A disco ball plays with a bevy of antlers on the ceiling of Culver City’s resident faux-cabin bar, Bigfoot West. Stags mounted on the walls keep watch on the mix of tipsy Westside hipsters and merry young professionals who line the four-sided bar. Oh, and don’t miss the totem pole alongside the fireplace.
Bigfoot West has fun with its decor and drinks, which in turn has a similar effect on its patrons; it’s as enjoyable reading the drink menu inside a red leather booth as it is taking your first sip or staring at the taxidermy.
With the dramatic, low lighting, it might be hard to recognize the marquee, walls, and floor (now on the ceiling) from a scene in the Jim Carrey movie, “Yes Man,” which used a full-size replica of the original Bigfoot Lodge in Los Feliz. Every piece of wood in the bar is recycled, with the rest coming from a tree-trimming service.
The area, located right off the 405 Freeway at 10939 Venice Blvd., is isolated enough from the Culver City or Venice lounges and bars. It’s a low-key spot with that same atmosphere.
But what aren’t understated are the drinks of Bigfoot West. Firstly, it’s a whiskey-lover’s paradise.
“We have over 250 whiskies, so we are predominantly a whiskey bar that serves craft cocktails as well,” said Vanessa Kemling, who oversees the bar’s cocktail program. “If you want a shot and a one, we’ve got it. And if you’d like some Pappy Van Wrinkle, we’ve got it also.”
Check out Whiskey Lovers Monday if you aren’t convinced.
But their craft cocktails might overshadow their whiskey, as their cocktail program uses fresh squeezed juices, in-house infusions, homemade shrubs, sherbets, jams, purees and seasonal ingredients from the Culver City Farmer’s Market.
According to Kemling, their most popular drinks are: The Old Fashioned of Old Forester 86 Proof Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey, house-made simple syrup, angostura bitters, Luxardo cherry and a flamed orange zest; the Prarie Collins with Prairie Handcrafted Organic Cucumber Vodka, house-made rosemary-infused simple syrup, fresh lemon juice, singed rosemary branch and muddled cucumber slices; and finally the Bourberry: Evan Williams Kentucky Bourbon, house-made strawberry puree, fresh lime juice, mint and house-made ginger beer.
“Our vision here is great drinks, good vibes, relaxed, bluegrass music and the like,” Kemling said.
But aside from the fan favorites, Bigfoot West features some uncommon and uncharted cocktails, like their time-honored Toasted Marshmallow (vanilla vodka, light rum, 1921 Crema Liqueur, honey, a bit of Fernet and a flaming marshmallow garnish), the Girl Scout Cookie (Thin Mint-flavored) or the bacon Old Fashioned (with, well, bacon).
Available seven days a week, Happy Hour from 5 pm to 9 pm at Bigfoot West is relaxed and charming; $5 drinks with names like Tullamore Dew, Western Manhattan, Sazerac and Vodka Press.
Don’t forget to order empanadas before 8:15 pm – it’s the only bar food available but comes in four different flavors and delivered from a nearby Venice bakery.
With live music on Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday and a DJ Monday, Friday, and Saturday, the only thing left that week is Trivia Tuesday with free drink prizes for winners.
Bigfoot West is part of the 1933 Group, an L.A. bar family in both the Eastside and Westside with establishments that include Los Feliz’s Bigfoot East, Highland Park’s La Cuevita, Silverlake’s Thirsty Crow, West Hollywood’s Harlowe and Hollywood’s Sassafras.
Oldfield’s Liquor Room right down Venice Blvd. is a cocktail saloon with tiled floors named after the first man to drive a car at 60 miles per hour, Barney Oldfield, while Idle Hour in North Hollywood stands in the shape of a barrel, a relic from the “novelty architecture” movement in California 75 years ago.
The 1933 Group aesthetic is always meant to transport you to another place and time, and that’s exactly what it feels like to walk into Bigfoot West.
For more information, visit bigfootwest.com.