The Chanticleer Society
A Worldwide Organization of Cocktail Enthusiasts

Details: The Tasting Kitchen

Legend

Style:
DIVEY: So downright casual, you might feel uncomfortable.
CASUAL: Anything goes, just relax and have a good time.
MODERN: Clean and snappy.
CLASSY: A little on the up-scale side. May have a dress code.
FORMAL: You'd better be on your best behavior. Almost certainly has a dress code, or should.
Cost:
$$$$: Cheap - Prices are cheaper than found at most other good bars in the area.
$$$$: Average - Prices are about the same as found at most other good bars.
$$$$: Pricey - They are charging more here than at most other good bars.
$$$$: Expensive - Hopefully, somebody else is paying. If they aren't, maybe you should have just one, just so you can say you did.
Food:
EAT: None - Hope you aren't hungry, even in the slightest.
EAT: Snacks - Very simple bar snacks. Peanuts, pretzles, that sort of thing.
EAT: Light - Small appetizers, small plates, great if you're not terribly hungry.
EAT: Full - A full meals worth of things to order.
Reservations:
: None - First come, first served.
: Available - Not needed, but you could if you wanted to.
: Required - You need to call for reservations.
: Private - Members Only, or otherwise not available for general attendance.
The Tasting Kitchen
1633 Abbot Kinney Blvd.
Venice, CA 90291
USA

MODERN - $$$$ - EAT -
310-392-6644
http://www.thetastingkitchen.com/

Modern restaurant / bar with a nod to the classics. Food is somewhat Italian influenced, with a lot of pasta dishes. Cocktail program is run by Justin Pike. Specializes in cocktails featuring Amari.
Comments (2)

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We've gone here twice; so far, haven't seen Justin Pike behind the bar. Devin Espinosa, who also runs the Hatchi Mix series at Breadbar, has been our bartender both times we visited. Based on two visits, I think this is one of the few places I've been that really competes with Varnish in Downtown LA, and if it were a little closer, I'd probably visit a lot more often. A Vieux Carré here was one of the best I've tried. Their "4 Square" is one of the few Campari drinks I can stomach, and is surprisingly balanced considering how much Campari is in it. Devin doesn't have as encyclopedic knowledge of obscure classics as some bartenders, and some of the drinks I've had slant a little towards the sweet side, but overall he makes well balanced drinks which are mixed properly, and the quality was consistent across both of our visits. Though I've only been to each of them once, I give this place a slight edge over both Copa D'Oro and Tar Pit.

I also like the fact that they make a lot of their own drams, bitters, and garnishes. The cocktail cherries are house-made, instead of the Luxardo ones. The place is busy enough, but not too busy.

There's also a great writeup (by someone else) with photos at: http://eatdrinknbmerry.blogspot.com/2010/04/tasting-kitchen-abbot-kinney-venice.html

Cocktails are mostly $12-13. The cocktail menu is more extensive than the one on their website. There are only a few items on the printed menu, but there's a blackboard with two sections - one of classics, and one of more modern cocktails.

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