While Amy was wandering through the alleyways of Beijing, or “hutongs” as they’re called, I was stuffing my face with some savory Beef Rolls (“牛肉卷饼“) at the hole-in-the-wall Peking Tavern in Downtown LA. Imagine my surprise to learn that Peking Tavern’s layout was actually inspired by those traditional Beijing “hutongs”! As I sipped on my Peking Manhattan cocktail, I was really feeling the moody vibe thanks to the dark brick walls and red lampshades.
For a moment, I thought, did we get it backwards? As I was being transported back in time to Old Beijing, Amy was in a huge contemporary art zone in real Beijing. Maybe it was the Peking Manhattan talking, but shouldn’t Amy be eating beef rolls while I’m at the MOCA? The world is an interesting place sometimes.
One of the best things about my neighborhood is discovering places like Peking Tavern nestled in a downstairs basement. More nostalgic than your typical lounge, it’s a fun place to grab a drink with friends and eat some Chinese food a.k.a. my comfort food. While I wouldn’t say the fare here is 100% authentic, it’s a worthy alternative to driving all the way out to San Gabriel Valley. Plus, Peking Tavern’s appeal is really in its old school yet modern decor, with hash tags on the wall commanding me to “#Drink Bai Jiu,” a super strong type of rice liquor that Chinese people love to imbibe together.
On this particular night, I met up with my friend Sara for dinner here. She sampled some of the Tavern’s more interesting craft beers, including the “Monk’s Cafe Sour Ale” and “Peanut Butter Milk Stout.” (Salivating yet?) While feasting on Beef Noodle Soup, Beef Rolls, and Dumplings, we people-watched as an eclectic crowd rolled through the bar. Peking Tavern is definitely a rare find, created for those curious enough to venture down to a basement and into a red door with an arrow enticing you to walk through. The perfect beginning to a mysterious adventure.
Because every girls’ night out deserves a bit of extra style, I stepped out in my gladiator-inspired Dolce Vita “Nolin” Dress Sandals. The leather is so soft and this brown color goes with little black dresses and jeans alike. If you want a taste of the gladiator craze but don’t want to be lacing up your shoes forever, this pair is perfect for the job. Cheers to strappy heels and old Peking in my neighborhood! Here’s to being two places at once.
Peking Tavern / Downtown LA