Did you know that Los Angeles, the city of "Angels," has a beautiful wine and booze history? As we know it today, the entire California wine industry began in Los Angeles, not the northern parts of Cali.
The city is lined with some of the best hotel bars that deliver top quality wines, some of which we will be looking at in this article.
We discovered that all drinks and food in this city have a historical-cultural context, whether based on religious settings or something else. It's just too wonderful not to observe it.
LA Wine History Begins with Wines From the Missions of California
The native Indians of California had never set their eyes on alcohol until the Spaniards' arrival that their Franciscan priest established the 21 missions situated between Sonoma and San Diego.
It was from the grapes of San Juan Capistrano Mission that California got its first-ever produced wine in 1778. The wines were used for religious ceremonies.
The Spanish authorities did not want any form of wine-making competition from the people of Alta and Baja California, so they only allowed their worst grapes to be exported, banning the good ones.
They made sure the grapes were hybrids at the San Fernando and San Gabriel Missions, which gave them the nickname of "Mission Grapes." Although the missionaries produced wines strictly for religious purposes, they also sold a good deal to the public for consumption.
That started the exploitation of the California wine booze in Los Angeles. It wasn't surprising that "Angelica" was the name given to Los Angeles's first wine style, named after the city. The first winery in LA was started in 1831 by a Frenchman named Jean Louis-Vignes.
Historic Bars of Los Angeles
If you are visiting Los Angeles for the first time and you would like to partake in the city's historic wine culture, here are some historic wine bars you can visit during your stay.
The Union Bar
Located at 3rd and Central, The Union Bar is among the first wine bars opened in downtown LA.
At a time when prohibition was in force, the LA economy suffered compression because it depends largely on the consumption of alcohol.
Wineries like N. Cucamonga Winery took many gallons of wines and emptied them down the Los Angeles. But, the city's wine merchants developed an underground wine economy that thrives on various fronts.
Celebrities in the entertainment industry were keen on continuing partying, so most of the bars started operating from underground. Thanks to the many mile-long Los Angeles tunnels that made it possible to store and transport wine. That was how early bars like The Union Bar operated and survived till prohibition was lifted.
King Edward Hotel
Another historic wine selling point is the King Edward Hotel with its King Eddy Saloon, located at 131 East 5th Street, LA, 90013. The place was established in 1906, but the saloon went underground and operated from there during the prohibition. They set up a piano store in front of the building. But it never sold pianos. Immediately after the ban ended, the saloon resurfaced and started business in the open. The place is still in existence to this present day. Just get to the basement, and there you will find it with its ancient artworks from the prohibition days. There are plans to renovate the place.
Image Source: LAtimes
The Golden Gopher
Another of Los Angeles's oldest and still thriving bars is The Golden Gopher, located at 417, West 8th Street, LA, 90014. It was first called the Golden Sun Saloon. A former American president, Roosevelt, bought it.
Although the bar received some renovations in 2004, it still retains some of its ancient style and historical relevance.
Don the Beachcomber
Don the Beachcomber may sound awkward as a name for a wine and bar restaurant but not to Ernest Raymond Beaumont Gantt, the owner.
As prohibition ended and the creative era of cocktails hit the wave in consonance with the Hollywood acting community's needs, Ernest Raymond .took full advantage of the moment and opened the Don the Beachcomber in 1933. You will find it at McCadden Place, Hollywood. The restaurant operated as a Tiki bar stocked up with cheap but tasty rums from West Indian.
Years later, the name changed to Donn Beach, and the bartenders in the restaurants hired by Gantt are Filipinos because they specialized in creating exotic cocktails by mixing different fruits. The success of the bar inspired the formation of other restaurants and bars in the area.
Image Source: Facebook
Los Angeles Historic Locations For Vintage Wine Lovers
Are you a fan of vintage wine looking to drink at historical locations?
Hit Musso & Frank Grill at 6667 Hollywood, Blvd, LA, CA 90028, for the best martini. The history of this bar dates back to 1919.
Want some Irish coffee? Storm Tom Bergin's place at 840, South Fairfax, Ave, LA, CA 90036. It was formally opened in 1936.
Looking for an ancient spot to enjoy some old-fashion stuff? Frolic Room that lay close to Pantages Theatre is your best bet. It started back in 1930 and is a favorite destination for Judy Garland and Frank Sinatra. Frolic Room was rumored to be where the "Black Dahlia" was last seen in Los Angeles.
The Edison - It's a building erected in 1910 and bearing a combination of industrial Gothic and Art Nouveau. It now houses a speakeasy in the sub-basement where you can enjoy food, artisanal cocktails, and soul-cooling music in this perfect hideaway.
Beverly Hills Hotel – located at 9641, Sunset Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90210. Visit The Polo Lounge and sip some nice Gipson in this 1912 ancient ground.
Chateau Marmont -- join up with many celebrities and drink away some time at the Bar Marmont located at 8221, S Blvd, LA, CA 90046. It was opened in 1929.
The Ace Hotel – opened in 1927, and is located inside the United Artists great building at 929, S. Broadway, L.A, CA 90015. Visit the rooftop bar upstairs and enjoy some beautiful cocktails. The theatre is also home to many bars.
Millennium Biltmore -- located at 506 S Grand Ave, LA, CA90071, this hotel that opened in 1923 has a Cognac room and Gallery bar where you can relax and enjoy the best of wine.
Hollywood Roosevelt -- The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel opened in 1927, and it has a Library bar where you can sip some excellent wines. It is located at 7000 Hollywood Blvd, LA, CA 90028.