Block Party | Christopher Wormald
Food & Drink

The Best Bars for Celebrating Your Birthday in LA

Updated On 10/04/2017 at 04:04PM EST
Timothy Norris/Thrillist

Arts District Brewing Co.

Arts District

If the sheer size of this place doesn’t qualify it as a top-tier birthday spot, then the games certainly will. Between Skee-Ball, Jenga, and pinball, you’ll have no shortage of opportunities to get irritatingly competitive against your friends -- but what really makes ADB a crowd pleaser, though, is its full liquor cabinet. Games, beer, liquor; the place has something for everybody.

Harvard & Stone

Los Feliz

Houston Hospitality’s Thai Town spot hasn’t gotten any less great over the years. The only thing better than the live music, burlesque dancers hanging off the ceiling, and always changing R&D Bar (with cocktail themes that have ranged from Knocked Up to Hey Arnold! to Zelda)? The DJs, who constantly ignore the Top 40 you get everywhere else, and hook it up with sexy Motown and funk beats all night long, and the bands, which range from Neil Young cover bands to some of the best indie-rockers in LA.

Good Times at Davey Wayne’s

Good Times at Davey Wayne's

Hollywood

Speaking of HH joints that haven’t gotten any less great, Good Times at Davey Wayne’s is still rocking '70s flair at the living room-themed Hollywood bar. If you’re looking to make it a big day instead of a big night, Good Times is open in the afternoon on weekends for some killer food on its patio (which is also where you can grab those alcoholic sno-cones) -- which also means you don’t need to sweat the nighttime guest list.

Blue Goose Lounge

East Hollywood

If karaoke is the birthday you’re looking for, steer your crew to Blue Goose. It’s easy to miss, because the poorly lit sign just says “Cocktail Lounge,” but sneak around the side of the strip-mall to find the entrance. The comfy leather couches go quite nicely with the bar’s stiff pours, and for some reason this place never seems to fill up -- so it’s the perfect spot for you and your friends to completely dominate while you sing crooning versions of Alanis Morissette and David Bowie.

@bellamarieadams

Melrose Umbrella Co.

West Hollywood

Melrose Umbrella Co. also seems to have gotten the hint that a lot of people are over the days of the Top 40 DJ, because they blast throwback jams that people want to hear (who could ever get sick of the Isley Brothers?). Plus, the drinks are great (Try a Patterson’s Nap, with bourbon, tangerine, lemon, and Campari) and the clientele tend to look like supermodels, which means when you strike out on your birthday, you’re striking out large.

The Griffin

Atwater Village

The Griffin’s wide open center and dual bars are already the recipe for a great birthday, but if your big day happens to be on a Wednesday, you’ve got another excellent ingredient: the bar’s Wing Wednesdays, where you can snake a beer and five wings for $5. Oh, your birthday is on a Friday? Looks like you’ve got reason to celebrate twice now.

MacLeod Ale Brewing Co.

MacLeod Ale Brewing Co.

Van Nuys

If you thought Downtown and Glendale-adjacent were the only places brewing special craft brews and fun stuff to do, you thought wrong. Since 2014, MacLeod has been pouring choice English-style ales in the middle of a warehouse in Van Nuys, complete with live music, food trucks, darts, and board games. A big group of friends looking to get their birthday beers on will feel right at home, especially since they have a “Buy Your Friend a Beer” board, and you can subtly/not-so-subtly suggest they rack up a couple hundred for you.

Sixth Street Tavern

Downtown

The heart-of-DTLA location alone makes it a top-notch spot to begin (or end) your special night. Add to that the fact that you don’t need a reservation and there’s lots of space and you have yourself a birthday that everybody’s gonna enjoy. Gather your group on the patio and get down on some tasty shared plates -- like the chicken & donuts with Tapatio whipped cream -- and a giant beer and spirits list (including the amazing, hard-to-find KIN white whiskey).

tonga Hut

Tonga Hut

North Hollywood

Tonga Hut has everything you want in a birthday, if everything you want includes over 70 different “grogs” (including some that are on fire). The North Hollywood spot has plenty of booths, as well as a jukebox, darts, and, of course, the opportunity to join The Loyal Order of the Drooling Bastard... aka if you can drink every single one of the bar’s grogs in a year, you’ll get a special hand-carved plaque on the wall. A birthday is obviously the best time to start.

The Little Easy

Downtown

You’ll feel like you’ve been thrown straight into the French Quarter as soon as you step foot into The Little Easy, and if that means a ton of faux-pearl necklaces and “woooooing,” you’ll be all the better for it, even if there’s (generally) no flashing. The bar’s got tons of seating, tasty bar food, and crazy B-movies playing on the TVs -- and a giant tank of self-serve water for whichever of your friends goes the hardest.

