The Arts District is really stepping up its culinary game lately, with recent openings like The Pie Hole and Wurstküche putting this near-downtown neighborhood on the culinary map. Little Bear, opened just this January, is another stamp in the district’s book of good eats.
Brought to us by Andre Guerrero of Oinkster and Maximiliano and Ryan Sweeney of Verdugo Bar and Surly Goat’s, the Belgian-style café isn’t just another upscale restaurant serving Belgian beers. It’s an impressive eatery for fine food that speaks Belgian (with a slight French accent), all tailored around the refined list of beers—which is most likely why you’ll come here. As in Belgium, beer takes the reins at Little Bear, and it leads the rest of the experience on a bubbly, often fruit-influenced, journey.
Belgians are no strangers to ales, and you can find them in every variation here—pale, brown, dark, and the newly beloved sour (the beer list currently features over 10 very credible sour ales). The selection is absolutely wonderful—from reasonably priced single glasses to the more expensive full bottles, any lover of beer will find themselves a lover of Belgian beer once finished at Little Bear.
The menu oozes influences of deli-loving Guerrero, whose pastrami from Oinkster ends up on the menu here, yet in all the right ways. The food has a sophisticated charm about it, in true European style, but also has great hearth and heft, in true Belgian style. The ale-braised short rib, served on a bed of starchy mashed turnips and delicately sautéed spinach leaves, is just such a marriage of grace and gut. Smoked wild boar sausage is marvelously seasoned and rests atop a heaping mound of sweet potatoes and salty black kale. So this is how they get Belgian children to eat their veggies.
1855 Industrial St.
Los Angeles, CA 90021