Imbibe Magazine: Beer Bar Of The Year
In a few short years, Los Angeles has become a bonafied beer town, and Little Bear is the crown jewel of the city's suds scene. The beautiful, light-filled, Belgian-focused veed cafe brought serious beer to downtown L.A. last year, courtesy of local beerpreneur Ryan Sweeney and partner-chef Andre Guerrero... The Extensive and ever-changing selection of Belgian and Belgian-inspired brews reads like a beer lover's fantasy, and Sweeney has a lot of local grewing talent to draw from, too...
America’s 100 best beer bars: 2013
This Arts District spot gets points for style (Old World urban with a fresh coat of paint), but even more for its simply sick collection of always-changing Belgian and Belgian-inspired brews—think imported Caracole Saxo, Blind Ambition Belgian-style brown from nearby it-brewery Ladyface, and Brainless Corruption, a Belgo IPA collaboration from Salt Lake City’s Epic and the capital’s DC Brau.
Best Belgian Beer Bar 2012
In a region where hoppy beers reign, an establishment exclusive to Belgian beer and food is a welcome change. Distinguished yet casual, Little Bear fits in comfortably on Industrial Street in the Warehouse District downtown.
At the base of the looming lofts converted from toy factories, the spot's iconic red door opens to reveal a bright and airy interior. The well-appointed beer list offers a broad selection, from quality locals to rare imports, which change frequently. (It also alerts you to which kegs are on deck for tapping, which is an ingenious strategy to bring you in next week.) Plus, a dedicated list of sour beers will seduce any connoisseur. The fare is traditional Belgian meets modern American. Carbonnade de Flamande is perfectly at home next to a short-rib grilled cheese, and it's all the work of Ryan Sweeney (Surly Goat, Verdugo) and Andre Guerrero (Oinkster). Not long after you sit down, those IPAs you're used to beginning to seem like childish younger cousins, eager to be as sophisticated as their worldly European kin.
— Erika Bolden
Little Bear Awakens in Downtown Tomorrow
Oinkster and Maximiliano owner Andre Guerrero confirms that he’s opening the doors to his and Ryan Sweeney’s Little Bear tomorrow afternoon in Downtown, bringing the Belgian-and-U.S. bar-influenced menu we showed you last week to Industrial Street. The restaurant, which promises a “mind-blowing” beer selection takes over the former Royal Clayton’s space with a bigger, brighter new look.
— Hadley Tomicki
In Bruges, Envisioning Belgium through a Downtown L.A. prism
This Little Bear crossed the ocean. What began as a beer lovers' bar in the Belgian city of Bruges has now been replicated in our own Downtown Arts District. There, beer mavens Ryan Sweeney and Brandon Bradford (The Surly Goat, Verdugo Bar) teamed with chef Andre Guerrero (The Oinkster, Maximiliano) on the new bar and restaurant located at the base of the Toy Factory Lofts.
The space features a high ceiling, both canary-yellow and concrete walls, and a serpentine bar painted with hop leaves. Sitting at that bar, you'll have your choice of beers sourced from the Belgian motherland, plus Belgian-inspired American breweries like Russian River and The Bruery. To accompany your beer, Guerrero has assembled L.A.'s most comprehensive menu of Belgian dishes...
— Willy Blackmore
Little Bear (Los Angeles, CA)
Hot on the heels of Govind Armstrong's Post & Beam is another new opening for 2012: Little Bear, a new Belgian-esque bar and beer cafe in Downtown, situated in the former space of Royal Clayton's, right across the street from Church & State. The bar/restaurant is the work of longstanding LA chef Andre Guerrero and Ryan Sweeney (The Surly Goat, Verdugo Bar), and debuted just past the New Year on January 6th...
