From the outside, Eagle Rock Brewery, hidden on a drab side street in a mostly industrial stretch of Atwater Village, hardly qualifies as having ambience. It certainly isn't a bar. Yet the brewery's diminutive tasting room has, in the past year, become an indispensable neighborhood watering hole. The credit goes to owners Jeremy Raub, his father, Steve, and his wife, Ting Su, who, with tastings, special events and food trucks, have turned the brewery into something of a hot spot. They've done it in a way that is both calculated and totally organic. Sure, the quarters are cramped. Patrons jockey for position and eye each other just as they would in an actual bar. But mostly, the tasting room boasts the best facets of a neighborhood bar (warmth, charm, mellow clientele) without its most obnoxious elements (deafening volume, creepy dudes, terrible drinks). Also, Eagle Rock Brewery makes some really great beer. 3056 Roswell St., Atwater Village. (323) 257-7866,

—Elina Shatkin

LA Weekly