After a radical overhaul, the bar formerly known as Saints and Sinners reopened last month as Oldfield's Liquor Room. Same owners, very different atmosphere. It now feels less like a1990s-esque party bar and more like a vintage, low-key cocktail hangout.
Compared to Little Cave, Thirsty Crow and both locations of The Bigfoot Lodge (Culver City and Atwater Village), Oldfield's is, by far, the least theme-heavy of the 1933 Group's bars. Nominally inspired by Barney Oldfield, a famous speed racer of the 1900s, Oldfield's has the calmness of pale white tiles, a small (usually more quiet) backroom with a handful of tables and a lovely bar that curves prominently into the main room without dominating it. There's still enough of the "neighborhood watering hole" vibe, especially in the early evening, to make it a palatable happy hour destination, but it feels snazzy enough for date night.
If you want beer, you have less than a dozen options from which to choose, though they're all pretty good, like Unibroue's Blanche de Chambly (on tap) and Franziskaner's Weissber. The wine selection is even more limited, but if you've come to Oldfield's, you've come for the cocktails. They're solid, well above average, though not among L.A.'s best. At $10-12 apiece, they're also a couple bucks cheaper than at most of the city's high-end cocktails bars.
For the adventurous drinker always looking for a new cocktail fix, The Oakshade (created by bartender Robin Jackson) is our hands-down favorite. A fantastically chic little number, it has a dark amber color and a complex balance of flavors: rich and chocolatey with a hit of spice (courtesy of chocolate chili bitters) and a strong, nutty finish. The Dauntless, though it's served in a tall, heavy pilsner glass, is tart, light and fizzy thanks to Fever Tree's ginger beer and plenty of fresh lime juice, which cuts the floral Poire Williams.
The only snacks are pre-made sandwiches created by chef Chester Hastings, author of The Cheesemonger's Kitchen. Skip the chocolate sandwich (Valrhona's wonderful dark chocolate isn't improved with olive oil and a baguette) and the cheese sandwich (too much competition between the sharp mustard and the sweet jam). The best sandwich is the ham and cheese, made with Fra' Mani ham and just the right amount of black cherry jam.
2 oz. Bulleit rye
1/2 oz. Toschi walnut liqueur
1/2 oz. Carpano Antica
1/2 oz. Averna Amaro
2 dashes Miracle Mile chocolate chili bitters
1 dash angostura bitters
Shake over chilled ice.
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Serve up in a chilled coup.
Garnish with a Luxardo brandied cherry.
Elina Shatkin is a staff writer at LA Weekly. Follow her at @elinashatkin or contact her at email@example.com.