Drinks on the Other Side

Find cocktails and small plates in Studio City

The stretch of Ventura Boulevard that runs through Studio City has long been a destination for sushi.

But with the new Black Market Liquor Bar, L.A.'s prevailing trends of creative cocktails and market-driven small plates have instantly increased their presence in the Valley.

The menu of revised cocktail classics ($11 each) from Steve Livigni and Pablo Moix–the cocktail impresarios behind La Descarga and Harvard & Stone–manages to demurely show off its creativity without trespassing into booze-nerd territory. Our favorites included the cucumber-accented City Fizz, a riff on the classic Ramos Fizz; the similarly revisionist Vodka Buck, a cousin of the Moscow Mule; and Punch for One, which mixes Pisco, pineapple and angostura bitters.

Former Top Chef contestant Antonia Lofaso runs Black Market's kitchen, supplying imbibers with an extensive menu of French, Italian and Cajun-inspired small plates. You can go the full-meal route with oxtail ragu with perciatelli ($14), or stick to snack options like crispy cauliflower ($5) or a deep-fried fluffernutter sandwich ($8). And if you prefer a lower-proof drink with your food, Black Market has both a sommelier and cicerone on staff.

Time to brush aside those Valley stereotypes.

Black Market Liquor Bar, 11915 Ventura Blvd., Studio City; 818-446-2533 or blackmarketliquorbar.com