Sneak Peek: Thirsty Crow, Silver Lake's New Bourbon Bar
Elina Shatkin Thirsty Crow, Silver Lake.
The skunk butts are long gone (rumor has it they'll decorate the dressing rooms at the Henry Fonda Theater). So is the collection of beer cans lining the walls. Few traces are left of Silver Lake's much maligned faux-trucker bar Stinkers, which closed on Feb 15, and has been replaced by bourbon bar Thirsty Crow. (Official opening date is April 23, but it's already soft-open.)
Last week we got a peak at the menu (sans prices). Now, we've got a few pics of the joint (after the jump).
Thirsty Crow's focus is on mixing small-batch and reserve bourbons like Pappy Van Winkle, which can only be bought a couple bottles at a time, with more common bourbons like Maker's Mark and Bulleit. Co-owner Bobby Green and his bourbon maestro, Brandon Ristaino, hope to double the menu within six months while maintaining a solid selection of uncommon but affordable spirits. "We're underpricing most of the other high-end whiskey bars in town," Green claims.
The median price at Thirsty Crow is $10-12 for a shot. "The bourbon market is exploding right now but the market hasn't caught up with the demand, so you can find a couple of real steals," says Ristaino, a Bigfoot West bartender who helped curate Thirsty Crow's bourbon menu.
Ristaino recommends Black Maple Hill ($10), Eagle Rare 10-Year Single Barrel Bourbon ($10) and Van Winkle Special Reserve Lot B ($15), which he describes as "like biting into a book about wizards."
Big spenders can drop their dough on Suntory Yamazaki 18-Yr Malt Whiskey ($22), Hudson Baby Bourbon ($22) and Pappy Van Winkle's 20 and 23-Yr bourbons, to name a few. Bourbon novices can learn about the corn liquor at tasting classes led by Ristaino: Sundays at Bigfoot West and Mondays at Thirsty Crow.
For co-owner Green, Thirsty Crow is the most personal of his bars. "I kind of live in the pre-World War II era," he says. And indeed he does. Looking a bit like an overgrown extra from "Newsies," Green was once a denizen of the swing scene. It peaked with "Swingers" then fizzled out, but Green's love for Jazz Age and Depression Era culture didn't.
11 years ago, he sold Cacao, his West L.A. coffee house, and joined forces with Dimitri Komarov and Dmitry Liberman to form the 1933 Group, which has opened a string of theme-heavy bars: Bigfoot Lodge, The Little Cave, Saints & Sinners and Bigfoot West.
With the resurgence of "dark nostalgia," Green may have found his sweet spot. "I've always been a historian," Green says. "I've always wanted to preserve American culture, cars, architecture. This is the bar that's most me."
Elina Shatkin Some of the liquors at bourbon bar Thirsty Crow.
Elina Shatkin The view from the back room at Thirsty Crow.
Elina Shatkin The back room at Thirsty Crow.
Elina Shatkin The bar at Thirsty Crow.
Elina Shatkin The "patio" at Thirsty Crow.
Elina Shatkin The view onto Sunset Blvd. from inside Thirsty Crow.
Elina Shatkin Thirsty Crow co-owner Bobby Green (left) with bourbon maestro and bartender Brandon Ristaino (right).
Elina Shatkin A curio cabinet of liquor at Thirsty Crow.
Elina Shatkin The exterior of Thirsty Crow in Silver Lake.