Barrel & Ashes

GO NOW.

I don’t need to say much about the newly opened Barrel & Ashes besides that, because once you’re there and eating the Cheesy Baked Shells, or the Pulled Pork Poppyseed Sandwich, you will be thanking me.

The epitome of gourmet comfort food, revamped for a hipster Los Angeles. My friend ordered a diet coke and tried to return it because it came in a brown bottle labeled ‘Mexi Diet Cola Light’ (see below). I thought the vintage glass coke bottles were as hipster as you can get, but once again, Studio City has proved me wrong.

There is literally nothing on the menu that you could order and not like. I highly recommend the ‘Hoe Cake’- the salty, sweet, buttery, and crunchy outside is so good, that time actually slows down around you.

Everything is meant to be shared! I love tapas style dining, because who doesn’t like trying a  little bit of everything? Under the “Snacks” section of the menu you can try ‘The Best Damn Chick’n Sandwich Ya Ever Had‘- and they aren’t lying about that. I wish all my snacks could be sandwiches.

TIP:
My favorite part of the menu is the Bartenders Choice. You can tell the bartender what type of alcohol you like, what flavors, or any suggestions and they will mix you up a surprise.
Bartenders Choice
I already have a date set to return this week. Don’t forget to check out the Frito Pie, which is made inside of the a Frito bag…
Head over to Colfax and Ventura to check out a comfort food journey, from hillbilly to hipster.

diet coke

Hoe Cake
The Best Damn Chick'n Sandwich Ya Ever Had- Coleslaw, jalapeno, pimento cheese, toasted poppy seed bun
The Best Damn Chick’n Sandwich Ya Ever Had
Chili, cheddar, sour cream, green onion
Chili, cheddar, sour cream, green onion

The Rise and Fall of the Valley Bar Scene

I have been super happy about the new generation of lounges, bars and cool hang outs that have started to repopulate the boulevard- mainly in Sherman Oaks. Murphs, The One Up, The Woodman, Tipple and Brine, Tunnel Bar, Bow & Truss, to name a few. Actually all of these places are WONDERFUL, but as gastropubs only.

The Problem

What happened to the grungy, out all night, meeting fun people, going to a house after party, valley scene? For the most parts, these bars close down by 1am, sometimes even midnight. I talked to a manager at one of the spots who said that as soon as they have hit their goal profit for a night, or have had a good night- they close.

I get it, it eliminates the late night drunks and shenanigans that come with that (cops, puke, fights, yelling), but come one guys, what about the people?? Who remembers Smiles? That place was as close to Anything Goes as you could get… no wonder it got shut down.

The Pros

– A more mature crowd- less drunk idiots and creepers

– Delicious and well made food and drinks

-Parking that is more convenient than over the hill

-A slew of bars near each other for hopping

-GAMES! Most places feature games, either board games like at Bow & Truss, actual arcade games like at The One Up, or pool tables at Brickyard in North Hollywood

The Cons

-These places are catered to already formed groups, it seems harder to meet new people. Most bars are not set up for cross mingling and feature secluded tables or couches

-Early closing time- Most people don’t leave their house until 10 or 11 so that doesn’t give much time.

-Every bar is the same- same hipster look and same vibe (the majority)

-No dancing… forget about it- head to Skinnys for that

So boo hoo… now we have to settle for good drinks, and good food- and an early night. These hipster bars and speak easy’s that used to be a dime a dozen a few years ago now seem to be the norm. I guess we will have to get our kicks elsewhere- but I am also not 21 any more, so maybe I should just accept a more mature atmosphere and good conversation over a Moscow Mule and a Grass Fed Beef Slider Trio.

[PS This does not put an end my continual quest to find the best night adventures LA and the valley have to offer]