An Eye for Rye
Bounteous bourbon at The Blind Donkey
Spin around blindfolded in Old Town Pasadena, and you'll likely end up facing a generic 35-tap pub.
Pin a tail on The Blind Donkey, though, and you'll find a handpicked selection of craft beers and 99 bottles of whiskey.
At the cozy new bar from beer buff Ryan Sweeney of Little Bear, The Surly Goat and Verdugo Bar, thoughtful flights of bourbon and rye--and a rotating menu of drafts from cities as local as Pasadena, Long Beach and El Segundo--are reason to feel at home at the wooden checkerboard tables.
The grease on the game pieces is forgivable once you've held skewers of grilled, fried and then baked cheese ($7), and dipped the triple-fried fries in Sriracha ketchup ($5). And although we're often partial to beers made in the Southland’s own backyard, it's hard to resist Wandering Aengus' cherry cider ($7), from Salem, Oregon.
Accompanied by a glossary and a handful of approachable cocktails, the whiskey list is extensive but not overwhelming. Butler's Old-Fashioned ($10) rings sweet, buoyed by plum-cinnamon jam, and Wild Turkey 101 grounds crisp apple cider in the Bird of Courage ($10). For the indecisive, rye and IPA sidle up ($10) in one of three beer cocktails that might be worthy of a king.
The Blind Donkey, 53 E. Union St., Pasadena; 626-792-1833 or theblinddonkey.com