You know how the meal is usually a chef's top priority? Well, Casey Lane of Tasting Kitchen fame and John Coltharp are shaking things up with a cocktail-centric kitchen. If you're not following (we know, it's a little puzzling), the cocktails were priority numero uno, and the food's flavor then had to be bold enough to stand up to the libations' top billing. An understated ambience underscores the proprietors' intended first impression, too. Try the Black Bee with bourbon, two kinds of honey, shots of stout, porter beer, and a hint of lemon, and you'll have proof that downtown is the mixologist's mecca.
840 South Spring Street (at 9th Street); 213-225-2400.