The Best Liquor Store/Deli Hybrids in L.A.
Old signage outside Tinfoil Liquor & Grocery
Courtesy Tinfoil Liquor & Grocery
There is no greater, more convenient combo than the liquor store/deli hybrid. Except for maybe KFC/Taco Bells — those are pretty fantastic too. Oh and also those bars where they have a bunch of arcade games from the mid-’90s, because getting thrown out of a Chuck E. Cheese for brown-bagging it isn’t a good look for anyone. But that’s neither here nor there. When you’re in the market for a ham sandwich, a tall boy of Tecate and a travel-sized bottle of Listerine, the liquor store/deli hybrid has you covered. These are L.A.’s finest.
Ben’s General Store
This is what liquor store/deli hybrid (LSDH) dreams are made of, emphasis on the hybrid. Not only can you get yourself a solid sub sandwich to go along with all your alcohol needs, this Vernon neighborhood staple also offers a check-cashing service, poké bowls, sushi rolls, tacos, lasagna and a monstrous (and not terrible) 28-inch pizza. I can’t vouch for the quality of the sushi and check cashing, but the sheer breadth of the menu and services makes a visit here absolutely mandatory.
5218 S. Santa Fe Ave., Vernon; (323) 583-2434.
Redondo Liquor & Deli
Liquor prices run a little high at Redondo, but there’s a deceptively good selection of wine, perfect for all your beach drinking needs. But you can buy alcohol anywhere. What separates Redondo Liquor from the rest of the venerable hybrids is Los Caballitos, the in-store deli counter, which makes a shockingly good chorizo breakfast burrito (as long as some shredded iceberg in your breakfast burrito doesn’t weird you out). If you want to stick to the classic deli shtick, you can get an OK pastrami or tuna salad sandwich, but don’t be afraid to branch out and eat a steak picado plate on the hood of your car in the parking lot.
529 S. Catalina Ave., Redondo Beach; (310) 540-6789.
Tinfoil: Liquor & Grocery
One thing that makes the LSDH so great is the lack of intent. It was born from pure convenience — people need alcohol and life necessities, and people need sandwiches, so they might as well exist under the same roof. Creating a LSDH and trying to pass it off as a “sandwich speakeasy” for irony’s sake while slinging $15 hipsterized sandwiches seems antithetical to all the reasons LSDHs exist. That said, once you actually go to Tin Foil and shove a roast beef sandwich slathered in yuzu kosho (a citrus-chile-salt rub) in your mouth, you start to get the appeal. There’s a ton of pricy whiskey, which seems weird to pair with your sandwich, but the craft beer selection is appropriately fantastic. Anyone who’s ever been stuck with the choice between Natty Ice and a Bud Light Lime-a-Rita at an LSDH will be glad to see local breweries such as Monkish and Three Weavers represented.
5900 N. Figueroa St., Highland Park; (323) 507-2301, tinfoillg.com.
Vendome Wine & Spirits
The Fullerton-based mini-chain has locations in Toluca Lake, Studio City and Beverly Hills, making convenience food more convenient than ever. Calling Vendome a liquor store would really be giving it short shrift. The stores have a well-curated, well-manicured selection of wines from around the world — some of which fall in the triple-digit-dollar club — and they offer tastings on weekends. That said, should you choose to experience it right, this is an LSDH at its finest. You can get a bottle of champagne for $4.99 and there’s a full list of slightly Italian-leaning subs and salads at the deli counter. Get the crumbled meatball sub — it’s like an Italian sloppy joe, and it’s the exact type of tasty, convenient, whimsical-ass food LSDHs were made for.
Multiple locations. vendomes.com.
Greenblatt’s Delicatessen & Fine Wine Shop
This 90-year-old, two-story Sunset Boulevard institution is like being inside your bubbe’s knish-and-pink-wine-filled fever dream. It’s an absolute trip. There’s a full-on dining room upstairs, and the downstairs section is all sprawling deli meats and worldly wines. The matzoh ball soup has huge chunks of mirepoix and oily schmaltz bits floating on the broth, the latkes are served with an unnecessarily large bowl of applesauce, and, of course, there’s giant piles of paper-thin pastrami and/or corned beef in just about every sandwich. Being able to pick up a bottle of Cotes du Rhone to pair with your chicken liver on pumpernickel is an experience that every Angeleno should have.
8017 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood; (323) 656-0606, greenblattsdeli.com.
Mickey’s Italian Delicatessen & Liquor Store
Ambiance is a factor that should never be overlooked in the LSDH experience. At Mickey’s, just a bottle cap’s throw from the ocean, you can bask in the beachside breeze under an umbrella on the patio, or sit at a communal unfinished-wood table next to the deli, surrounded by towering cases of wine. It’s a good place to be. And the sandwiches at Mickey’s are absolutely top-notch. The eggplant parm has a glorious mush of tomato and cheese, and while the Italian Combo won’t exactly rival the Godmother, it still hits all the right notes. Mickey’s gets bonus points for having some killer pizza by the slice, too. You won’t be blown away by the craft beer selection, but sometimes a 30-rack of Coors Light does the job just fine.
101 Hermosa Ave., Hermosa Beach; (310) 376-2330, mickeysdeli.com.
Get the Food & Drink Newsletter
Our weekly guide to Los Angeles dining includes food news and reviews, as well as dining events and interviews with chefs and restaurant owners.