Walker Inn is LA's Aviary

With prices to match; bar is “omakase” only.


Who’s been? Didja like? Do you own AMEX Black? Are you single (& not ugly) cuz I have this brilliant gorgeous friend…

Been a few times. Would go every weekend if didn’t have to make reservations.

Unbelievable place.

They were running an alcoholic neopolitan In-n-Out milkshake + dehydrated fries on the side special for a while that was easily one of the best things to get buzzed on that has ever been concocted.

But regardless, the quality of cocktails is abusrdly high there, and the omakase is perfect at such a level.


If you go late during rainy/cold days, you can literally walk-in. I find their door policy way more relaxed than Varnish, and the cocktails even better (as they should be considering the price of entry).

thats a bold statement. maybe ill crawl out of my cave and check the joint out.

Ohh…I may show up there more often now then haha

My, my it’s rainy tonight…hmm

Speaking of caves, do we need to dress like we don’t live in? Aka do I need to get fancy to drink a cocktail?

That’s a very tall claim! The Aviary is ridiculously special.

This demands an investigation some upcoming Saturday so you can prove your allegation.

No, it’s Los Angeles. There’s no such things as dress codes.

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Thanks to TonyC, Aesthete, megbeck, I decided to give The Walker Inn a try.

Located inside The Normandie Club (inside The Normandie Hotel), The Walker Inn is essentially a bar within a bar; like some weird physical manifestation of Inception the movie. :slightly_smiling: Or, it’s just really cool to press an old button on the wall near an imposing door, and then having someone open up and let you into a speakeasy of sorts.

The ambiance is nice. It’s not as dark as The Varnish, but it’s much louder. When we went, it was packed (but it’s limited capacity / seating, and most of it is Reservations Only), but it was quite loud. People laughing, shouting, clearly the alcohol was flowing when we got there. :slightly_smiling:

We had seats at the bar, so that helped slightly with the noise level. The music was a combination of '70’s, '80’s, some Glenn Fry, some newer tracks from this century mixed in.

As Tony, meg and others mentioned, currently they are running a tribute to Chef Alice Waters, paying homage to her California cooking through their cocktails(!).

(Sorry for no pics - it was pretty dark.)

Apricot & Baguette (Preserves, Genever, Lemon, Champagne):

The menu descriptions sound radical and crazy, so I was pretty excited to see what the fuss was all about. In this case, the “Apricot” were Apricot Preserves mixed into the cocktail, and the “Baguette” was a Mist / Spray of water infused with actual French Baguettes. To be fair, there was a slight scent of Baguette when you took a sip, but it was very very faint (and by the 3rd or 4th sip till the end, it was already gone).

The actual cocktail was enjoyable. It was balanced and bubbly from the Champagne.

Fennel From Farm to Glass (Seed, Bulb, Pollen & Rum):

I was very curious about this one. And it was pretty spectacular! :slightly_smiling: They literally had pureed Fennel Bulb, Fennel Seeds and Fennel Pollen in the cocktail mixed with Rum. It was herbaceous, tasting like Fennel and Celery with the Rum being rather behind the scenes. Probably my favorite cocktail of the evening.

Meyer Lemon Aperitif (with Sherry & French Vermouth, Meyer Soda Sidecar):

This came out as a 2 part Cocktail. 2 Mini Cocktails in separate glasses. One was a more traditional, non-carbonated drink with Sherry & French Vermouth and Meyer Lemon Zest, and the second part was a fizzy, carbonated “Meyer Soda Sidecar”, that tasted more refreshing. The Sherry version was too sweet (almost “Lemon Drop Martini for Tourists - Sweet”).

White Sesame Seed (with Mushrooms, Thai Chili & Bourbon):

This was the one drink on the current menu that had me wondering with morbid curiosity LOL. I kept wondering, “Mushrooms? Thai Chili? How???” After it arrived, it turns out that it is basically an Old Fashioned with a Thai Chili infusion (adding some spiciness), and a sprinkle of White Sesame Seeds. The “Mushrooms” were a Mushroom Mist / Spray on top.

I did detect a faint Mushroom note on the first few sips, but like the Baguette drink, after maybe 2 or 3 sips, the Mushroom notes were gone. The rest of the cocktail was basically like drinking a spicy Old Fashioned.

Total was about $110 for 4 cocktails (essentially 2 cocktails a person on our visit), which feels pretty pricey.

Reflecting on it, the best cocktails I’ve tasted from Julian Cox (one of LA’s best, who helped establish bar programs for Rivera, Bestia, Redbird, Fiscal Agent, etc., and taught the craft to many bartenders around town) were even more enjoyable than 3 of the 4 cocktails I had at Walker Inn. I once asked Julian for something with fresh Ginger, and he made me an off-menu drink he dubbed “5th & Adams” which he used a fantastic Mezcal and fresh Ginger amongst other things. It was MAGIC. Slightly smoky, awesome fresh Ginger, balanced, not too boozy, really interesting. And that ran only $13 at Fiscal Agent vs. $20 per cocktail at Walker Inn.

“The Kiwifruit” (Gin, Ransom Dry Vermouth, Kiwi (an entire Kiwi fruit mixed into the drink), Lime, Yellow Chartreuse) was more enjoyable for me than the Apricot & Baguette drink I had Walker Inn, and it was $14 vs. $20 (and the average price of cocktails at Fiscal Agent is around $12).

This isn’t to say The Walker Inn is bad at all. The Fennel Farm To Glass is completely outstanding and the most unique drink I’ve tried on their menu so far. I’d go back just to have another. :slightly_smiling: But at these prices, where 2 cocktails can run you about ~$55, and with some of the cocktails just being “good” but not great, I don’t know if it’s a place I can revisit that often.

I enjoyed the ambiance, and you can tell they care about their craft, but I want to try more of their cocktails / new seasonal menu (next month) to see how it evolves.


:flushed: Holy smokes that’s a lot of scratch for 4 drinks. I paid about $50 more than that for the kitchen table at The Aviary and that was like 7-8 drinks plus food.

tonight would be the night to walk into Walker Inn.

excellent photo series by our favorite blogger