Wonho Frank Lee

Highland Park Brewery at The Hermosillo

Highland Park

Though the food at The Hermosillo is rock solid, the real treat is nestled inside courtesy of the expansive beer menu of Highland Park Brewery. It has draft beers as standard as IPAs and hefs, as well as beers that are as experimental and tasty as a cilantro & ancho chile brew. Throw a shuffleboard table and the ring/hook game into the mix, and you’ve got yourself a helluva birthday.

The Roost

Atwater Village

In a town so full of clubs, covers, and velvet ropes, it’s nice to be able to grab some booths with your friends, and, ya know, actually be able to hear them. That, combined with cheap & crazy strong drinks, Chinese & Thai food, and the bar’s infamous “Big TV” make The Roost hard to beat. Plus, you'll be able to hear your friends say thank you when they realize how good you were to their wallets this year.

White Oak Communications

Brack Shop Tavern

Downtown

If you’re going out downtown, start your night at Brack Shop. An excellent get-the-gang-together-before-painting-the-town-red bar, you’ll be able to gear up for your big night with tasty bar bites (shout-out to those mole tacos), fun cocktails, and a rotating tap list that will please even the most hardcore of beer nerds. But what’s that? You made it back to Brack Shop at the END of your night? Well, you’re in luck: there’s a brand-spankin’-new game room upstairs with pingpong, darts, and even an N64.

Shatto 39 Lanes Bar

Koreatown

Let’s be honest: Shatto 39 Lanes is the cheapest bar in town, and it’s got the added bonus of being in the same building as LA’s best bowling alley. What else do you need (besides arcade games, pool tables, and a snack bar, which they also have)? Birthday Olympics, yo.

Frogtown Brewery

Frogtown bar crawl

Frogtown

A crawl through Frogtown is always a beautiful birthday move since you’ve got Frogtown Brewery, Salazar, and Zebulon all lined up and waiting. Start at the brewery for a few pints of flavorful craft beer and a bite from whatever food trucks are posted up that day; then, head up the street towards Salazar for a Paloma, the probably-best cocktail in LA. Still hungry? In addition to upscale shareables, Salazar also makes some of the best tacos you’ll eat this year on life-changing tortillas. Finally, head next door to Zebulon for a lively vibe, big patio, and (depending on the night) some live music or dancing.

Dustin Downing/Thrillist

Clifton's Republic

Downtown

If you haven’t been to Clifton’s yet, you’re doing something seriously wrong. Besides being one of the best pieces of LA history we have, it is by far the most one-of-a-kind bar in the city. Three floors and four different bars (with more rumored to be on the way) await you inside, so if you’re expecting a big crowd, this is your spot. The newest and most exciting edition to the Clifton’s empire is Pacific Seas, a world-class tiki bar hidden behind a mirror on the third floor. Collared shirts are required, but don’t worry -- that includes Hawaiians.

Verdugo Bar

Glassell Park

Perfectly low-key and chock-full of friendly staff and patrons, it makes no sense to us that this place isn’t more famous. The patio out back is by far one of the best in LA, and since the place opens at 3pm on weekends, it’s a perfect choice for some beers in the sunshine. With cheap drinks, strong pours, shuffleboard, and ample seating, Verdugo Bar is your favorite bar even if you never knew it existed.

Eugine Lee

The Slipper Clutch

Downtown

LA most certainly isn’t short of hidden bars, and The Slipper Clutch is no exception. Behind a door in the back of Bar Clacson you’ll find The Slipper Clutch: an ‘80s throwback packed full of neon signs, pinball machines, and party-pleasing drink specials. It’s easy to step back into Clacson for some charcuterie plates, pétanque, and coffee, too.

Highland Park Bowl

Highland Park

Highland Park Bowl is amongst the most stunningly designed buildings in Los Angeles, full stop. The bowling is pricier than you’ll find at places like Shatto, but you’re getting what you pay for in terms of comfy-ass couches and insanely impressive decor. Plus, the kitchen serves have wood-fired pizzas and the same rockstar beverage program that the 1933 Group is known for. “Roll” into Highland Park Bowl for your next birthday and you may just get a “strike”!
Sincerest apologies for that last line.

Nicholas Roberts

Block Party

Highland Park

Block Party might just have the granddaddy of all day drinking patios. In the back of this beer-and-wine-only Highland Park hotspot, you’ll find an elite-level patio with shuffleboard and picnic tables waiting for you and your birthday crew. Highland Park is getting cooler by the minute, and Block Party is one of the driving forces behind that.

Bigfoot West

Culver City

While the Atwater Village Bigfoot is a true gem, Bigfoot West somehow wins this round; it feels bigger, isn’t full of of scary bikers, and has more seating space. The place stocks good beer and serves tasty cocktails, which only add to the adult Chuck E. Cheese's-style environment. Bring your crew here and you’ll feel like you’re dominating the entire establishment, which, let’s be honest, is the exact feeling you want when you’re celebrating your birthday.

