Giveaway: Tickets to Table 20 L.A.’s Best Bartender Competition

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These are the finals you all have been waiting for. After an exhaustive semi-final round, five finalists have emerged in Table 20’s 2nd Annual L.A.’s Best Bartender Competition. Fortunately, this final round is open to the public, and all are invited to take part.

On Sunday, October 9th from 3:30 – 7:30 PM at Elevate Lounge, you’ll get to do all of the following with your discounted (from $25), $20 admission:

And in case you need a reminder, these are the 5 mixologists and their drinks you can look forward to on Sunday. Get ready to taste some of the best cocktails in L.A.:

  • Joe Brooke, Next Door Lounge – People’s Choice
    “The Spicy Stränder”
  • Justin Pike, Tasting Kitchen – Judges’ Selection
    “Su Novia”
  • Brian Summers, Harvard & Stone – Karlsson’s Cocktail Challenge Winner
    “Blues in Orbit”
  • Devon Tarby, The Varnish – Judges’ Selection
    “Waltz #2”
  • Daniel Zacharczuk, Bar | Kitchen – Karlsson’s Cocktail Challenge Winner
    “Faster Young Fruit”

Judging the competition will be none other than Matt Biancaniello, who won the competition last year; Dale Degroff of “The Craft of The Cocktail;” Jessica Gelt of the L.A. Times; Johnny Iuzzini, pastry chef of Jean Georges; Bricia Lopez of Guelaguetza and Marcos Tello of Liquid Assets.  Some serious star power awaits you at this event!

The Master of Ceremonies, Dan Dunn, The Imbiber, will be on hand to guide you through the best cocktail voting process. You’ll each get one token to be used to vote for their favorite finalist cocktail. Each bartender will receive a prize – but who will get the billboard and trip??

Also, admission to the after-party at Villain’s Tavern is included! It comes with 1 drink ticket and live band entertainment. Awesome.


Even better? I’m giving away 3 pairs of tickets to this event. To enter:

  1. Comment with the name of your favorite contending cocktail. Be sure to include your email (which I won’t share) so I can get in touch with you via email and Twitter.
  2. Tweet: “I want to go to @LABestBartender competition, @estarLA!”
  3. “Like”  e*starLA on Facebook

You must do all 3 in order to be eligible. Contest closes at 5 PM on Friday, October 7, 2011. I’ll be contacting you immediately after. No response within 3 hours means I have to pick a new winner or three.

If you’re ready to purchase your tickets, use code “estarlatix” to get $5 off!! Score!!

Good luck!!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

3:30 – 7:30 PM

Tickets: $25 $20 (code: estarlatix)

Elevate Lounge
811 Wilshire Blvd.
21st Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90017

Next Door Lounge: Delicious Cocktails With A Historic Hollywood Feel

Volstead & Vice

It’s not next door, but I can’t exactly argue with two-blocks-away-and-around-the-corner, either. So named because it’s adjacent to Hollywood Corner (a diner featuring healthy offerings), Next Door Lounge is easily a stand-alone destination with speakeasy stylings.

Joe Brooke

Not the least of reasons to visit Next Door Lounge is Joseph Brooke, a name any L.A. cocktailian would formerly associate with Copa d’Oro and The Edison (and for you reality TV contest junkies, Joe was also winner of On the Rocks: The Search of America’s Top Bartender). After a few test runs, Joe has now designed at least half of the two-page menu, with some being riffs off old classics and others coming straight out of the manual. The cocktail menu ($12-$14) reads something like a punchy phrase book from earlier times.

I have to admit, it’s nice not having to do battle at the bar to reach Joe as in his previous high-volume bar downtown. Next Door Lounge has a nice, intimate feel for its high-profile locale. My favorite cocktail happened to be one that was just perfected at the time, called the Volstead & Vice. Made with Illegal Mezcal, Pernod Absinthe, cucumber water, agave nectar and lime juice, I’ve never had such a gracefully smoky cocktail. The mezcal was nuanced while the natural juices in the drink subtly sweetened its aftertaste.

Clover Club

The bar’s signature cocktail, The Dame Next Door, may be familiar to if you’ve been to The Roger Room on La Cienega. Canadian Club 12 year is the base of this cocktail, with dry vermouth, clove-infused pineapple gomme syrup, pineapple juice, pasteurized egg white for froth and angostoura bitters for that oomph. You can’t miss it with the nutmeg key stencil sprayed on top. It’s a perfect flagship cocktail for the bar, as it’s extremely palatable and thankfully, not too sweet.

There are a few drinks with Prosecco in it for that extra lift. And Joe does a great job creating favorites at the bar. The Clover Club was as refreshing and deliciously frothy as any I’ve had – especially in the summer heat. The Ward 8 made with Bulleit Rye really highlighted the fresh juices used at the lounge.

Pickled Beet Bruschetta

If you want a simple tequila cocktail, the aptly-named Tequila Daisy will certainly float your boat. Don Julio Silver is shaken with orange curacao and served up with a lime wedge. All these drinks are a testament to a cocktail menu that is perfect for what’s left of the summer heat.

The bar bites are no slouch. Beware, though, because you just might get addicted to their highbrow version of beernuts: Fried spaghetti. Yes, crispy straight noodles really are addicting! But if you’re looking for something a little bit more substantive, go for one of their flatbreads or bruschettas with pickled beets, goat cheese and basil.

What I love about the decor are the little touches that give the space a bit of authenticity. The owner, Ferris Wehbe, is a bit of a Hollywood community man and really wants the lounge to be a neighborhood hangout. Joe showed me a bit of the barware that came straight from the Beverly Hills Hilton in the 40s – so there indeed is a little bit of history at Next Door Lounge.



Next Door Lounge
1154 N. Highland Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90038