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Counter Culture: Villains, Swill, Barrel Tasting, Cabbage Patch, Mediterranean City Grill

By Ed Fuentes
Published: Wednesday, July 21, 2010, at 11:39AM
Villians Tavern Ed Fuentes

DRINK AND DANGER: Dana Hollister's creative eye shaped the roguish authenticity of Elizabeth Peterson’s Royal Clayton’s and envisioned the gothic altars of Bordello. She credits the Arts District as her visual muse. Villains Tavern is her newest project, and the dark-fantasy-meets-happy hour spot manifests itself this weekend.

While it isn't clear whether the Arts District itself inspired the name, the venue promises to be a solid addition for those wanting to hide on that side of the Alameda curtain. Like nearby Tony’s Saloon, fresh fruit will be a key ingredient in some cocktails. Villain’s Tavern will also carry boutique wines and host up to 28 beers on tap.

On Thursday, they will be holding a private party, with the doors opening to random villains Friday night. Villains Tavern is located at 1356 Palmetto, on the corner of Santa Fe.

1-2-4 OZ. WINE TASTING & MAYBE A JOB? Also in the Arts District is Swill Automatic, a new enomatic wine bar that Eater LA reports will be opening up next month adjacent to Church & State at 1850 Industrial. Enomatic wine systems allow patrons to taste and pour at their own discretion. Insert card, push button, drink up, and keep on drinking if you like it. The venue will offer easy access to 58 different wines from around the world, organic coffee, and brunch.

If you're a reader who wants to spend even more time with your wine, the bar is hiring staff next week.

YET MORE WINE TASTING: San Antonio Winery is holding their “Barrel Tasting” boutique event on Saturday, July 24, allowing guests to meet, greet, and toast winemakers as they taste their wares “straight from the barrel.” The tasting runs from 2 to 4pm and tickets cost $35.00 per person. To make reservations, call (323) 330- 8771. San Antonio Winery is located at 737 Lamar Street, just past the L.A. River on N. Main.

SIGN OF LIFE: The shuttered Showbiz Ribs location at 520 W. 6th is preparing for a new life as the third location for Cabbage Patch, which currently has spots in Beverly Hills and Playa Vista. The philosophy is all about tasty, conscientious fresh fare. Expect sun-ripened goodness from local markets and happy beef from Niman Ranch.

JUST UNDER THE WIRE: Mediterranean City Grill (609 S. Spring) had a soft opening during last week's Downtown Art Walk. As the witching hour struck 6pm, the final sign was installed and plugged in. The casual eatery opened for real last Tuesday, offering food until 10pm throughout the week and until 2am on the weekend.

WINNERS: Food critic Brad A. Johnson will host Angeleno Magazine's Chef's Night Out and 8th Annual Restaurant Awards in Santa Monica on Sunday, August 1. Downtown will be represented by Lazy Ox, this year's winner for Best Restaurant, and Water Grill, who will take home The Vanguard Award.

MARKET WATCH: For anyone new to the neighborhood, get yourself to a farmers market. Pershing Square Farmers Market is held Wednesday from 11:30am to 3pm. (532 S. Olive Street). A market at 7+Fig is open from 10am to 2pm on Thursdays, the same time as the Little Tokyo / Arts District Farmers Market at City Hall. On Fridays, the Farmer’s Market at Bank of America Plaza (333 S. Hope) runs from 11am to 3pm.

If you are willing to jump on the Gold Line for a little neighborhood flavor, you can find the new Boyle Heights Farmers Market -- it had its debut on July 9th -- at Mariachi Plaza on Fridays from 3 to 8pm.

LAST MINUTE PRICES: Prices are already low at the counters of Grand Central Market, so when the stalls offer a happy hour to move stuff, prices can drop down to $3.75 for a two-item Chinese food combo-plate. Those in the know, like security guards, wait until minutes before the 6pm closing to buy some last minute take-home for as low as $2.

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