We all know that a good drink — or two, or three — sometimes help to make high-minded cultural events somewhat more, let's say, palatable. Or it's a good way of convincing your friends to come along to the gallery exhibit you've been meaning to see for months. Either way, L.A. is a city where cocktails and culture are ideally matched, and our Best of L.A. issue happens to have a few suggestions as to where to find the best combination of drink and art in town.

5. Best unlikely encounter with a modernist masterpiece: Frank Stella at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion bar

“In the bar and lounge area on the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion's mezzanine level is an exceptional work of art: Hanging a few inches above a row of overstuffed chintz armchairs … is a Frank Stella 1966 Irregular Polygon, the kind one usually finds only in a major modern art museum…The piece hangs so near the armchairs that before performances and during intermission, lounging guests can lean their heads onto the bottom of the painting as a kind of high-end headrest.”

Credit: Courtesy of Maximillian Gallery

Credit: Courtesy of Maximillian Gallery

4. Best cocktails and cutting-edge art: Maximillian Gallery at the Sunset Marquis Hotel

“Maximillian Gallery at the Sunset Marquis might at first blush seem like an anomaly — a gallery in an upscale boutique hotel showing Shepard Fairey, Destroy All Design, COPE2, CYRCLE, Gregory Siff and Desire Obtain Cherish instead of bejeweled eggs, bronze cheetahs and happy landscapes. But Maximillian Gallery's founder and director, the one-named impresario known as Caradoc, is just the man for the job, having grown up in Paris, New York and L.A. with artist parents and a grandmother (Esther Robles) whose La Cienega gallery represented the top artists of the 1950s and '60s. 'I wanted to create a high-end, intimate, yet accessible gallery like the ones I remember visiting.'”

Credit: Courtesy of Triple Chicken Foot

Credit: Courtesy of Triple Chicken Foot

3. Best beer and banjo sessions in town: Jams by Triple Chicken Foot at 1642 Bar

“If you think hoedowns are the sort of country-fueled entertainment you only get wind of at a coffee shop somewhere along I-5, you are long overdue for a two-hour serving of Triple Chicken Foot. The “Foot,” as the fiddle-banjo-guitar trio is known, is a citified version of an old-time string band that's often served up with a side of local home brew; fiddler Ben Guzman is a co-founder of the Yeastside Brewers, an East L.A. home brew club…Think of it as a fancy beer-and-banjo pairing dinner.”

2. Best off-the-grid happy hour with artists: Night Gallery in Lincoln Heights

“Started by artist Davida Nemeroff and lately joined by collaborator Mieke Marple, Night Gallery has a unique down-market appeal that makes it more than just a better place to grab a beer after dark. Open most weeknights after 10 p.m., Night Gallery is part clubhouse for artists knocking off work at the studio and part pretty serious gallery… It's not one of those fake “pop-ups” that get a corporate sponsor for their junky urban-art pseudoprotests a week after opening, but rather a space devoted to its haphazard and self-selected community.”

1. Best Tom Waits cover (with a Hefeweizen on the side): Brewery Art Colony

“Ask artist/musician Llyn Foulkes to play his Tom Waits cover song and he'll tell you he was performing like Tom Waits before Waits was on the music scene. An Angeleno since 1956, along with his Tom Waits ditty “Chocolate Jesus,” much of the Brewery Art Colony dweller's songs serve as a love letter to our smog-ridden city…Foulkes' songs are as eclectic as his machine; along with the Tom Waits-style blues, he performs circus tunes, rhumba, jazz and other originals. Expect to be anointed with whimsy. “

Follow @LAWeeklyArts on Twitter.

LA Weekly