There are only a few phrases that I will always say yes to; do you want the rest of my food? I’m buying the next round, do you want a drink? And, let’s go to Sassafras, you down? Sassafras saloon is one of my favorite bars in Los Angeles, and with so many unexplored neighborhoods and establishments, it’s a good sign when a bar can bring me back time and time again.
Located right off Fountain and Vine, this Hollywood saloon lives up to the old timey vibe its name suggests. Bottles of whiskey hanging from a rotating conveyer belt, decorations looking like a scene straight from Westworld, and a stage two stories up for live music. Sassafras goes all out to capture the bar of the past, and while most establishment’s attempts at this seem tacky, they hit the nail on the head.
While music and décor are important, the crowning achievement of this bar is the alcohol and the people who serve it. Friendly and fast bartenders churn out craft cocktails and beers like a well-oiled assembly line. I normally get nervous watching a man with mustache wax work on my whiskey sour like it’s his dissertation. Yet, here they perform with such speed and precision I would trust them with an open heart surgery…if I was in a pinch. The cocktails aren’t cheap, but if you are like me and believe that Miller high life is the answer to all your problems, then order some of these $5 babies and enjoy yourself.
If money is really tight, then I suggest you hit this spot on Tax Day. While this day of misery and despair (shouts out all you freelancers out there) comes once a year to wreck our bank accounts and our lives, you can offset your pain with a trip to Sassafras. “$1 old fashions for as long as supplies lasts”. That’s all I needed to hear last year and I was off like a bat out of hell. And after this past Tax Day I am batting 1.000 with getting absolutely wrecked on my 9th favorite cocktail.
The Managing Editor of Lowupside, Craig Horlbeck enjoying his first Tax Day at Sassafras
The patrons of this bar seem to rotate like the whiskey bottles dangling above their heads. One night you have ex-frat stars showing off their money from their first paycheck at Paramount, the next the dance floor is a minefield of swing dancers boogying to the loudest music you have ever heard (sometimes it is legitimately too loud. Maybe I’m getting to the age yet where every bar is too loud, but it can get RIDICULOUS). But all in all, the people of Sassafras are there to get drunk and have a good time. I have yet to have a bad experience with a fellow costumer, but I also have never been on a Monday, so maybe I will have to try that out.
Sassafras is the perfect bar for a fun evening with friends, or a great 2nd or 3rd date spot. Also, if you are new to the area and your buddy from college told you about this awesome bar called Davey Wayne’s, you are most likely going to spend 45 minutes in a seeminlgy stationay line. When that happens, try walking down Vine to Sassafras. The longest wait is 5 minutes, and you’ll look like a seasoned Angelino for knowing this hidden gem in plain site.
(All rankings out of 5)
Bar Flies: ***
Overall score: 98/100