Bethany Cosentino is one half of Best Coast, a surf-rock duo based in Los Angeles, CA. Bethany and her band mate, Bobb Bruno, are gearing up for the release of their third album, California Nights, inspired by none other than their beloved west coast. As for Cosentino, she prefers her wine at home on the couch—if not at her favorite neighborhood bar in Eagle Rock, CA, sipping Moscow mules and watching the California sunset.
I spoke to Bethany about her favorite places to drink in LA, the inspiration for California Nights, and what she prefers to drink before a show to get what she calls a “mom buzz.”
Your new album, California Nights, is set to drop in May. Describe your perfect California night.
I love when it’s breezy out, but not too cold- like perfect for wearing a dress with a light jacket. I really enjoy going anywhere where I can sit outdoors and eat some delicious food with wine or a nice cocktail. It’s really nice to sit outside during “the golden hour” and watch the sun set while you sip a nice drink. My favorite California nights always end with me watching one of my favorite TV shows (Frasier, Seinfeld, The Simpsons) either on my couch or in bed with my cat drinking a white wine spritzer.
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When you’re not sitting at home with the cat, where do you go out?
There is a bar in Eagle Rock (the neighborhood Bobb and I live in) called Black Boar that we both love. We are friends with all the bartenders, so it’s sometimes dangerous for us when we go in there, but it’s always a good time. It’s really close to my house, so I can walk and just chill. I’d say one of my favorite date spots is this restaurant in Pasadena called Parkway Grill. It has really great, fresh, food. They have an amazing wine list and make their own barrel aged whiskey cocktails that are delicious. Any kind of upscale restaurant in Pasadena is actually amazing, but that is my favorite one. I am not a party girl at all, so I would say the best LA party is my house any night of the week–if you are into watching TV and drinking wine- which is my type of party.
When you’re out, what’s your favorite drink to order?
A Moscow mule- but it has to be with good vodka, like Grey Goose or Titos, and the ginger beer has to be really amazing–usually Fever Tree or Bundaberg–and it has to absolutely be served in a copper mug. Moscow mule’s are not the same if they don’t come in the copper mug. The bar near my house, Black Boar, makes an epic Moscow mule. I also love dirty martinis with Grey Goose- I pretty much always order a martini with dinner- it’s like, the classiest drink I could ever think of.
What’s on Best Coast’s tour rider?
Bobb is a big whiskey guy, and his favorite bourbon of all time is Jim Beam, so we always get that for him. I used to have Grey Goose on the rider, because I love vodka sodas with lemon, but I’ve been trying to take a bit of a break from hard liquor while on the job, so now I just get a bottle of Pinot Grigio, and have some spritzers to get a little “mom buzz” going before our sets. We also get some Corona Lights, La Croix, and orange juice. The food stuff is pretty standard “rider food”- chips and salsa, hummus and pita, sliced organic turkey, some cheeses, and organic fruits. I think I added Goldfish crackers a few months ago, but I’m going to need to take those off since I’m trying to be healthier this year while we tour!
I totally hear that! But when you release this new album, there will obviously be shots at the party, what brand of whiskey (and/or, whatever you like to take shots of) are you drinking and what are you listening to?
We are both actually fans of really “gross” shots- like the sugary, nasty kind. I don’t take a ton of shots, but when I do, I will usually venture off into the world of those weird shots that for sure are just meant to give you a raging hangover. I would say for this record, I would want to do something tequila based, like maybe a spicy tequila lime shot? I’d for sure want to listen to a ton of Oasis, The Eagles, Lush, The Jesus and Mary Chain, and then I’d like to end the night off with “It Ain’t Over Til It’s Over” by Lenny Kravitz. No joke.
California Nights has a real dreamy feel to it–imagery and all. Who were your biggest musical influences for this record?
It’s funny because I think with all of our other records we have had some really obvious musical influences, or influences that we talked a lot about prior to making this record, but on this record we didn’t really do that. We approached each song as we were making it, and felt out what stuff was the most inspiring to us. When I wrote “California Nights,” the title track, I was most inspired by Led Zeppelin and The Stone Roses. I know Bobb was influenced by Gwen Stefani and The Primitives for one song. We tackled each song in a different way, and did what felt natural to us- so some of the influences that popped up were really random ones. For sure a lot of like alternative 90s music was very inspirational to us, sonically, including Dinosaur Jr, Oasis, My Bloody Valentine, Lush, The Sundays and Nirvana. Even stuff like The Go-Go’s, The Bangles and The Misfits were influences for some songs. It was just a lot less thought out this time around, which I think in the end worked out really well for us.
Best neighborhoods in LA for people watching/drinking?
Eagle Rock is by far my favorite neighborhood in LA because it’s where I live and where I hang out most. I really don’t go out a ton when I’m home in LA because I enjoy spending time at home, or around my home. There is a ton of stuff to do around my neighborhood- really great restaurants and cafes. There is a really great restaurant up the street from me called Little Beast and they have an amazing menu and wine list. If you want to see the biggest freaks, Hollywood would be your place.. If you are more into chilling, Eagle Rock/Highland Park/Pasadena/South Pasadena is the vibe for you. Check out Sonny’s Hideaway and Maximiliano in Highland Park and Crossings in South Pasadena for really good food and cocktails.
Jillian Scheinfeld is a writer and interviewer living in Brooklyn. By day she’s a publicist for a nonprofit and by night you can catch her at a concert or practicing yoga. See past work here and follow her tweets @jillianschein