Sample glasses of craft beer
Sample glasses of craft beer
Far Bar Little Tokyo

Far Bar in Little Tokyo: 2011 Most Improved Craft Beer Bar in L.A.

In a sign of the craft beer times, Far Bar opened in 2006 as a cocktail bar. Over the ensuing five years, it has morphed into a beer and cocktails bar and, in 2011, thanks to the commitment of co-owners Don Tahara and Mike Gin along with manager Jimmy Smith, it has evolved into a craft beer bar that rivals the best beer bars in the city. Forty taps dedicated to the love of craft beer.

Far Bar is set in Little Tokyo in the location of a joint once called "The Far East" that opened in the 1930s and served as a setting for scenes in Roman Polanski's Chinatown. The Far East closed from earthquake damage in 1994 and was vacant until 2006. Tahara had the vision to convert a narrow alleyway between buildings into arguably the coolest outdoor patio in town and to convert a storage room into what is now "the back bar."

Jimmy Smith, in the foreground
Jimmy Smith, in the foreground
Far Bar
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According to Tahara, "as we got into carrying craft beer over the past few years, we started seeing cocktail drinkers turning into craft beer drinkers." In 2010, he says they were carrying what he called standard craft beers. So in April of 2011, he hired Jimmy Smith as his beer manager. Smith had no previous bar experience, but says he got the job based on rabid beer enthusiasm. Smith says this has resulted in Far Bar growing from 29 "O.K. tap handles" to 40 "great handles." In October, they hosted throngs of beer drinkers at the official after party for "L.A. Beer Week" held at Union Station.

Another of the key things that have raised the bar, as it were, at Far Bar is their event nights, which have featured Eagle Rock Brewing, Ladyface, Ballast Point, Kern River, Firestone, a Bruery/Dogfish Head collaboration release party and an IPA Festival. The patio has white string lights draped across the former alleyway and Far Bar often has live music. They also have stand up comedy on Wednesday nights if you like to laugh over a pint or three, and they have great happy hour prices on beers and burgers Monday - Friday from 3:00 -7:00 p.m.

Alleyway, turned outdoor patio
Alleyway, turned outdoor patio
Tim W.


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