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.
1746 N Spring St., Chinatown
Apotheke is nearly impossible to find—though not for long given that David Chang’s Majordomo is next door. It’s on a slip of Spring Street that’s…not quite Chinatown…not quite DTLA. The interior of the bar, with its low rosy lighting, blush banquettes, leather armchairs, and pretty tile is reminiscent of a French boudoir; that is to say that while so many bars feel inherently masculine, this one skews feminine. The outdoor patio is just as comfortable, with Turkish rugs scattered over the deck, big sofas to sink into, and plenty of space heaters. The beauty of the off-the-grid location is its size: you can sit outside and stargaze, never experiencing the claustrophobia so prevalent in other LA bars. The drinks are more like elixirs spiked with alcohol and divided into “aphrodisiacs,” “health & beauty,” and “painkillers.”
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.
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.
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.
Break Room 86
630 S. Ardmore Ave., Koreatown
This 80s-themed club behind the Line Hotel is entered through an alleyway on Ardmore, on the west side of the building. Once you pass the bouncer, you'll be taken through the back halls of the hotel and through a false refrigerator door into the actual bar. The private rooms play karaoke, and there's a burlesque show every hour where dancers do a Michael Jackson routine in their Calvin Kleins; it's the kind of place you go for a long night of dancing.
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.
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.
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