Chef John Sedlar's love affair with tequila is on steroid-amped display at Rivera, his downtown pan-Latin restaurant. To allow his guests to savor their agave spirits in grand style, Sedlar had special Captain Kirk–esque leather chairs installed, replete with custom-built attached serving trays. To highlight the intricacies of tequila, he created an entire tasting menu whose flavors were paired with tequila and tequila-based cocktails. Bartender Julian Cox's Barbacoa cocktail, with its spicy muddle and jerky garnish, was one of the first attention-getting, original mezcal-based cocktails served in L.A. But the most dedicated expression of Sedlar's passion is the Sangre Room, where an exclusive tequila bottling, available only at Rivera, is on display in French crystal decanters topped with mahogany “R” logo stoppers. Diners can catch a glimpse of this liquid gold, which reflects the dim, glowing lights, but only members brandish the special keys that unlock the magical elixir. —Lesley Jacobs Solmonson
1050 S. Flower St., dwntwn., 90015. (213) 749-1460, riverarestaurant.com.