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First Impressions

Something's Brewing

January 29, 1988|RUTH REICHL

The waitress was standing at the next table, explaining how the beer is brewed. She pointed to the big metal tank behind the glass window, and gestured at the bar. "It comes right out of the tank into the tap," she said enthusiastically. She offered to bring the man a "taster pack" of the four different brews (they range from light beer to stout) made at City of Angels Brewing Co., 1445 4th St., Santa Monica, (213) 451-0096. Meanwhile, I watched, fascinated, while his companion tried to stuff the menu surreptitiously into her purse.

You should understand that this is no easy feat; the menu has a metal jacket. This, after all, is not just the first major brew pub in town. This spare, colorful, trendily designed space is a full-scale restaurant serving all-American food with style. During the day you can munch on spicy chicken wings, baby back ribs, oyster shooters or hefty hamburgers. At lunchtime the menu includes pasta salads, sandwiches and Scotch eggs. At dinner the offerings become heartier--pasta with tomatoes and sausage, whole smoked trout, beer-steamed clams, roast prime rib and the like.

Although the place is dedicated to beer, when I was there the crowd seemed more interested in drinking passion fruit iced tea than anything alcoholic. And, of course, in figuring out ways to steal the menu.

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