Life is too short to drink cheap, bad wine. Come to mention it, life is too short to eat bad burgers too. Combine those rules of life, and you get Corkbar in Downtown Los Angeles. Situated amongst the fancier lofts of South Park, just steps from the Staples Center, home of the Lakers, Kings, and Clippers; Corkbar is the ultimate neighborhood wine bar. They specialize in mostly California wines, with a simple and focused comfort food menu.
Without coming off sounding like a kid infatuated with a schoolyard crush, Corkbar is the best bar in Downtown. It is decorated in rich wood accents, warm lighting, with plenty of seating. The tables outside along the street are perfect for summer time dining, with great views of the downtown skyline. There are inside dining tables for larger parties, bistro tables along one side, or pull up right to the bar and chat with any one of the friendly bartenders. You’ll quickly find that their wine knowledge, while expansive, is comforting and approachable.
They feature wines focusing on California and smaller vintners. Wines like Orin Swift “The Prisoner”, Melville Syrah, and Crystal Valley Cellars “The Temp”. Not only do their wines shine, but the food does too. No enormous plates of food here, just small and focused dishes of seasonal, market fresh food designed by Chef Albert Aviles. Snacks and sides like white bean puree on toast drizzled with truffle oil or pork belly sliders that melt in your mouth. Seasonal menu items like apple juice brined pork tenderloin and butternut squash risotto are perfectly paired with wines.
Their signature Corkbar burger is nothing short of spectacular. A custom blend of four different beefs, plus a little pork fat added in for extra juiciness. It’s served medium, with house made pickles, a roasted tomato sauce, on a chalah bread bun from La Brea Bakery. It comes with a side of au gratin potatoes with just a kiss of rosemary. It ranks up there as one of the best burgers in LA.
You’ll quickly find yourself coming back for jazz night, Sunday supper specials, and their Test Kitchen Tuesday that features a different small plate every week for just two bucks.
403 West 12th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90015
TIPS: Happy Hour Mon-Fri from 4-7pm. Nightcap specials after 11pm. Live Jazz music on Sundays and Wednesdays. Monthly wine maker dinners.