Bar & Garden, Los Angeles
"We want to remind people about the fact that booze—specifically wine and hard liquor—is a farm product, an agricultural product," says Marissa Mandel, a landscape designer who opened this Culver City wine, spirits and plant store a year ago with her partner, Lauren Johnson. Odds are that you'll see staghorn ferns and Lambruscos displayed right next to each other on the reclaimed wooden shelves.
Bar & Garden only sells wines made with grapes that are farmed without herbicides and pesticides, like organically grown Domaine de Brin from southwest France, and spirits made without artificial colors and flavors. Oyster and lobster baskets serve as wine storage, and the extraordinary tasting bar is made from a slab of the rare Bastogne walnut tree, a hybrid of California Claro and English walnut.
The two owners host cocktail classes in the store, teaching how to sub small-batch spirits for mainstream ones in cocktails, like Miracle Mile Forbidden bitters instead of Angostura or Tempus Fugit Gran Classico instead of Campari in a negroni. They also team up with a local mixologist to offer courses in creating your own amaro, vermouth and shrub from widely available California backyard ingredients, like black walnuts and pink peppercorns.