Brack Shop Tavern
During the month of April, Happy Hour City will be celebrating all things beer related. Each week we will educate you on the different types of beer. We will also show you how to make beer centered cocktails/drinks, and we will be giving you the inside scoop on some of the best beer bars & breweries around Los Angeles.
Happy Hour: $$
Brack Shop Tavern- Upscale Sports Bar
525 W 7th St.
Mon. - Tues.: 3:00- Close
Wed. - Sun.: 3:00-7:00 PM
For our first April month review, we decided to feature a sports bar that goes above and beyond most sports bars in DTLA, it’s location certainly helps. Nestled between two of the most popular restaurants in Los Angeles- Bottega Louie and Little Sister, Brack Shop Tavern has made a name for itself on the beloved restaurant row.
We are of course referring to the area on 7th and Grand Ave. famous for making DTLA a dining destination, the alumni in the area include Broken Spanish Taqueria, So Long Hi!, Karl Strauss, The NoMad Hotel and Tom George. Since it’s opening in 2016, Brack Shop Tavern is still somewhat young, but it has proven it’s staying power- particularly for it’s Happy Hour.
When walking by Brack Shop Tavern it can be hard to concentrate on one single thing, but the lively music you hear, the people laughing, and enjoying themselves on the patio? Yeah that’s coming from them. The other restaurants in the area are all too enclosed to hear the happy happenings inside.
When you walk in, if you feel like you’re entering your best friend’s garage- that’s the point. It’s that neighborhood vibe amidst all the financial district workers, restaurant giants, and busy intersections that stood out for us. You walk into Brack Shop Tavern and you can breathe deeply from the hustle and bustle on the streets. There’s an area for live music just before the more intimate booths begin, then it’s a straight shot to the back of the bar, where on your left you’ll find a photo booth, more seating, and eventually the bathrooms.
If you think this is where the bar ends- you’d be wrong. There’s a secret game room upstairs complete with Mario Kart, foosball, and more. Brady Miller, the bar manager on duty during our visit, let us in on the best secret- you can rent it out for private parties.
The low red lighting inside the bar will make you feel like 3PM on a Monday is an OK time to begin drinking, and we wouldn’t blame you! Their Happy Hour deals go all night Monday AND Tuesday, you can get these anywhere you decide to sit.
When looking at the bar of Brack Shop, we noticed they have 30+ taps of beer and cider ready to go, but they also have a great stock and variety of spirits. That was our favorite thing about Brack Shop in general- all their menus, balance their craft beers, classic cocktails with a twist (and done right), and wine selection so well- nobody is left out.
Their Happy Hour deals are as follow: Monday and Tuesdays it goes all night long, which doesn’t get any better than that in our opinion, and the deals continue the rest of the week Wednesday-Sunday from 3:00-7:00 P.M.
Brady let us know that this is mostly due to the fact that industry workers in the area, who don’t really get to go out Wednesday-Sunday, enjoy popping in here on those rare days and the fact that they get to enjoy discount prices for food and drinks just makes the rest of the week go by way easier. They also know what it’s like to be behind the bar, so it’s without a doubt that the most ordered drink during Happy Hour is the shot and beer combo- to not waste anyone’s time.
On top of their awesome daily deals, Brack Shop Tavern employs rotating events, such as the widely popular Deviled Eggs Brunch on Sundays. Their food is definitely going to take a big part of this review, they offer a variety of delicacies for Happy Hour.
We visited Brack Shop Tavern, unofficially, a few times before this visit. Their Happy Hour menu has changed constantly, they mix it up between seasons, and obviously between items that work or don’t work. An ever evolving bar is a good sign of a great atmosphere, you never want to remain under one umbrella for too long, more importantly, if you have any favorites they are bound to come back!
For example, Mariana once had a cocktail called, “Coco Loco” here, and she absolutely fell in love- unfortunately the whole summer passed before she will be able to have it again, but Brady hinted at it making an appearance in their menu soon.
As for the drinks currently on this Happy Hour menu, as we said, they do cater to the classic cocktail aspect of many bars but their originality stands out, plus they make all their syrups and juices in house. The quality is high and the prices are fair, the deal on the ½ off wine bottles is a steal and they don’t discriminate! That’s right- all bottles are ½ off here, imagine the trouble we would get into...
