Here at Nook, we have a passion for people, places, and properties. Welcome to #TastemakerTuesday, where we’ll feature the visionaries in our favorite nooks who are dedicated to building a better community through their talents.
We travel all the way back to 1405 and the Irish Annals of Clonmacnoise to find the first written entry on whiskey, and that was a grim report: the head of a clan had indulged in too much “aqua vitae,” or “water of life” on Christmas Day and died. See the Irish people had experimented for years with knowledge of perfume distillery taken from travels through the Mediterranean until it became a popular drink. It wasn't well regulated until 1556 when the English Parliament tried to pass a mostly unsuccessful act that limited the production of whiskey to larger towns.
After a winding history of licenses and regulations that ebbed and flowed depending on the areas of the UK the Crown controlled at the time, it wasn't until the 1800s that whiskey and Ireland became synonymous. Then wars and disagreements took hold. Add to that the effect of American Prohibition in the early twentieth century, and for a time Scotland whiskey production was on top.
We felt a great resurgence through the 1980s, however, and a number of distilleries opened again. Last summer, almost twenty were in full production with eighteen more scheduled. You can track this uptick in new Irish whiskey distilleries through businesses in our Nook Neighborhoods. Whether it's an establishment entirely centered around whiskey or an expansion of their offerings, the Irish tradition’s resurgence is most certainly our gain!
Orange County: Chapter One opened seven years ago on St Patrick's Day, taking up residence in Santa Ana’s Artist Alley. Winner of the 2018 Diner’s Choice Award, you’ll find delicious local food along with nearly any kind of whiskey you could want (including one I'd love to try, the Jameson 18 year limited reserve).
Los Angeles: The Thirsty Crow in Silver Lake was named after Aesop’s Fable of the inventive bird who dropped stones into a jug until he could drink the….whiskey? I remember it as water, but this is a much tastier version. Some of the best bartenders in the area work here, and the pours are generous, to say the least.
Palm Springs: You can find the excellent atmosphere of Eureka! in Palm Desert and across California. Each location hand picks live entertainment, meals and drinks to create a revelatory experience worthy of the term eureka!
The Bay Area: Elixir has such a great neighborhood history to it, plus over 450 whisk(e)y bottles on the shelf and three pour options. They receive a single barrel to sell exclusively to their customers often, and right now you can indulge in a Buffalo Trace Bourbon. The longest continually running saloon in San Francisco, Elixir came under Irish ownership once again in 1998. With every restoration and improvement, they unearth new evidence of its legacy.
San Diego: Seven Grand is another choice you can find in other Nook Neighborhoods (downtown Los Angeles has a great location). Each destination has their own Whiskey Society, where you can continue an education and appreciation of the finest in whiskeys.
Santa Barbara: Dargan’s Irish Pub and Restaurant is an authentic Irish establishment, and I can tell because the dinner menu’s traditional faire makes my mouth water. Pair it with a true Guinness, some of their fine selection of whiskeys, and you have a truly Irish evening.
Miami: I don't know if it's the best, but it's certainly the most interesting Southern option. You enter the Bodega in South Beach through a pretend meat cooler in the back of a Mexican restaurant, and there a world of whiskey unfolds.
Do any of these whiskey bars wet your palette? Look them up then Search With Style© to find a dream home nearby.