Italian Loafers

Pablo Moix and Steve Livigni bring Old World cocktails to Venice

When you first enter Venice's Scopa Italian Roots, a cavernous brick-walled restaurant off of Washington Boulevard, you might stare in awe for a moment at the towering wall of spirits behind the bar.

Standing over 20 feet tall, the bar's illuminated shelves hold an encyclopedic array of bottles. But this collection isn't just for show: Barmen Steve Livigni and Pablo Moix have created a suave drinks list (all cocktails $11) for Westside crowds that takes full advantage of the bar's arsenal.

Moix wanted to create drinks that were classic in style, but paid homage to L.A.'s heritage. Case in point: The Bullocks-Wilshire, named after Westlake's Art Deco landmark, is made with bourbon, Demerara rum, Cynar and maraschino liqueur.

"It's the most Instagrammed cocktail we've ever created," says Moix. "People love sharing pictures of it for some reason."

Wall of spirits (Photo: Scopa)

Under a section titled "Amaro Cocktails," you'll find bracing twists on the classic Negroni–from the Benici Buio, made with aged rum and rhum agricole, to the Perrisimo, a formidable medley of mezcal, sweet vermouth, and amer sauvage.

After sharpening your appetite with aperitifs, bask in chef Antonia Lafosa's Italian-American antipasti: grilled ciabatta spread with whipped ricotta ($11); softball-sized arancini filled with meat sauce and mozzarella ($8); and the comically oversized 18-inch Italian hero ($15), dressed with assorted salumi, Provolone and lashings of good olive oil.

It might be the Bullocks-Wilshire talking, but life seems very good in Venice right now.