THE THIRSTY MERCHANT
A VALLEY VILLAGE NEIGHBORHOOD HANG THAT GETS IT RIGHT
Who doesn’t a love a good neighborhood hang? Even if it’s not in your hood, the fun ones are always worth visiting. At The Thirsty Merchant in Valley Village, it’s all about the grub, beer, hooch and games.
The vibe is fun and casual and the menu offers a variety of shared plates, artisanal flatbreads, and a few freshly ground burgers. There’s also a huge selection of craft beers, cocktails and a delectable frozen Rosé that’s perfect for summer drinking. And all of this is amongst fun games and a giant outdoor space featuring bocce ball courts, foosball and corn hole. Indeed, this is a great hangout spot.
During our recent visit for dinner, we started with the aforementioned frozen Frosé that’s built for day drinking or an ample prescription to cool off and beat the heat. The bar likes to describe this libation as “God’s gift to your mouth.”
To kick off our feast, as we took in the Dodgers game on one of many big screens, we started with the Deviled Eggs with lemon, green onion, and tarragon. Delicious! The Steak Tips with marinated tenderloin, garlic toast, and blue cheese is also a terrific and flavorful starter. Either will work to share or to enjoy solo.
But if you want to really grub, share the Carnitas Nachos with fried tortilla chips covered in carnitas, homemade black beans, jalapeños, avocado verde, sour cream, jack and cheddar cheese topped off with onions and cilantro served with a side of salsa. This is oversized comfort food done right.
Other hearty options include Truffle Mac, Crab Dip, Buffalo Cauliflower, and Garlic Truffle Fries. But I really wanted to try the burgers, which was a damn good call.
The Bistro Burger with peppered beef patty, boursin cheese and French fries, yes, French fries are in the burger, is a solid choice. And it comes with a side of fries too. The flavors on this are off the charts.
But not to be undone, the veggie I Yam What I Yam! is a total winner. Made with a sweet potato and quinoa patty, there’s feta cheese, lemon, tomato, onion, cilantro and aioli. You’ll know you’re not eating beef but the taste is so spot-on delicious that it won’t matter. This ended up being a definite favorite of the night.
The cocktails didn’t wow me but the beer selection is impressive. Think of this place as more hearty eats to go with beer, wine or shot. Otherwise keep your drink simple and you’ll be happy.
And if you save room for dessert, there’s Peanut Butter Pie with peanut butter cups, crushed peanuts and peanut butter on an Oreo crust. Damn! Mad props for being that decadently creative.
Fun and festive, this is a sports bar that doesn’t feel like an annoying sports bar. And the big game-oriented outside area just makes the place seem fun and entertaining. You won’t feel rushed to leave and head elsewhere when you can make a fun night out here.
The Thirsty Merchant is located at 12430 Riverside Drive in Valley Village. Open weekdays from 3pm to 2am and weekends from 11am to 2am. Call 818-821-1169.
Story By; Jose Martinez
Photography Courtesy Of: The Thirsty Merchant