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The Varnish (Los Angeles, CA) / Copa d’Oro (Santa Monica, CA) – Cheers to Custom Cocktails

April 14, 2010

I’ve had a tough busy season. I’ve been working 17 hour days (one of those days being my 25th birthday), spending my waking hours in a cold, white room and my sleeping hours in an old hotel.

After this is all over, all I want to do is go up to a bartender, look him in the eye, say “I want ____”, and have him mix me exactly what I want.


Copa D’Oro

Ever since it opened more than a year ago, I’ve been meaning to try Copa. I would hear friends describe Copa’s expertly mixed cocktails, great vibe and attractive bartenders and wonder when I would find an excuse to drink on the Westside. Thanks to Victoria of Vixen’s LA Happy Hours though, I FINALLY found an excuse to experience Copa:

Happy Depression happy hour.
$5 drink specials.

Sounds like a good excuse to me!

First two drinks I ordered, the asian pear cocktail and a pisco sour, were from their regular priced drink menu and their happy hour, respectively. Both were well mixed, balanced in flavor, but not quite what I was craving that night. Then, remembering the original stories that lured me to Copa, I decided to order a custom crafted cocktail as my last drink.

I gave the bartender free reign over my cocktail, only dictating that I wanted vodka, cucumber (I’ve had a recent craving for all cocktails cucumber) and some kind of fruit in it. What he concocted was amazing – A combination of lemon, lime, mandarin orange, cucumber and lychee. The inital flavor was refreshing, with the cool cucumber and the bright citrus, but slowly mellowed out to end with the lychee. Everyone who had a taste was caught off guard with the lychee ending – it was deliciously unique.

Copa D’Oro
217 Broadway
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 576-3030
Twitter: @copadoro

Copa d'Oro on Urbanspoon

The Varnish

Pick your liquor, they’ll make you a drink – Bartender’s Choice.

Now I’m a girl who enjoys a surprise now and then (especially when I’m craving a drink) so when I saw that typed on the bottom of the cocktail list, I knew that’s what I would be having that night. I asked for my drink to be made of gin (not my typical, but I was feeling adventurous that night) and was brought the following:

My Bartender’s Choice was a combination of gin, lime juice and honey. Somewhat sweet but still sophisticated, I would have to say that was the most enjoyable gin based cocktail I’ve had to date.

The Varnish
118 E Sixth St
Los Angeles, CA 90014
(213) 622-9999


Like I mentioned before, after this week, all I want to do is a bartender who can mix me exactly what I want. Basically I’m either going to The Varnish or Copa D’Oro…or both. These guys make a damn good drink.