About the Chef: Guerrero was born in Quezon City, Philippines, one of 10 children of Liwayway and Ruben Guerrero. His grandfather came from Lyon, France, and served as the Philippines' first French consul general, thus exposing Guerrero to the consul's bevy of French and Chinese chefs at a young age. However, his family ended up moving to the US when he was six, settling in the Glassell Park neighborhood of Los Angeles. Here, under the tutelage of his parents, both of whom were great cooks (with his father specializing in pastry), Guerrero further solidified his passion for food and dining...
— Willy Blackmore
A lesson in Belgian beers with Little Bear’s Ryan Sweeney
It’s been a goal for Ryan Sweeney to open up a Belgian beer bar since he first visited the country years back. Last Friday, Little Bear opened its doors in downtown Los Angeles. A concept created by the Oinkster and Maximiliano’s Andre Guerrero and Verdugo Bar and Surly Goat’s Ryan Sweeney showcasing Belgian food and beers. After spending an afternoon with Ryan as he finalized the logistics of opening night, we learned a few facts about Belgian beers and its culture. Andre and Ryan have been planning to work together for a long time. “Andre got this space, and he called me up.
This building was the right thing.” Ryan tells us. He wanted a space good for day time drinking, “they have wide open windows in Belgium beer cafes. People would pull their chairs outside and just drink when there’s good weather.” The space feels relaxed, and more like a coffee shop than a bar. “It’s not a club, it’s somewhere between a very casual restaurant and a bar. It’s almost bohemian.”...
— Stan Lee
Open Tonight, Little Bear Offers A Lot to Downtowners
Little Bear, Ryan Sweeney and Andre Guerrero's Belgian-style pub opens in just a few hours. Inside, as promised, find lots of hand-carved wood, a long, curved bar with gilded beer names painted on the trim, and a bar menu with rotating taps. Belgian brews hold court here. Eats include gougeres, moules-frites, sausages and Waterzooi, all priced under $20. Based on comments, and curious eyes on that corner, the neighborhood is about to welcome Little Bear with open arms.
— Daniela Galarza
Downtown's New Belgian Beer Hall
Current condition of the EU: medium to shaky. Current condition of beer coming from the EU’s founding member: strong as ever. Also: newly plentiful Downtown.
Welcome to Little Bear, a vast Belgian hall of obscure beers and grilled cheese stuffed with bacon, now open on Industrial Street. You’ll recognize this as the former home of Royal Clayton’s—exposed pipes, a front wall of windows, a preference for artsy European loft-dwellers—but it’s lighter. Brighter. And much, much beer-ier. (It’s brought to you by the guys behind the Oinkster and that hallowed beer cavern the Surly Goat.)
So yeah, come here with a bunch of friends, take over the communal table in the middle of the place and get to work on the list of rare brews from all over. Try the Bruery’s Wanderer (it’s an extremely sour ale) and some good rare stuff from Russian River.
Save room for some Belgian Owl—the only Belgian whiskey available stateside. In these environs, you’ll probably be hanging around long enough to get hungry. So you should know they’re serving Belgian classics here: Belgian fries, waterzooi (it’s chicken stew) and chocolate waffles. Oh, and plenty of grilled cheese, filled with everything from bacon to brisket to apples—may not be Belgian, but hey. It’s grilled and there’s cheese.
Los Angeles: Big Time Burgers at Little Bear
The folks responsible for Little Bear know what they're doing. The chef behind this new restaurant in Downtown LA's Toy Factory Lofts in the Arts District is the extremely talented Andre Guerrero. You've heard me wax on about his burgers at The Oinkster (which remains one of the great deals in town). This time Guerrero has brought along his charismatic sons Max and Fred and teamed with the restaurateurs and beer men Ryan Sweeney and Brandon Bradford (of Verdugo Bar and The Surly Goat). Between the multiple owners there are dozens of years of restaurant experience brought to Little Bear. The menu and soaring interior get their inspiration from a Belgian beer hall (in Bruges, of course). It might be the most attractive new space I've seen in the last year. So is there an equally appealing burger to in the Bruges-esque beer hall? I stopped in for brunch to answer that very question...
— Damon Gambuto