The only thing that has been a constant on the menu is their beer, which Brady claims has been the same since he began working here, they have non-local and a local option, and it’s what has kept their locals at the bar.
On the flip side of the menu is the food, we were so happy to see Brack Shop has plenty of options for vegan and vegetarian diets, something that is hard to come by at sports bars. We had so much food, it was almost hard to finish between three girls, but nonetheless we persisted, enough with the wait- let’s dive into what we ordered.
Every time I have visited Brack Shop I start with the Sangria, because it never disappoints. It has my summer wine, Moscato, my native Brazilian curacao, which just alone is such a unique take on the classic Sangria. More importantly though- there are no chunky pieces of fruit! This is part of a typical Sangria recipe, which I understand and respect, I am just not a fan. This Sangria is sans-fruit, but it does include Peach flavored liqueur!
A Sangria is meant to be an all seasons drink, but more so for the spring/summer, and Brack Shop nailed the classic while spinning their own twist on it. Speaking of twists! The drink includes both a lime and lemon as a garnish, and being from South America, this was definitely a plus (we put lime on everything).
If you're not a fan of white wine, I would not recommend this, but if you like Sangrias please give this one a shot! It isn't' the usual favorite red wine Sangria therefor- it is not too heavy, it won’t get you drunk as quick, so rest easy knowing if I can have 3 so can you.
If you don’t recognize the drink from the picture chances are you have never had a real Daiquiri before. Ordering this at Brack Shop will change your entire perspective on the famous cocktail.
First thing I noted was the strong scent of the rum, they make it strong here. Nothing more than rum, lime, and sugar, which is the traditional way of making Daiquiris.
However, it isn’t like an Old Fashioned, it’s not just the spirit and some muddled sugar, the generous amount of lime cuts that well, but make no mistake this is a drink for getting drunk. It did remind me a little of a caipirinha.
Don’t really recommend pairing it with any of the food, the strength and the flavor of this cocktail makes it a standalone drink, any food flavors would ruin it.
Ah, an Old Fashioned made right, you’d be shocked at how hard that is to find these days. The one block of ice is the perfect attention to detail, it’s meant to melt slower. Since this a straight spirit cocktail, as the ice melts and turns into water, it becomes more drinkable. Meaning, you don’t feel like you’re taking a shot of bourbon at every sip.
The flavors are all present, they hit the mark on this one, I chose to have mine made with bourbon, but there is the option of choosing rye. Which is like the nicest thing for Old Fashioned lovers, to have that option, something of a great gesture.
It’s a solid Old Fashioned that hits all the right marks, enthusiasts of the cocktail would be proud and I would totally get it again.
This gorgeous cocktail is served in a highball (Mariana’s favorite serving of cocktails) and it is a vodka base, adding: lemon, homemade hibiscus syrup, and pineapple juice. It’s the tropical drink you didn’t think you’d get in the middle of the city. Now, the interesting part to me was the combo between the hibiscus and the pineapple flavors.
You would think that pineapple would be overpowered by the dominating hibiscus, especially concentrated in a syrup form (meaning with EXTRA sweetness) but it’s not. The pineapple is a strong presence on it’s own but instead it sort of cuts in front of the line of the hibiscus, therefore making the hibiscus more of an aftertaste. What a great mix of ingredients and great job blending the flavors of this incredibly refreshing cocktail.
Get it for Happy Hour early, it is absolutely perfect for day drinking in the Spring weather. You can easily enjoy this with the Ahi Tuna Burger or maybe during Brack Shop’s brunch events during the summer.
The Cooper Collins is that pink drink you’ll see a tough guy drinking- because it’s super good. You got gin, elderflower, grapefruit and soda, a mixture of flavors and ingredients that’s truly fantastic.
Also, another cocktail to enjoy in the Spring, perhaps while sitting outside on the lawn somewhere, catching some sun. It’s actually quite refreshing as well, thanks to the grapefruit of course! Always been a fan of elderflower, though it is the grapefruit that gives the cocktail a unique factor.
What’s even better is it comes in a highball glass- that’s a huge plus because of the size and a good amount of ice.
