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Thunderbolt only opened earlier this year, but it already feels like a lived-in neighborhood bar. Located next to Park’s Finest in Echo Park, its low-lit leather couches, dark green walls, and speakers playing Jay-Z (like old, The Blueprint Jay-Z), make it ideal for everything from a first date to the monthly book club you’ve tried to start no less than four times. The menu is a mixed bag of hit-or-miss Southern-ish bar snacks like buttermilk biscuits and pork belly burnt ends, so you’re better off eating next door. You’re here for the drinks - which exist in that dangerous, highly coveted Venn diagram of very strong but still genuinely tasty. Our favorites are the La Frutera, with tequila, mango, and tamarind (order it spicy), and the Tropipop, which is sweet and tropical like a piña colada, but filled with so much rum you’ll forget that you’re not actually on vacation. But pretty much everything here pairs well with a discussion about hypothetically starting Sapiens with your friends from college.

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