Comedian Jay Larson has a pretty great job. The comedian who rose to fame on his “wrong number” story (seriously, look it up), now spends part of his time trawling around America looking for the best places to quaff a pint or sip a craft cocktail for Esquire Network. We asked Larson about some of the best establishments he’s stopped in for this season of Best Bars in America.
How does it feel to work on a show like Best Bars in America? Were you shocked when they offered you this gig?
How does it feel? That depends on the time of day you ask me. Sometimes I feel really hungover! I wasn’t really shocked—I was more in disbelief. I kind of felt guilty, like I was stealing or something—not that I steal.
What are some of your favorite places you’ve visited on the show?
It’s so hard to pick. We have been to some amazing cities I had never been to before this season, like Louisville and Detroit (yeah, I said Detroit). At the same time, we go to dive bars, hotel bars, cocktail bars, beer bars, vineyards, cider farms, and speakeasies, so to pick a favorite would most definitely depend on mood. Luckily we got something for every mood!
Where haven’t you been on the show that you’re interested to try out?
There are some no-brainers like Philly, Atlanta, and Seattle. But I’d like to go small and check out Alaska, Portland, Maine, and Santa Fe.
Do you have a local bar/hangout?
There is a great local restaurant and bar in my hood called Louie’s of Mar Vista that is awesome. They treat everyone like family and have amazing food and great cocktails. On Christmas Eve, my wife and I rolled in there around 5:30pm with our baby and ended up getting slightly buzzed with some other locals. Merry Christmas!
Where do you drink with your friends when you are relaxing?
If we are relaxing, we like to make a day out of it, head to Los Feliz and relax with some wine at Covell Wine Bar. It’s super relaxed, and the entire staff is super knowledgeable.
What would you say would makes an establishment one of the worst bars in America?
I think once the staff thinks they don’t need the patrons. At that point, no matter how good the food, booze, or ambiance is, it’s a thumbs down, no return for me!
Is there any secret to having an especially good night out?
Dinner at the bar. That’s my go-to. Whether I’m with my wife or a buddy, sitting at the bar makes any night more interesting. You talk to people, you try things from the bartender, and maybe if you’re lucky, you end up somewhere later that night you didn’t think you’d be. . .late night walk through the wine vineyard with a local sommelier you talked to for three hours, just sayin’.
Can you tell a tale from one of your wildest nights out?
I used to be a waiter in L.A., and the whole staff used to go after it a bit. One night, one of the other waiters was taking care of a table that invited him out to a party, and of course, I rolled with him. We ended up at this party on PCH at a huge house. We were in the owner’s office having a drink while Snoop Dogg’s photographer was rolling a joint. As I’m talking, I saw there was a picture of the kid who I’m talking to and President Clinton. I never did find out who the kid was. Either way, we watched the sun come up while the moon went down.
When you have time, what TV shows do you watch?
I’m an HBO junky. I love Boardwalk Empire, Game of Thrones and recently binge-watched The Jinx, which was awesome! I also like to support friends, so Undateable, Ground Floor, and Silicon Valley are staples. I still watch Seinfeld four times a day and may watch Vanderpump Rules from time to time.
Don’t miss Best Bars in America airing Wednesdays at 9/8c on Esquire Network (Ch. 235).