I’m going to place this one under the dangerous cocktail zone because I could very well drink them nonstop. It doesn’t hurt that the presentation is adorable as well, brownie points on that one, but that’s why it’s in my danger zone! It’s unassumingly cute, but you have to be careful, the gin will sneak up on you.
Can O' Wine- Nomadica Red Blend:
Ok so I had very little information on the subject prior to having this, all I know is Mariana mentioned that canned wine seemed to be the new boxed wine but better quality. That helped because, yes I have tried boxed wines in the past, so I wasn’t afraid I was more weirded out by the whole concept. Yes, it’s portable, and I can see the benefits but at a bar? It comes served with a glass, and according to Mariana, that’s how it’s meant to be enjoyed.
So I went with red first, because I noticed a strange combination of grapes… It’s a Petit Serra grape combined with the American Zinfandel grape. The Petit Cirah I have enjoyed in the past before by itself, and Zinfandel is a very difficult grape to grow because it is hard to blend it can go bad easily as well.
One of the benefits of this is because of the can, the portion is bigger. On the can it reads that this is a ⅓ of an entire bottle of wine. That was honestly the only positive thing I have to say about this…
I have seen canned wines at the grocery store, but it’s always been sparkling or rose. This is way too serious to blend, nonetheless put in a can...I was curious because I had never tasted canned wine, the red one is simply too young for what it is, it’s grapes are individually too full of body. They have no tannin leaving the wine with flat flavor.
Honestly, I wouldn’t recommend it. The concept is different, yes, but the flavor is too strong. It’s not meant to be aged, I get it, but then I would change the blend, back to the drawing board on this one, Nomadica…Due to the wine's heavy flavoring, I don't suggest it but I also would not recommend it with any food here. It did make me very curious about the white wine...
Can O' Wine- Nomadica Chenin Blanc:
Oh goodness, this. This is SO MUCH BETTER. Go with the white wine curious cats! This Chenin Blanc canned wine is deliciously crisp and young.
It cleans the pallet well, it’s enjoyable. If you tried it with your eyes closed the scent might deceive you and confuse it with a Sauvignon Blanc. It has a similar rubber-tire-like smell of S.B. but also in a lot of other young wines.
I’d recommend you munch on the fried pickles with this one if you get hungry (like Mariana does when she drinks wine) or even the pretzel with a little horseradish would be nice. I probably wouldn’t order it again because of the great deals they have on much better wine for a bottle…
The HHC Team shared:
TA Custom Beer Flight from Mr. Brady Miller:
As everyone knows, April is the beer month for Happy Hour City, so we brought you to the first kind of business where they sell beer- a sports bar. Brack Shop being that it is an upscale sports bar has a wide-ranging variety of beers available on draft. For Happy Hour (in the same order from the picture above) they have a lager from House Beer (yep, that’s the name) and a Goose Island IPA only. The House Beer lager is a simple American Pale Ale with light grain notes that leaves a little sweet aftertaste but nothing out of this world. The Goose Island IPA is an English Island Pale Ale that is more on the fruity side with taste notes of pineapple and lemon. The hops come in at the end but they don't over power it. Both incredibly delicious, and you get 16 oz for $5 during Happy Hour!
The rest of the beers were just a compliment of Brady Miller, to really show us what the range is here, in honor of beer month of course! The clear one in the middle, which Mariana confused with water, is actually Julian Hard Cider. It was a 7% alcohol content and it is definitely on the more dry side vs. the sweet side.
Next to it, is Mariana’s favorite kind of beer, the one that doesn’t taste like a beer- a Stiegel. You’ve seen the cans before, this fruity canned delicacy is actually half beer because it contains half the alcohol content, it is perfect for those who don’t want to drink too much or drink something refreshing. Next to that is a Deschutes Black Butte Porter that is bone dry. At first glance, it looks heavy, but the shocking truth is it is not. The flavors and viscosity are similar to a cold brew coffee, y’know really roasted but without the heavy mouth-feel afterward.
A: I always try the pretzel at bars when I see one on the menu, I freaking love Brack Shop’s “The Pretzel.” It stayed warm and soft the entire time, it wasn’t chewy or too dry either. The horseradish had a nice kick to it, wouldn’t recommend it if you don’t like spicy! As for the beer cheese, for some reason I haven’t been able to find a beer cheese I like in DTLA yet, this one was sort of bland.
