Highland Park Rising

Two dive bars, reborn

First Highland Park's bungalows were remodeled; now the nearby dive bars are getting a facelift.

Two new drinking establishments in the neighborhood have turned existing dive bars into Mexican-themed nightspots serving mezcal cocktails and Baja wines.

La Cuevita: The 1933 Group, which owns Oldfields Liquor Room and Bigfoot Lounge, remade Little Cave on Figueroa into a stylized establishment that resembles another 1933 bar, Thirsty Crow. Plenty of jiggers of mezcal make their way into the cocktails, including the Clamato-heavy Mezcalada ($8). The spicy, chocolaty Mole Manhattan ($12), made with Carpano Antica, is excellent cocktail revisionism. 5922 N. Figueroa St., Highland Park; 323-255-6871 or lacuevitabar.com  

The Hermosillo: The crew from Covell is behind the overhaul of York Boulevard's Hermosillo Club. You can still enjoy the neon-green bathing-suit-clad blonde who watched over the entry from the Club's sign, but inside the bar wears a fresh new-old patina, replete with Mexploitation film posters and a list of excellent California craft beers projected onto the wall. The Mexican Bordeaux-style blend we tried smelled oddly of molasses, but we found a friend in the 2010 Louis Tete Brouilly Beaujolais ($10). 5125 York Blvd., Highland Park; 323-739-6459