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Automatic for the People

Food & Drink

Wine bar meets the snack food machine in new downtown drinking spot.

Beginning in the early 1900s with the first opening in Philadelphia, the automat craze swept the country as busy folk clamored for quick coin-op eats on the go. The rise of fast food joints in the ’50s spelled the automat’s demise, but the concept lives on in many a retro-futurist’s noggin. Tapping into that – in more ways than one – is Swill Automatic, the latest addition to downtown L.A.’s drinking scene. The main feature of the clean, white, concrete-floored space is a bank of wine-dispensing machines that operate via prepaid cards, serving up a glassful at a time from over 70 delectable bottles from around the globe, effectively cutting out the middleman and delivering your vino with more vitesse. You don’t have to drink alone, however; the joint also has a decent menu of tasty victuals to be washed down. Filling a much-needed niche in the neighborhood, Swill also does double duty with morning coffee, early breakfast and brunch on weekends. Whether you choose to hit the wine-o-mat again in the morning is entirely up to you.