M: Okay, this was my favorite thing on the menu, and yes there is a non-vegan option but Mariana doesn’t do dairy so- vegan queso it is! Having lived in Texas, I know a good queso when I see one, having given up dairy I miss queso dearly… So when I see a vegan option, my heart starts beating fast from the excitement that I’ll have queso soon. I couldn’t stop eating it, not only was it perfect but it had soyrizo and rice at the bottom. The pico de gallo was a fantastic decision as well. Couldn’t stop eating this, I can’t even say they “don’t give you a lot of chips,” because they don’t.
X: I have had soyrizo a handful of times, in my native Mexico it is a diet recommended food in schools now. I have however had very good chorizo in my life before, and this one shocked me. When I tried the queso and managed to get a lot on my chip at once (without breaking the chip!) I scraped some of the beans and soyrizo in and I thought they got the wrong queso (non-vegan). That’s how good the soyrizo matched a real chorizo. It’s well seasoned, it’s spicy enough- you don’t feel lied to. Honestly, it made me not miss meat at all! Just like Alex’s OF- it hit all the right marks. It had the signature almost “beefy-pork” flavor is in there and the texture is definitely making it feel like chorizo. I swear it even smells like it, but it’s not. This left me blown away with the queso, I am so impressed.
A: Usually with vegan cheeses in queso places tend to use the very popular Daya, which has a very odd texture to me. So I won’t like I was hesitant going into it but it turned out to be very tasty. The texture wasn’t at all what I imagined- in all reality it was very creamy. Complete with the right kind of “elasticity” that real cheese has. Really enjoyed it (before Mariana finished it.)
M: I am not a pickle fan, whatsoever, the strong vinegar smell makes me cringe. However, Alex insisted I would like this pickle, because they weren’t too “pickled”. I laughed and tried one, and OH MY GOD, I found my kind of pickle… It was so juicy but refreshing, not sour, not bitter- to sum it up they didn’t leave me feeling like I had bad breath after eating 4.
A: Me on the other hand, I am a pickle fan, but these are still delicious there is no arguing that. Fried pickles get served so often at bars that little work goe on the batter, this is not the case here. It’s an actually good batter instead of the normal greasy but chewy grease of a deep fryer. The surprise was how it held it’s crisp, what a great detail, I like them A LOT.
M: The wings were spectacular! The first thing that wowed me was the size, these wings are not tiny! They are meaty, big, messy, delicious soaked in buffalo sauce and sprinkled with blue cheese. I skipped out on the dressing because I love buffalo, and what I loved about this buffalo sauce specifically, was the fact it stayed fresh. We finished the wings second to last and they were still fresh, moist, the sauce was messy, the taste was still there.
A: These Buffalo wings, they have the right flavor, they have the right consistency, and the blue cheese dressing instead of ranch is such a nice change. When they first came out they were steaming hot, we tried to capture the smoke coming off on camera, you could literally see it. You could also see the freshness on the sauce, and how moist it was. Not exactly from being drenched in sauce but the juice from the chicken. Then when you bite into them- they are super flavorful. The dressing isn’t even overpowering (for those afraid of the strength of blue cheese) it pairs well with the wings.
Damn Good Sliders:
M: Included homemade pickles, which I first mistook as cucumbers. These not-so-bite-sized burgers are their way of advertising their signature burger, the Damn good burger. Really that’s the name! I absolutely loved them and they are not tiny in size so really you’re getting a pretty good sized burger all in all.
X: I really liked the slider, it was a nice surprise to see them repeat the pickles, this was a nice touch. The veggie to meat ratio is well balanced, for three of these you’d be full at the end, and it is a Damn Good Burger.
A: I am not personally a fan of grilled onions but in this burger they are, particularly, Damn Good Sliders The pickles put it over the top for me.
M: This is one vegetarian will thoroughly enjoy! It comes with pickled onions, avocado hummus, a few greens, tomato and deliciously healthy falafel. As a huge fan of hummus, the avocado was incredible. However, it certainly takes over the other flavors of the other ingredients.
X: I was happy to see a healthier option if you don’t want a burger. But I have to agree with Mariana. The hummus with the bread, it kinda just tastes like hummus and bread, little room for the other flavors I was expecting. Maybe it was just this portion that had too much hummus.
