True Laurel

753 Alabama Street

If chef David Barzelay’s Michelin-starred restaurant Lazy Bear is the dinner party, True Laurel is the after-party. Barzelay opened this cocktail bar just a few blocks from Lazy Bear, and while it’s touted as a drinking establishment, it’s hard to ignore the stellar food disguised as bar bites. And unlike Lazy Bear, which requires a hard-to-come-by ticket to get in, to score a spot at True Laurel, simply walk through the door. Barzelay teamed up with spirits-whisperer Nicolas Torres to oversee the bar program, and the cocktails go head-to-head with the food. Original, exotic concoctions such as the A-Dilla, which marries aquavit with makrut lime leaf, coconut, passion fruit, pomegranate, and dill, is just as complex and satisfying as the hen-of-the-wood mushrooms with a sour cream–allium dip. And while the entire experience is currently still first come, first served, keep an eye on the bar’s eerily analog website (or better yet, follow it on Barzelay’s preferred medium, Twitter) to find out when the eight-seat cocktail tasting bar, which is sure to be stocked with rare bottles, will start taking reservations.

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