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LA Beer Vet Starts Exciting New Venture At Spoke Cafe

Jimmy Smith is a bit of a beer wizard, and after leading the beer program at The Glendale Tap for the past six years, he’s moving on to his next project: Spoke Nights, at Spoke Bicycle Cafe in Frogtown.

The new project, in partnership with Spoke co-owners Rich Latronica and Laurie Winston, will debut on Thursday, May 5, with an impressive tap list and a burger pop-up from Yellow Paper Burger, a viral sensation that makes excellent smashburgers.

Some of California’s hardest-to-find beer will be on draft for the opening, including Sante Adairius Rustic Ales (Capitola), Alvarado Street Brewing (Salinas), and North Park Beer Co. (San Diego). It will also feature a couple of LA’s best breweries: Highland Park Brewing, and Homage Brewing.

After leading The Glendale Tap’s transformation from neighborhood bar to nationally-recognized beer showcase, Smith is ready for a new venture.

“My goal is to continue – and expand – on what I’ve done at The Glendale Tap for the past six years, and make it a true haven for lovers of the best of the best in independent craft beer and food,” Smith said. “I’ll have carte blanche in curating the full beer list and the food program for the evenings, pairing my favorite breweries from around CA and the country with some of the best food pop-ups and mobile chefs in the Los Angeles area.”

In addition to beer buying, Smith had previously led Glendale Tap’s impressive foray into food pop-ups, especially after the pandemic hit, and most dining was moved outdoors. Kuya Lord, a Filipino pop-up with immense local acclaim that is now opening an East Hollywood storefront, Metztli Taqueria, a high-end taco spot started by two former Jean-Georges chefs, and Love Hour, a burger pop-up that has gained viral popularity in the past few years, all made early recurring stints under Smith’s leadership.

Spoke Bicycle Cafe had previously been open for evenings before 2020, but has primarily been operating as a daytime-only breakfast and lunch spot. They have a large patio with lots of picnic tables and booth seating, and a location right on the LA River Bike Path in Frogtown.

Spoke Nights will run every Thursday-Sunday starting this week. Upcoming food vendors will include pop-ups AGL Craft Meats, Metztli Taqueria, Quarantine Pizza Co., and Spoke’s own kitchen, known for excellent burgers and an impressive beet veggie burger. Other early highlights include a Texas-themed night on Saturday, May 7, with BBQ, kolaches, and Austin-based brewery Jester King.

Follow along on Smith’s beer and food Instagram for future updates.

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