Los Angeles Bars & Nightlife
Bars & Nightlife neighborhood
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.
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.
217 Broadway, Santa Monica
We love the choose-your-own-cocktail method practiced here: Pick your spirit, a fruit or veggie, and some herbs, and resident mixologist Vincenzo Marianella will whip you up a delicious cocktail. They also have some pretty rad signature drinks if you'd rather not work for it, and the $5 price tag during happy hour is inarguably awesome.
Covell Wine Bar
4628 Hollywood Blvd., Los Feliz
With walls lined in vintage cameras, keys, and other antiques, the old-fashioned vibe here is complemented by the service, which aims to guide you to your wine soul-mate.
Duke’s Barefoot Bar
21150 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu
As a restaurant, this waterfront staple is more about location than cuisine (Taco Tuesday is the day to visit if you’re looking to hunker down for a meal, though); it’s the tiki-themed Barefoot Bar that’s the biggest hit. The drinks are fun—Mai Tai, mojitos, margaritas—especially during pau hana (that’s happy hour in Hawaiian) as is the food: sliders, wings, and naturally, fish in every shape and form. On Friday nights, much to the delight of its littlest patrons, they have hula dancers and music.
1805 W. Sunset Blvd., Echo Park
This place attracts a local crowd of stylish Echo Parkers with its woodsy/design-y interior, great music, and well-curated selection of beer and wine. It's a bit small, but we actually like that it's snug, while the location makes it ideal for a pre- or post-Echoplex drink.
Esters Wine Shop & Bar
1314 7th St., Santa Monica
Historically, LA hasn’t been known for wine bars, but a recent surge of wine-centric openings, including Cassia’s sister spot Esters, is changing all that. Being that it’s a partnership between Josh Loeb and Zoe Nathan (Huckleberry, Milo & Olive, Rustic Canyon) and longtime collaborator and wine expert, Kathryn Coker, the highly curated booze offering is supported by an elegant menu of charcuterie, local and imported cheese, and more substantial dishes like grilled cheese and avocado toast. And as gorgeous as the interior of the Deco building that houses it may be, the best seats in the house are on the outdoor patio. The tiny on-site market is hostess/birthday/thank you gift heaven.
1159 N. Western Ave., Hollywood
At this Cuban rum bar, you walk through a fake closet into a cool, bi-level speakeasy. Even if you wouldn't normally order it, rum is the best choice here as they have many small-batch, esoteric varities, which are great on their own or mixed into one of the very well-made cocktails (complete with hand-carved ice). Be warned that this is one of the few places in LA that's still cigar-friendly. There's great music that you'll want to move to, including salsa and live jazz.
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