A: I did taste the falafel’s spice and flavor to it, it is a bit light but it’s there. This dish is perfect for those who don’t want to break their healthy diet while enjoying a discounted price for Happy Hour. With the full advertising on the “Damn Good Burger/Sliders” this won’t make vegetarians feel left out nor hungry. They are incredibly filling and the avocado hummus is a favorite of mine. If I was a vegetarian I’d get this every time.
X: The tortillas on the mole tacos made an excellent impression on me. You can tell they are homemade, very thick, and traditional. I also loved the base of the acidity from the pickles and onions. The flavors of the mole were sort of unexpected, I have never had a mole like this before, it definitely was not traditional like the tortillas. First, the pickles and onions cut the sweetness of the mole, a fantastic touch, and combination, but secondly, it is quite spicy. It’s not bad at all, I am just so undecided and taken aback by it. If you don’t like spicy I don’t recommend it, but definitely enjoy it with the Happy Hour beer, the Goose IPA to be exact.
A: These mysterious mole tacos are not made with chicken! That’s the surprise that took Xena back, it’s jackfruit! I thought it was a very unique and original take on the traditional way of presenting this staple Mexican cuisine. It does make the taco lighter in weight, but the tortilla holds that and the jackfruit holds the flavors of the mole. Another great option for a healthier choice.
Ahi Tuna Burger:
M: Ah, the Ahi Tuna Burger, it was not on the menu, it was a new item they just added on. It contains ahi tuna, tomato, lemon grass, and aioli. The scent of the lemongrass is enough to make you take a double take, like is that really what I am tasting? It’s not that it didn’t work I just think there was too much of it- the strong scent of lemongrass can be a great touch as an accent piece not as the main “green” of the dish. I liked the burger though, I wanted to love it.
A: The fact that it contains lemongrass is almost like trying to trick my tastebuds, the scent always reminds me of pine sol, not saying I wouldn’t eat it again I do like lemongrass. I have the same complaint, it’s simply too much on this one patty. I like it, but it doesn’t seem to fit the menu, compared to everything else we ate.
X: The aroma is definitely too strong, it leaves me wondering what the tuna tastes like. I think if they just remove 80% of the lemongrass the scent wouldn’t be as harsh and it would leave room for the other flavors to shine.
Baja Shrimp Tacos:
M: I skipped on the mole tacos and tried the Baja Shrimp instead and I think I made the right choice. The size of the shrimps are HUGE! Which I love because you can properly judge how it was cooked and get to know the flavors. They only have a tiny bit of spice, probably due to the chipotle, but it is cut by the addition of the lime crema- my absolute favorite part. The homemade tortillas made of corn are a nice attention and you can tell they took the time to prepare them correctly, they are also ridiculously strong they do a good job or holding the taco in.
X: I tried these tacos and they have already been out for a while but it still worked, and they were absolutely tasty. The shrimp remained juicy, it was nice to repeat my favorite- the homemade tortillas. These beat out the mole tacos for me, the seasoning is above and beyond, a fantastic balance of flavors. I was happily surprised.
The Overall Experience
Brack Shop Tavern is the sports bar we have always wanted, loud TVs for a game, great crowds, neighbors meeting up, board games, secret rooms only locals know about, plenty of booth seating, comfortable ambience and a rotating Happy Hour to mix it all up is just the sort of chill restaurant row has needed for a while.
Given its young two-year run we truly hope that this bar, that fits both service industry workers as much their dedicated regular “suits”, is your next pick to watch a sports game. They have the catering to the community style down to a science and we love witnessing that in the growing residential renaissance of DTLA.
Next time you’re in town debating whether an expensive cocktail in the area is worth it- take a look at Brack Shop Tavern and welcome the change of scenery for a discount price during their amazing Happy Hour. You can certainly count on us coming back.
Overall Score: 4.3/5
Happy Hour Score: 4.5/5
We'd like to thank Brady and the staff for being such wonderful hosts and Brittany White Oak for being so responsive. if you're in the neighborhood for a new favorite sports bar, come by Brack Shop Tavern, especially during Happy Hour.
Look out next week for our first brewery in DTLA! That's right, one with a Happy Hour.
Thanks for reading and as always...