Best Neighborhood Bar With Free Tacos - 2012
Rechristened La Cuevita, the bar formerly known as Little Cave is a neon-lit, Highland Park landmark. Bought 10 years ago by the 1933 Group (who are also responsible for the three Bigfoot Lodges, the Thirsty Crow and Oldfield's), the establishment received a major face-lift in 2012. Never fear, it's still dark inside, though not quite as inky and goth as it once was. Check out the uncovered vintage stained-glass windows, fine-tuned cocktails and a spirits list of 100 premium tequilas and mescals. There are the requisite $3 PBRs at happy hour (7-10 p.m. every day except Sunday, when it's 2 p.m. until 10 p.m.). The back room becomes a mini taqueria on Tuesday nights: Tacos and all the fixins are free after 10 p.m. Yes, free, as in gratis. A twist on the old with new ingredients flavors the cocktails, too; the Mole Manhattan gets its fieriness from chocolate chili bitters, while a smoked-salt rim adds intrigue to the Mezcalada, a blend of Del Maguey Mezcal Vida, Corona beer and Clamato. 5922 N. Figueroa Blvd., Highland Park. (323) 255-6871, lacuevitabar.com.
—Kathy A. McDonald