After Jimmy Han started falling in love with craft beer, he gave up his job in real estate to open Beer Belly, a 1,500-square-foot craft beer bar formerly occupied by a Chinese Restaurant in Koreatown, Los Angeles.
Tucked in the parking lot of a small, unassuming space, Beer Belly is easy to spot thanks to an eye-catching street-art adorned exterior painted by Han’s friend Yoshihiro Takahashi (also known as MR44), a famous Japanese artist.
The ultra-modern space is a play on different textures like mahogany wood, recycled coke bottle chairs, steel tables and polished concrete floors. People can enjoy their beers at the bar, on bench seating along the wall or at a comfy six top.
For those that want to grab a brewski with their four-legged sidekick, the outside space is totally dog friendly! With two dogs of his own, it was only natural for Han to opt for this much-appreciated extra. “Who wouldn’t want to be dog-friendly if space permitted?” Han tells us. “We keep the patio stocked with water bowls and sometimes provide dog treats, too.”
For us humans, there’s something for every beer connoisseur, including a number of rotating local brews on tap, rare bottles from Han’s private collection, or a raw, unfiltered cider. And non-beer drinkers can choose from a couple of choice wines, as well as a handpicked selection of gourmet sodas and Stumptown cold brew coffee.
In terms of food, it is all about savory, unique comfort dishes that go great with, well, beer. “Some highlights on our menu include our signature four-layer grilled cheese, duck fat fries, duck French dip and deep friend Oreos with Nutella,” Han tells us.
Items that stood out to us were the pork belly chips (complete with sweet onion sugar and Tabasco aioli), beer and chipotle braised short rib (finished with a cheddar puff pastry and topped with a roasted short rib jus), and the lamb meatballs (made from ground lamb, bacon-fat breadcrumbs, feta cheese, Kalamata olives and curry marinara).
According to Han, the Beer Belly customer is an easy-going, down-to-earth, beer-loving, food-grubbing, young professional that appreciates a beautiful space, great service, and of course, innovative menu items.
“Beer Belly’s atmosphere was crafted with people’s creativity in mind,” Han tells us. “Everyone from the architects to the chefs to the beer brewers showcases their creativity in their works of art. It attracts a special group of customers that come to discover and celebrate the creativity behind those products.”
Speaking of products, Beer Belly works with local artists and designers to collaborate on fun merchandise that represents the culture Beer Belly is all about. Merchandise ranges from a drinking cap ($26) to a limited-edition bottle opener ($28) to a super-cozy hoodie ($45).
With a customer that’s all about newness, Beer Belly keeps things fresh with monthly events and specials, with its most popular event being a tap takeover known as “One Night Stand.” “Once a month, we invite a local brewery and their brewers to come share their brews with our community,” says Han.
The bar also boasts a pretty awesome happy hour Monday through Friday from 5 to 7 pm, complete with a $5 featured draft, $1 off all craft cans and $5 food specials.
Next up for Beer Belly? “We’re planning to improve our patio space to make it more comfortable for dog-owners and dogs,” Han says. Tasty food, tastier drinks and an even better outside space? We’re down with that.
Main image via Foursquare