8 Juice Bars in L.A.: An Annotated Guide to a Trend

Photo: Tracy Benjamin/Flickr/Creative Commons License 

These days, there's juice, and then there's juice. That stuff you get in the carton at the grocery store? It's so 2010. Now, anyone who's anyone is juicing, a verb that has taken on exceptional versatility by standing for the process of making juice as well as the process of drinking it. Your carton of OJ might as well be a pack of Marlboros to the juicing crowd, who will point out its high concentration of sugar as well as its lack of nutrients. A bottle of freshly prepared juice from the right purveyor, on the other hand, isn't just a healthy choice -- it's also a fashion statement.

Where are all the beautiful people getting their juice these days? And can juicing really confer upon one any of the benefits claimed by its adherents, ranging from better skin to a hotter body to higher energy to improved digestion? Finally, is there a relationship between the eye-poppingness of juices' prices and their relative effectiveness, or are we all victims of a cold-pressed conspiracy? Herewith, a modest attempt at an investigation.

Charging eight bucks a pop for its smallest serving size, Clover is one of the city's most expensive juiceries -- but the jury's out on why. Offering limited information about how their fruits and veggies are sourced, they turn off hardcore cleansers who want to be sure what they're getting is pesticide- and GMO-free. For those who are just in it for juice, some of their offerings are more successful than others, but the staff's attitude can be a downer. Cleanses that allegedly "hit the reset button on your body" are $70 for a day and must be picked up in person.

Earthbar is juicing for the serious-minded (or seriously gullible, depending on your perspective). They claim their juices are "science-based and tested" and are not just adequate food, but "food as medicine"; they even have a "clinic" in WeHo whose principle aim seems to be scaring the bejesus out of people by evaluating them for food sensitivities and signs of aging. After you've learned about how everything is wrong with you, you can cure yourself with a detox cleanse for just $65. (On a less cynical note, the smoothies are great.)


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Glow Bio
If you're just in this thing to spot famous people -- and really, who isn't? -- then Glow Bio on Melrose is the place to go. Owner Kimberly Snyder is a beauty expert and nutritionist who counts Drew Barrymore, Leslie Mann, and Reese Witherspoon among her celebrity devotees. This is juice for the vain, promising "a more svelte and toned physique and glowing, radiant skin." Weirdly, however, the trademark Glowing Green smoothie is made in big batches, so there's no guarantee the elixir you're buying to freshen your complexion will actually be fresh.

Some juiceries' blends promise energy or relaxation or strength. Kreation promises Harmony, Bliss and Unity, among other states of being. That's Venice for you. Its "Kleanses" (really), in addition to the obligatory detox -- in case you didn't know, you are very toxic -- include Reboot, Grounding, and Flourish. Don't think you can get any of those effects in a single day, though; at Kreation, Kleanses come in three-, five- or seven-day increments. Pro tip: you might want some extra Harmony to go after dealing with the service, which is disorganized at best.

Moon Juice
Moon Juice is the current A-list juicery (which, of course, means that the real A-list are getting their juice somewhere even more exclusive, such as the trunk of a car in a Venice parking lot). Every ingredient is organic, unpasteurized and raw -- which surprisingly few juice joints can guarantee -- and the cleanses are delivered with eight juices a day instead of the customary six, which, hey, if all you're subsisting on is juice, it's probably good to have a lot of it. Its founder previously gigged at Lucques and Canele, so it is perhaps to be expected that its concoctions are unanimously beloved for their tastiness. Needless to say, they're expensive.

Pressed Juicery
Pressed may be the juicery that started it all, having established early on the "one-off bottles plus pricey cleanses" business model. Its cleanses promise not only to rejuvenate your digestive system, but also to make you "clearer," in case opacity is something you struggle with. While the juices get high marks for taste, they are also watered-down compared to some competitors' offerings, which may explain why they leave cleanse customers feeling malnourished. When you're not meeting the satiety expectations of people who believe juice is a reasonable substitute for food, you've got a problem.

Silver Lake Juice Bar
Most juiceries -- wisely -- advertise results that are hard to prove or disprove. It's not like you can check your own colon to see if it's been cleansed, or test yourself for the vague yet looming "toxicity" with which we are apparently all struggling. Silver Lake Juice Bar, on the other hand, goes right to the wall and claims its green juice blend reversed its owner's diabetes in three months. If that's true, then the $12 a pop for the eponymous Baba Ji will pay for itself in deferred medical bills; given the rep this place has for inconsistent quality and terrible service, though, we'll stick to consulting a doctor.

Sustain Juicery
Busy DTLA business types swear by the "wakeup!" juice shot at Sustain, which, at three bucks, is a more-than-viable alternative to a Starbucks latte. But customers know not to bother if they don't have some time to kill; Sustain's not known for sustaining an especially high service level. To wit, its cleanse -- they just have the one -- requires daily pickup, making it a reasonable option only for those who live or work downtown. Does it "add a new dimension to your life," as claimed? JPL may have a physicist capable of answering that question, but it's a little above our pay scale.

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