Growing up in West Yorkshire, Northern England, I had a choice of fish and chips, curry or Chinese take-out food. There were no pubs where we could eat AND drink with family and friends. Fast forward to today – we now have a wide choice of gastropubs. These stylishly decorated bars have upped the drinking scene by combining craft beers and inventive cocktails with good food.

Laurel Tavern in Studio City, Los Angeles, is a great example of a well-managed gastropub. Its interior design displays wood and exposed brick, classic lighting, and large windows that open to Ventura Boulevard. Friendly bar service and a warm atmosphere provide a comfortable setting for a romantic night out, or meetup with friends after work.Laurel Tavern Burger drink me Laurel Tavern
Credit: Laurel Concepts

I recommend trying the Pork Belly Skewers served with maple glaze, lime and cilantro – one of Laurel Tavern’s shared plate items. Another favorite is the Jalapeño Burger – made with a blend of three cuts of beef, all ground in-house daily. It is topped with a chipotle sauce plus spicy jalapeño and poblano peppers, pepper jack and crispy onion rings. I enjoyed the burger with a side order of delicious hand-cut, garlic parmesan fries.Laurel Tavern drink drink me Laurel Tavern
Credit: Laurel Concepts

Any visit to a gastropub needs a sample from their drink menu. Laurel Tavern’s Best Old Fashioned is made from Old Forester Kentucky bourbon, Averna and Benedictine liqueurs with cherry bitters. The intriguingly-named Girl with Green Eyes includes Tito’s Handmade Vodka mixed with St-Germain, lime, cilantro, and agave. As a beer lover, I also tasted one of the draft beers. Port Brewing IPA is made in the West Coast India Pale Ale style – a seriously hoppy beer with a strong citrus aroma and rich malty flavor.

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