Up Next
Food & Drink

Where to Watch the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Los Angeles

Published On 06/08/2018
W e Americans may lag in our collective enthusiasm over pro soccer, but we’re certainly trying these days, with an increasing interest in our own league and, more locally, a shiny new stadium just unveiled downtown. The World Cup kicked off on June 14 this year, hosted by our old pal Russia, and plenty of bars, pubs, and restaurants around LA will be airing games throughout the tournament (some will even be opening at 5am for die-hards who can’t miss a kick). Bummer the US team didn't make the World Cup this time around, but you can still join in the revelry, cheering on whatever country you like, or just drinking and people-watching (or all of the above).
We’ve been doing some recon to scope out the best bars in LA to watch the World Cup this summer, and even checked in with former US men’s national team members Alexi Lalas and Stu Holden, who are a part of the FOX World Cup broadcast team, for some tips on their favorite soccer spots in Los Angeles. And be sure check back for updates on opening times and food and drink specials!
Joxer Daly's

Joxer Daly's

Culver City

Laid-back neighborhood bar with tons of beers and ample TVs
Joxer Daly’s is that quintessential neighborhood watering hole with its laid-back semi-divey vibe, decent pricing, and killer imported beer selection along with a patio of outdoor tables overlooking a nothing stretch of Washington Boulevard. The bar, which draws a mixed crowd of die-hard regulars, after-work imbibers, day drinkers, and yes, soccer fans, is also guaranteeing it will show every single game, opening at 5am for your viewing pleasure.
Specials: None, but the owners insist that their "prices are already below market" -- so, there's that!

Ye Olde King's Head

Ye Olde King's Head

Santa Monica

Seriously British pub near the beach
This stalwart British pub a quid’s throw from the beach is a labyrinth of wood-heavy dining rooms with royal portrait-lined walls, a beer-heavy bar, dart boards, TVs galore, and a bakery and gift shop touting British specialties. In other words, it's like a giant British museum. There'll be all the shepherd’s pie, bangers and mash, and fish and chips you'd expect, but YOKH will be showing the World Cup games starting at 8am, so you’ll want to take advantage of the traditional British breakfast plates complete with English baked beans.
Specials: TBD

Big Wangs

Downtown and North Hollywood

Dual sports bars known for their wings and plentiful flat-screen TVs
This duo of sports bars will be open for all the games (even the 6am starts) and offering a bacon-egg-cheddar-and-avocado-stuffed World Cup Breakfast Burrito with a side of tater tots for $12 -- because you’re going to need some sustenance to properly cheer on your team at that hour. If you plan to stay for the back-to-back games, you’ll want to move on to the fabled wings next. Wangs’ sibling venues -- The Thirsty Merchant in Valley Village and Elbow Room in Hollywood -- will follow suit, opening early in time for all the games and serving up the same brekkie special.
Specials: World Cup Breakfast Burrito for $12

Highland Park Bowl

Highland Park Bowl

Highland Park

Retro bowling alley on the Eastside
LA’s oldest bowling alley (which actually dates back to prohibition) is looking good thanks to its refurbished retro look, a trio of bars, and a big, beautiful 1930s mural, as well as solid pizza and cocktail offerings. For the quarterfinals, semifinals, third-place playoffs, and the final game, HPB will open early to screen the games on the 15-foot projector over the bowling lanes, with sound -- so you can watch one sport while playing another.
Specials: Happy hour and food specials for the final-round games, and prize raffles during the final game.

La Plaza de Cultura y Artes

Downtown

Mexican-American museum hosting free viewing parties
The museum and cultural center will be the site of three big (and free) viewing parties with live entertainment, activities for the kids, a photo booth, and -- since it’s sponsored by McDonald's -- a free breakfast courtesy of the fast-food behemoth. Doors open at 7am on Sunday, June 17 (for the Mexico vs. Germany and Brazil vs Switzerland matches); Saturday, June 23 (Mexico vs. Korea and Germany vs. Sweden) and Sunday, July 15 (finals). If you plan to go, register here.
Specials: Free breakfast for all attendees 

Hangar Inn

The Hangar Inn

Manhattan Beach

Old-time Packers bar with an airplane sticking out of the roof
This 60-plus-year-old Packers bar on Aviation Boulevard draws a raucous crowd of jersey-wearing fans come American football season and gets an equally enthusiastic influx of screaming soccer-loving patrons during World Cup days. The plan is to start showing all the games on Hangar's 17 TVs starting at the usual 7am opening time, but the place may decide, as it gets closer, to open the doors at 5am for some games; call ahead to find out which ones.
Specials: Pints of Dos Equis, Dos Equis Lager, Heineken, and New Castle for $5; $2 off pitchers; and buckets of Coors, Coors Light, Miller, or Miller Lite for $16 

