These days it seems like every design thirsty person is booking a ticket to the mothership — Copenhagen. But if you don’t have the funds because rent and life are kinda draining your every last dime then you’ll be happy to know you can get a little taste of Copenhagen at the new Mikkeller Bar in DTLA. If you’re not familiar with the Mikkeller brand of craft beer here’s some background for you. The Mikkeller brand was birthed in the early 2000s in a kitchen in Copenhagen when Mikkel Borg Bjergso, a science teacher, started experimenting with homebrewing. Since then Mikkeller brews have traveled to 40 different countries like Iceland, South Korea and the U.S. (San Diego and San Francisco). That’s where Chuck Stilphen comes in. A couple of years ago Stilphen partnered up with Mikkeller to launch the San Francisco location. Now it’s DTLA’s turn to meet Mikkeller. Stilphen chose the South Park area of DTLA, right near the Staples Center. The large corner lot has housed Winfield Arms which was staffed by the CIA and Naval Intelligence's personnel. It’s also been a discount tire center. But after sitting vacant for a couple of years Stilphen came in and has now carved it into a contemporary industrial loft putting all 7,600 square feet to work with high ceilings and glass walls that open up. Stilphen says the space is designed to draw you in, “It’s very communal. It’s very beer hallish. That was the goal to have a place where people get together and talk about beer and drink good beer and have really good food.”
Looking around you’ll get glimpses of the art that usually draws people to covet Mikkeller’s packaging. The walls have murals of patterns of the hip cartoon characters drawn up by Philly- based artist Keith Shore. The art is such a big part of the brand’s appeal so don’t be shocked if you find yourself sneaking off with some of their artsy L.A. coasters. Shame — Inevitable, New Portable Art — Most definitely.
Mikkeller’s lineup of beers runs deep so you’ll never run out of choices. They come from all over the world and are served at different temperatures. A popular choice is California Dream a crisp Pilsner if you’re not in the mood to experiment. They also carry some favorite DTLA brewers like Mumford Brewing (Skidrokyo). Stilphen says that alone speaks volumes about the brewing community, “The beer world - everyone seems to help each other.” But this place isn’t strictly for beer faithfuls, the cocktail menu is seriously worth a spin like the Oaxacan Old Fashioned — a brooding tequila, mezcal mix with an intense twist — mole, yes mole - like the rich Mexican sauce or try the Lime in the Coconut drink – which tastes like a tropical trip outta here.
Then there’s the food – the anchor that’ll keep you from washing away in a beer and cocktail haze. This is where Chef Enrique Cuevas from Spring steps in with upscale eats fit for a pub. He even has a real wood smoker at his disposal to cook up juicy, smoky brats made from chicken and pork butt stuffed into a pillowy bread coffin. There’s also the caramelized potatoes – OK, maybe that sounds basic to you but trust it will make your mouth happy so just go ahead and order it.
So here’s the deal if you’re into good beer, good design and good eats you’re gonna land nicely here at Mikkeller.
Written by Linda Hosmer
Photographed by Kort Havens