“Hey man, how come it says ‘drought’ list?” – was the question Mo’s friend asked when he saw “DRAUGHT LIST” atop a tap menu at a local bar some years ago. That’s what sparked it all.
Mo and his wife Kelly were high school sweethearts that met at a Nationals game. Mo’s sister lived in Marina Del Rey and during a college break, they decided to visit and fell in love with LA. Like visiting twice in 2 months in love. Mo proposed to Kelly next to the Venice boardwalk and he swears a sea lion was clapping.
They finished college, got married, and 6 months later they sold everything they had on the East Coast and moved to the West Side.
Mo fell in love with the businesses in Santa Monica, and the homey dive The Daily Pint gave him a masters degree in craft beer with their masterfully tailored tap list. And though he was working as a business consultant, Mo dreamed of opening up a business of his own; one where you could order amazing craft beer and amazing craft tater tots (we can vouch for the beer…. and the tots.) The type of place that him and Kelly would frequent in NoVa, back when Mo was still cutting his teeth. And when the head brewer at Adroit Theory gives you one of your first craft beers, we imagine it’s hard not to catch the bug.
So when there was an opportunity that seemed more than perfect, Mo had to bite. Unfortunately, he didn’t know that a one-in-a-lifetime pandemic was around the corner.
A beloved Westside Eagles bar and restaurant named Burgers & Brews decided to close up shop and Mo had everything ready to go – the LLC, the website, the social media. All that was left was to find the perfect spot, and this Santa Monica favorite right off Lincoln and Marine seemed like kismet. The infrastructure was there, a full kitchen and bar, and even a grandfathered-in license to sell bottles and cans to-go – notoriously difficult to achieve in Santa Monica. They drew up papers, hired some of the previous staff, made signage, and bought the keys to the place in December of 2019.
And then… well you know where this goes.
The pandemic was a blessing in disguise for the business though – obviously not ideal, but when everyone was stuck in their homes, they started walking around the neighborhood. Neighbors started to notice a new addition in the form of Mo and Kelly taking shifts holding cans outside of LA Draught’s corner booth windows yelling “You can get beer here!” to whoever could hear them on Lincoln Boulevard.
And slowly but surely, things like that worked. They started using the kitchen to cook food for shelters, and decided to also pivot into a COVID to-go menu, cans included. Mo left his job for good and continued building up LA Draught in the spirit of his favorite East Coast haunts; built on community, great local beers, fantastic food, and something for everybody. They started heavily utilizing their 15 taps, 55 beer fridge, and 90 beer cellar to highlight California beer. They sponsored a local pre-school Turkey Trot, began to host local musicians, and earned compliments from “you’re my favorite sports bar” to “I love your bottle shop!”. And unsurprisingly, given Mo’s infectious charm, he developed friendships with his beer reps, hosted private events for them, and even started hosting an unofficial beer share with industry folk. A lot of hard work and trial and error have helped LA Draught arrive at the spot he dreamed of – not just a bar, not just a bottle shop, not just a restaurant – it’s a loving in-between.
So what’s next? Well LA Draught just made their first collaboration brew with Indie Brewing, a Lakers dedicated beer. And it’s the first of many collaborations on the way. They’re continuing to host weekly tap takeovers breweries that are harder to land in LA like 8-Bit, Stave & Nail, and There Does Not Exist. They’re sponsoring a local softball team. And most importantly, Mo and Kelly are showing that LA Draught hopes to be a part of the community for years to come. And these Santa Monica cats are here for the mission – we hope you’ll join us!