Even on weeknights, the Normandie Club usually is bustling with Koreatown's growing hipster class. But walk past the fedoras and sleeve tattoos to a locked door back by the bathrooms (helpfully labeled “Secret Door”), push the buzzer, and you'll be escorted into a quieter, wood-paneled lounge where it's all about the booze, not the scene. Opened in 2015, the Walker Inn became almost immediately famous for its unique, omakase-style cocktail tasting menu, and it's definitely worth trying if you're feeling adventurous. For $70 (or $40 for a shorter late-night version), you'll be treated to five courses of whimsical potables all based around a theme, which could be seasonal (“Winter Citrus”), conceptual (“A Day & Night at Sea”) or a combination of seasonal, conceptual and silly (“Wet Hot American Summer,” which featured one drink served in a Capri Sun pouch). But you can also skip the Willy Wonka–like concoctions of the tasting menu and just hang out in the lounge, which offers sophisticated spins on dozens of classic cocktails, from mai tais to martinis, all made with top-shelf liquor and an attention to detail that justifies their $16 to $18 price tags.
Credit: Anne Fishbein