Bar for Course

Bi-Plane Optional, Pants Required: Enjoying Aged Agave at the Bel Air Country Club

Each Los Angeles club seems to have a reputation that precedes it—or at the very least, rides alongside it in a Benz like an over-protective publicist. And most have at least some connection with the crème de la crème of La-La-Land. When it comes to classic Hollywood chops, though, you know, movie star chops, it’s tough to out-do the Bel-Air Country Club. Cripes, Howard Hughes once landed his airplane on the 14th fairway to impress Katharine Hepburn, who was in the middle of a golf lesson, and who knows how many times Jack Nicholson did god-knows-what with you-know-who back among the canyons. But one of the main attractions, other than celebrity-sightings and bi-plane landings, is the famous white “swinging bridge”—a charming little bit of architecture best enjoyed among friends, and with a glass of Reserva de La Familia tequila nestled coolly in one’s hand. Which works pretty well, given the city’s rich, pre-Taco Bell colonial history and the course’s classic SoCal landscape.

But do be careful with the tequila. Jose Cuervo’s Reserva de La Familia is easy-drinking, to say the least. Aged in French oak barrels, the stuff is extra-añjeo, which is to say “smoother than the gams on Dolores Del Rio.” Seductive, you could call it. A few too many, and you might want to take your pants off. Which is strictly forbidden by the club’s famous “pants only” rule. Unless you’re Jack Nicholson. In which case pants have been optional for a very long time. Or Howard Hughes. Who was so rich, he could pretty much crash-land planes in nothing but pajamas.

Ah. The good old days.