Travel

Los Angeles Bars & Nightlife

Establishment neighborhood
Bar Caló
1498 Sunset Blvd., Echo Park
The most coveted seats inside this small, dim tequila bar are on the wraparound velvet couch, and if you can snag it, by all means do. On the weekends especially, Bar Caló gets crowded with Eastsiders who come for the mezcal and stay for the food. Everything on the menu is meant to be shared, like the Oaxacan hot chicken, roasted garlic guacamole, or a quesadilla with queso fresco and mezcal salsa. The cocktails are all impressive, the food is authentic, and in the summer when the patio is lively and bustling, the whole place hums with a good time.
Tabula Rasa
5125 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood
It’s not often a neighborhood bar checks off everything you want in a neighborhood bar. But Tabula Rasa does exactly that (if you’re lucky enough to live in the neighborhood). Far from a blank slate, Tabula Rasa is a friendly wine bar with a fantastic wine list (a mix of both natural wines and classics) and rotating roster of food pop-ups—whether it’s wood-fired pizza or lobster rolls or Japanese fried chicken—all served on the patio. The owners are Bestia alums, so it’s no surprise that the food and wine here are as good as it gets.
Good Housekeeping
5635 N Figueroa St., Highland Park
Nestled on a hill on the Eastern fringes of Los Angeles, Good Housekeeping is the kind of local bar (hidden behind the excellent Café Birdie) down the main Figueroa drag you always wish you lived closer to. It’s impossibly cool. The tiny Pueblo-style outdoor sun-trap—all smooth terra-cotta walls, red tile, and cushioned seats to curl up in with that umpteenth glass of cold Chenin Blanc—is dreamy in the evening. The booze list is short and confident. The Nature Baby—a muddle of tequila, sage, orange bitters, ginger, and tonic—erases all memory of the traffic it may have taken to get here.
The Normandie Club
3612 W. 6th St., Koreatown
If you're looking for a bar to impress visiting friends, you have now found it. The space is as classy and refined as it is cool—dark leather chairs, painted brick, and low lighting. The drinks are, in a word: impressive. The mixologists at the Normandie Club have invented house specialties that all put a unique spin on a classic: a daiquiri with a salted-grapefruit cordial, an old-fashioned with coconut bourbon. Our favorite is the shandy: a crisp lager elevated with Suze, blueberry mint syrup, and a squeeze of lemon. The drink is crisp, refreshing, and sweet without being cloying. There's also a generous selection of global liquors, including brandy, Irish whiskey, Japanese whisky, mezcal, tequila, and cider on tap. Given there's no food, this is a perfect spot for a nightcap after dinner.
HMS Bounty
3357 Wilshire Blvd., Koreatown
Everything about this place speaks of comfort: the friendly, loyal servers; the kitschy, nautical vibe; the jazz jukebox in the corner; and the complete lack of pretense. The Bounty is a classic, dark, dive-y LA landmark that's endured despite K-town’s hipster invasion—and the prices have stayed relatively low. We don't come here for the food (although the fish and chips is solid); we come for the generous, consistent drinks. There's comfort in knowing that it's always the same every time we come. But you know what else is consistent? How far away the bathrooms are (which is: in the adjacent historic hotel, past the lobby desk, down the dark basement stairs, and next to the laundry room).
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