Dear Caroline on Crack: Bar for Underage Drinking?

— by Caroline on Crack

Cocktail at Black Market Liquor Bar by Caroline on Crack

Craft cocktail barestaurants like Black Market Liquor Bar can easily fashion tasty mocktails.

Hi Caroline!

Me (mom) and my daughter (19-year-old college student) are taking a trip over her spring break to L.A. and then down to San Diego. We are fairly conservative but adventurous and love to have fun (people watch, music, good food and a good cocktail [me only of course] daughter would have a Shirley Temple or something!). Not the high-end club type but not the Applebee’s type either!

Finally the questions: Are there any of the bars/places on your top lists that would allow a 19-year-old in (of course she would not drink alcohol) but just so she can see and experience the fun of L.A. What is the general policy on the bars, etc.? Are minors allowed if they are with a parent? Do any specialize in alcohol-free cocktails she could try?

Could you suggest one or two must-sees?

Thanks for your time and consideration – and perhaps you could join us!

The Coolest Mom Ever

Hit the jump for my reply.

Caroline on CrackDear Cool Mom,
Well, to play it safe, you should stick to bar/restaurants that happen to have great cocktail menus, as you can go there to eat and they’d only card you when you order a cocktail. Fortunately there is no shortage of such fine establishments. Since they all specialize in craft cocktails with fresh ingredients, you can easily ask them to make a tasty mocktail for your little one._

Sunny Spot in Venice has a great rum cocktail list and rum selection as well as scrumptious food. Grab a seat on the patio for the best people-watching vantage point. Or you can sit at the bar for a great view of the room.

Bar & Kitchen in Downtown LA is where all the cocktail geeks like to pre-party, so you know the cocktails here are some of the best in town. Plus they have crack tots (truffle tater tots) that aren’t listed on the menu but that you can and must order anyway. Nom! I like to sit at the bar to feel like part of the action, and watch the bartender make the drinks.

Blue Cow Kitchen & Bar just opened in Downtown near MOCA and down the street from the Disney Hall and features a bar program by well-known and celebrated mixologist, Steve Livigni (mastermind behind successful L.A. bars like Harvard & Stone, La Descarga). The cocktails have been described as “soda jerk meets bartender.”

Black Market Liquor Bar in Studio City is my FAVORITE place to grab a drink and some nosh in the Valley. Well-crafted cocktails and you can’t leave without trying the Fluffer Nutter dessert! They have high two-tops in the center of the room, which are perfect for those who want to see and be seen.

Short Order in the Farmers Market in Mid-City West is the PERFECT place for people watching. PLUS tasty burgers by celebrated chefs Nancy Silverton and the late Amy Pressman. Cocktail program was put together by the best bartender in L.A. Julian Cox (via Eater LA). So that’s a lot of awesomeness in one place.

320 Main in Seal Beach is over 30 miles away from Los Angeles but their cocktails and food are fabulous. I took a friend here who happened to be with child and owner Jason Schiffer fixed her up a gorgeous mocktail so she wouldn’t feel left out. Bonus is that 320 Main is just down the street from the pier and it’s in a nice little area that’s great for promenading.

Hope that helps and enjoy your visit!