California Bars & Nightlife
Bars & Nightlife city
Hotel Vitale, 8 Mission St., Financial District
With its central location along the Embarcadero in the Financial District, Americano is an easy spot for drinks after work. Their patio, where they often have live music, has a wide view of the bay, anchored by the Ferry Building on the left and the Bay Bridge on the right. The happy hour menu is blessedly simple, offering a cocktail, a wine, a beer, and a snack in their signature farm-to-table Italian style.
1205 Main St., St. Helena
Sometimes the best way to get a taste of the local scene (especially in a tourist-centric place like St. Helena) is to seek out the busiest hometown dive. We think it's fun just to belly up to the bar and chat with the regulars, but Ana's also has a pool table, a jukebox, and performances by local bands to mix things up a bit.
Angel City Brewery
216 S. Alameda St., Downtown
There are now a number of quality craft beer spots and breweries in LA, but Angel City Brewery remains a favorite. Located in the historic John A. Roebling Building in the Arts District, Angel City is a great casual spot to gather with friends for day-into-night beers. The brewery hosts a number of regular events, like Tacos & Trivia Tuesday, and is a popular host to a range of fun food trucks, although you can bring your own food with you, too. You can go on a public tour of the brewery Thursday through Sunday, and there are also a few different options for private events, including a large beer hall (capacity: 200) that is perpendicular to the brew house. The brewery always has several Angel City styles on tap, some of which you can find in other bars and shops around California and Nevada.
340 N. Palm Canyon Dr., Movie Colony
At a little over two years old, Bar (yes, it’s really a bar called Bar) is one of the newer, hipper watering holes in downtown Palm Springs. The vibe is more on par with a Silver Lake dive than a dessert oasis, though the backyard takes full advantage of mild temps and killer sunsets. There’s a modest but totally respectable small bites menu (deviled eggs, wings, and various pizza options) that goes perfectly with the lengthy whiskey, beer, and craft cocktail menu. They’re also really good about organizing comedy nights, burlesque shows, and live music.
355 11th St., SoMa
The first thing you'll notice about Bar Agricole is their spacious, light-filled building—it's a historic warehouse re-purposed to LEED-certified standards specifically for the restaurant. In the outdoor space, you can sit in booths with your back to raised herb gardens—or, inside, you can sit inside on chairs made with wood from reclaimed wine barrels. The scene here is great any time of day, but it gets especially lively during weekend brunch (their boozy breakfast drinks, like the Radler and the Sangrita, are a strong draw).
2150 Sunset Blvd., Echo Park
Judging by the droves of locals who come out to newly opened Bar Bandini on a nightly basis, the dimly lit, refreshingly under-designed spot met a very obvious need for a chill, but just romantic enough, neighborhood watering hole. The owners earned their stripes working in the food industry in both NYC and LA, and wanted to focus on all-natural and organic wines, which they source almost exclusively in-state and serve on tap (the craft beer selection is also worth exploring). It's all supported by a menu of bar snacks (the Sicilian olives are bomb) and small plates of cured meats and local cheeses.
3910 Sunset Blvd., Silver Lake
Bar Keeper stocks only small batch liquors in a beautifully appointed storefront in Silver Lake. In addition to finding everything you might need to set up a top-notch bar (they're so good that they do drink set consulting for HBO's Mad Men and supply many of LA's finer cocktail bars like The Varnish), they have a staff mixologist that can come to your home and mix for you and your friends. The experience is meant to be hands-on, getting everyone involved in the process.
7702 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood
Look for the red neon nights on the outside of this red-heavy Russian vodka bar. Excellent cocktails are served at tables in the front, while dancing happens in the back.
424 Octavia at Fell, Hayes Valley
This lovely beer garden is exactly the kind of place you want to come for drinks after work on a sunny day (their patio is huge). Food-wise, there's a nice selection of snacks like pickles and pretzels, plus some more filling options, including several types of sausage and sandwiches served in pretzel knot buns. The list of beers is excellent, and expertly curated down to a few great options–easing any sense of menu overwhelm. If you're still unsure, try a Radler: A mixture of beer and sparkling lemon soda that's pleasingly light and summery.
1101 N. Palm Canyon Dr., Movie Colony
Brainchild of Jaime Kowal and Chris Pardo (the dynamic duo behind neighboring Ernest Coffee), Bootlegger Tiki—with its totem poles, novelty lighting, and various pictures of topless ladies on the walls—is the epitome of a kitschy tiki bar. Best part: happy hour is a daily occurrence here, meaning the elaborate rum-centric concoctions (Mai Tai, Daiquiri, Blue Hawaii, and more) can be enjoyed at deep discounts from 4 to 6.
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