Wirtshaus

Fairfax

German restaurant with outdoor beer garden
If you’ve got a soccer-loving pup you don’t want to leave at home, this German eatery is your go-to thanks to its dog-friendly, flat-screen-adorned outdoor beer garden; expect a 120-inch projection screen in the “soccer room,” in addition to more TVs in main part of the venue. The place will be offering food and drinks specials during all of the matches it airs, in addition to special morning breakfast and brunch menus, sponsored giveaways, and post-game deals. Wirsthaus will be opening early for all of the Germany and Mexico matches, including those on June 17th (at 8am), 23rd (at 8am), and 27th (at 7am).
Specials: A World Cup food menu including potato pancakes, pretzels, sausages, and schnitzel; half-off Erdinger beers for those who stick around after the game.

The Stalking Horse

The Stalking Horse Brewery & Freehouse

West LA

Brewery and British pub with vegan offerings
Artisanal Brewers Collective’s stylish new British pub boasts both an onsite brewery (which will start brewing its own beer in the coming months) and an adept kitchen, churning out Cornish classics like Yorkshire pudding and fish and chips, as well as vegan-friendly options like a plant-based Welsh rarebit and Impossible burger. World Cup games will be screened on TVs in the bar and on the patio and via projector in the dining room, opening at 7am on weekends and 11 during the week. Pro tip: You can book seats in advance on The Stalking Horse's website.  
Specials: $4 drafts during games and multiple $4, $6, and $8 “breakfast of champions” offerings available at 7am on weekends.

Cafe Brasil

Culver City

Cozy Brazilian eatery with wine and beer
This colorful Brazilian cafe with a lush patio doesn't have a proper bar (though beer and wine is available) and offers just two TVs, but it’s a top spot for those cheering on the South American soccer team who want to be amongst fellow fans and take advantage of a good and cheap breakfast menu with specialties like fried plantains and acai bowls. Later in the day, look for fish specials, pastas, black beans and rice and empanadas. Stay tuned for early opening hours, as the place will most likely get going in time for early AM Brazil games and lots of impressively long goooooooooaaaaaaaaal-yelling.
Specials: TBD

Sharks Cove

Sharks Cove

Manhattan Beach

South Bay sports bar packed to the gills with TVs
This South Bay sports bar is reminiscent of a TV network control room thanks to its rows and rows of flat-screens -- 50 in fact, all of which make for some great game viewing. There’s an attached street-facing patio if you want to get some fresh air or some natural light after gazing at screens in a dark bar all morning, and there’s also a basic breakfast menu in addition to the usual bar fare. Sharks Cove will open at 5:30am for the Brazilian games and 7am for every other game, and the kitchen will start serving food at 8am.
Specials: Buckets of Bud Light or Coors Light for $16.75; buckets of Corona for $19.25; $5 Jager shots or Jager bombs; $4 Fireball shots; 22-ounce domestic drafts for $5.50; 22-ounce Modelo, Corona, or Pacifico for $6; $5.50 Estrella Micheladas; 22-ounce double shot Bloody Marys for $9.50; and free bottomless champagne or Mimosas with purchase of breakfast on weekends.

The Fox and Hounds

The Fox and Hounds

Studio City

British pub popular among international sports fans
This Ventura Boulevard pub is known for doling out plenty of British breakfasts and beer to fans who come in to watch international sports, so we’re expecting the World Cup scene to be pretty tremendous. You'll be able to watch all the live tournament games on its two projector screens, as well as the 10 TVs scattered throughout the bar. The venue will be opening early to show every World Cup match, but certain games will require tickets. Check the schedule here.
Specials: TBD

The Cat and Fiddle

The Cat & Fiddle

Hollywood

British rock-inspired restaurant and pub
The resurrected Hollywood pub may not have that same signature sprawling patio at its new location, but you’re here to watch soccer anyway (and there is, indeed, some outdoor space at this venue). Expect British fare to the tune of Scotch eggs, shepherd’s pie, and curried chicken, along with lots of draft beer offerings and fun cocktails like the Picadilly Pimm’s. The venue will be opening early for several of the matches; check their schedule here.
Specials: Pint of Stella and a Savory Pie or a pint of Stella and Cat and Fiddle Burger for $15

Double Take

Westwood

Westside hotel lounge with game room
The Kimpton Hotel Palomar’s onsite restaurant, bar and lounge -- inspired by the look of a Hollywood backlot -- comes complete with a clubby game room filled with Skee-Ball, pool, shuffleboard, darts, video games, and some newfangled 4K Ultra HD TVs ready to show you tons of World Cup action. The venue will be airing all World Cup games beginning at 6:30am daily.
Specials: $1 beer specials, $1 surprise beers during the games, and every patron gets a voucher for a $1 beer of their choice when a goal is scored
 

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