L.A.'s Best-Stocked Dive

All shelves are the top shelf at Neat

A friend recently shared her favorite "cocktail" recipe with us: Open a bottle of good whiskey and pour a few fingers into a glass. Drink.

It's a dead-simple prescription that's arguably the only way to drink finer spirits. Aidan Demarest, who has left a trail of exceptional cocktails behind him at various Southland bars, has taken this purist's approach as his own at Neat, which opened earlier this month in Glendale.

Housed in a minimally rehabbed dive, Neat is no showy affair; there isn't even a drink list. You order by the liquor, and the chosen spirit is served with a chaser, the pair of glasses tidily resting in round recesses on a small wooden tray. Bundaberg ginger beer complemented the glass of caramelized-orange-tasting Elijah Craig 12 we partook in (pictured; $12), while the Curious Cola-backed pour of Ron Zacapa XO ($35) was a sublime recollection of our long-past rum-and-coke days.

The Zacapa is one of a handful of bottles at Neat culled from Demarest's personal spirits collection. The unmarked cut-crystal decanter glinting at you from the top shelf? That's Demarest's stash of Macallan 30 ($50), a Scotch with a finish as long as the booze is old.

Neat, 1114 N. Pacific Ave., Glendale; 818-241-4542 or theneatbar.com