say hello to Aidan, Cari and the crew; you will not be disappointed.
For a more in depth review of Neat and more on Aidan Demarest you should check out Caroline On Cracks’ blog here… because why try and say something that has already been said better elsewhere.