Rustic, roomy and always ready to host a good time, The Woodman in Sherman Oaks might just be our new favorite hangout.
The casual gastropub, which opened in 2014, features a large floor plan, sidewalk patio and cool roadhouse elements, including wood walls and tables, red French doors and chairs made from tree stumps. You can also spot ladders, farm tools, buckets and barrels around the bar that totally add to its casual country vibe.
“It’s a real neighborhood spot, kind of like ‘Cheers’, where everybody knows your name,” says manager John Adana. “We have a ton of regulars so we like to make sure everyone feels welcomed.”
At its core, The Woodman is a whiskey bar, boasting 75 unique kinds ranging from Kentucky bourbons, to exotic Scotches to trendy Japanese styles. There is also a list of specialty cocktails that are carefully curated and changed up every season.
“Since this is a whiskey-based bar, the menu includes more basic style drinks; nothing too foo-foo,” says bar manager Anjelino Chabrieay. “Our guests want more of straight forward kinds of cocktails that take too much time that don’t have too many ingredients. Our cocktails are mostly classics with a twist.”
Whiskey-based cocktails are, of course, some of the most frequently ordered. The Campfire Punch includes whiskey, bitters, a smoked orange peel and a splash of water, while the Dublin Donkey is made simply with Irish whiskey, lime juice and ginger beer. The Wild Buffalo is another dark drink that ties perfectly into The Woodman’s vibe, created with bourbon, Campari and Carpano Antica.
“The Berries Bliss is one of the most popular cocktails,” says Chabrieay. “It’s a 1940’s style cocktail, similar to a whiskey smash, but made with bourbon, raspberries, mint, lemon juice and Chambord.”
Even if whiskey isn’t your thing, you still have plenty of options. Order the uber-popular Cucumber Cooler, a take on the classic Pimm’s Cup, featuring vodka, Pimm’s #1, cucumber, lemon juice, mint and ginger beer. Or if you want a little kick, go for The Fire Wood made with tequila, lime juice, organic agave, jalapenos, cucumber, and mint.
“All our cocktails are malleable,” says Chabrieay. “If someone wants something a little stronger, or sweeter, or wants to change something that’s gin-based to vodka, I can adjust it to make it.”
The Woodman also has a solid wine list and a popular rotating selection of draft beer, including local favorites Golden Road Wolf Pup IPA and Saint Archer Blonde.
You’ll definitely want to come hungry, as the menu is loaded with classic comfort foods with a twist. Order the Sweet Brussel Spouts (probably the best we have ever tried in L.A.) made with sage brown butter, cranberries and walnuts, followed by the French Chicken Bake which is a baked cheese French roll shell stuffed with chicken, bacon, more cheese and French bread cubes, served very hot on a pile of shoestring fries.
The diverse menu also features Hawaiian Poke Cones, Grilled Corn Shrimp Tacos, Cheesy Fried Macaroni Balls and Chicken Biscuit Sliders. If you’re with a group of three to four, feast on The Great Woodman Meatball made with round wagyu beef, sweet Italian sausage, diced currant raisins, mozzarella cheese, and Italian spices rolled in crispy crushed bacon and served piping hot in chunky tomato sauce, topped with ricotta cheese.
The Woodman also serves up brunch on the weekends. If you’re craving a traditional breakfast, you can’t go wrong with the Fresh Berries French Toast. If you’re more the “unch” side, order up the Whiskey Peach BBQ Sandwich.
In addition to its generous happy hour every day from 4:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. offering $4 wines, well drinks and select craft cocktails, The Woodman hosts Monday Trivia and Winey Art painting parties every Wednesday. Plus, with seven flat-screen televisions (not to mention NFL ticket), there’s no better place to watch the big game or fight match up.
“Whether it’s your first time here or your 100th, we want you to have a good experience,” says Adana.
The Woodman details
13615 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks, 818-386-9401
Hours: Monday – Friday 4:30 p.m. to 2 a.m., Saturday – Sunday 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.