Food & Drink

A Brief History of the Last 20 Years of LA Barhopping

Published On 01/08/2016 Published On 01/08/2016
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Courtesy of Lina Lecaro
Courtesy of Lina Lecaro
Lava Lounge | Courtesy of Lina Lecaro
Courtesy of Lina Lecaro
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1. Premiere Supper Club 1710 N Las Palmas Ave, Los Angeles, CA (Hollywood)

Slide past the velvet rope to get into this swanky dance club and DJ spot. Set up in the style of a Spanish villa, the club features elegant rounded stone arches and balconies overlooking the main floor. Playing a variety of music from hip hop to EDM, there's sure to be something for everyone here despite the exclusive vibes at the front door.

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2. Pour Vous 5574 Melrose, Los Angeles, CA 90038 (Hollywood)

Pour Vous is a swanky, velvet couch-laden cocktail bar reminiscent of old Hollywood.

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3. The Virgil 4519 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90029

The Virgil is a Silver Lake speakeasy-style bar that’s equal parts cocktail bar and live entertainment space. It’s divided into two sides, with a full bar in each: “Stage Side” features live music, dancing, and comedy shows, and “B Side,” is the no-cover, juke box-bearing space, with innovative craft cocktails and beer. You’ll find ingredients like Gifford Creme de Banan, Manzano peppers, lavender-infused rye, and coconut cream across the cocktail menu (you can get a vodka soda if you cower in the face of adventure). Go for the happy hour, stay for the show, drink constantly.

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4. Harlowe 7321 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90046 (West Hollywood)

This WeHo haunt sports a sophisticated interior with antique decor, brown banquettes, and an intricate, handmade tile floor, plus a killer cocktail program designed by beloved NY bartender Dushan Zaric. Sip on innovative cocktails like the Aye Poppy (Uncle Val's Botanical Gin, Grand Poppy, house-made strawberry basil syrup, lemon, and egg white), alongside a cheese & charcuterie board, while you salute Hollywood's Golden Age -- the theme of this classy spot.

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5. Grandpa Johnson's 1638 N Cahuenga, Los Angeles, CA 90028 (Hollywood)

Opened by nightlife legend Johnny Zander, this retro-feeling, art-deco cocktail lounge has a gigantic marble-topped bar and unusual cocktails, like the bourbon-and-apple-cider-based T-Bizz.

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6. The Cosmo 6364 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA (Hollywood)

Get fancy at this premiere nightclub and lounge on Hollywood Boulevard that hosts hip hop and R&B, as well as Top 40 and EDM.

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7. The Parlour Room Of Hollywood 6423 Yucca St, Hollywood, CA 90028 (Hollywood)

This booth-filled, marble tinged classic-cocktail lounge from the El Bar and The Fifth also features a patio with its own fireplace, as well as eclectic brews (Old Speckled Hen; Allagash Curieux) and specialty drinks like the Blood & Sand (scotch, sweet v

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8. The Woods 1533 N La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90028 (Hollywood)

Escape the urban atmosphere of the strip mall and step into The Woods, a cocktail bar with wood block-lined walls, tree trunk tables, and antlered chandeliers. The drinks are cheap (especially during happy hour) and the ambiance is reminiscent of summer camp -- but instead of guitar by campfire, there’s a DJ and a dress code. The Woods is your ticket out of the city and back to nature… cocktails included.

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9. Bar Lubitsch 7702 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90046 (West Hollywood)

Remember college? Me neither. But the Red Room at Bar Lubitsch is eerily reminiscent of those basement frat parties, and their Molotov Cocktail (Zubrowka Bison Grass vodka, fresh-pressed apple juice, and fire) is just a higher-quality, flame-engulfed version of jungle juice... in the best way. It's a Russian-themed vodka bar with 200-some-odd vodkas (served chilled or in cocktail form), a DJ-fueled dance floor, a quieter barroom for the dance floor-averse (or if you want to like, talk), and a brick- and ivy-enclosed patio. Go for the drinks, stay for the dancing; the DJs are some of the best in the area.

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10. Bigfoot Lodge 3172 Los Feliz Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90039 (Atwater Village)

Step into the log cabin-like interior of Bigfoot Lodge and escape into the wilderness of... Atwater Village. The roaring fireplace, tree stump tables, and hunting lodge decor will have you certain you’ve left Los Angeles (don’t worry, you haven’t). Bigfoot’s got live music, tallboys, and rustic-style cocktails that adhere to the campfire theme, like the Roasted Marshmallow with actual burnt marshmallow, and the Scout’s Honor with Irish cream liqueur. Once you've got your drink, cozy up to the fireplace and forget that you’re actually nowhere near the woods.

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11. Broadway Bar 830 S Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90014 (Downtown)

Broadway, located right next to the Orpheum, brings the deco charm with enough multi-tiered cocktail lounges and mezzanine bars to make a flapper blush. But stop doing the charleston and start doing the samba during Fiesta Broadway on April 27th, a celebration of Latin culture on a grande scale.

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12. The Short Stop 1455 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026 (Echo Park)

Equal parts dive bar and dance club, The Short Stop is an Echo Park hot spot located down the street from Dodger Stadium (get it?). The red-lit dance floor is fueled by a juke box or a late-night DJ, the pool tables and arcade games are there to break you when the dance floor tires you out, and the drink specials are made for pre- and post-Dodger game goers. Go early to beat the line, load up on $1 PBR tall boys, and don't miss the cheap (but delicious) street food vendors on your way out -- you just spent the whole night dancing, you deserve it.

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13. Akbar 4356 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles,, CA 90029 (Silverlake)

A child of the 90s, Akbar is a punk rock-style gay bar in Silver Lake with decades of drinking and dancing under its belt. Upon its inception, the founders carefully curated their own analog jukebox, which still plays those same rock ’n roll and punk tunes to this day. And despite the influx of craft cocktail clubs and mixology-centric lounges, Akbar remains today what it set out to be when it first opened on Sunset Blvd.: a bar, not a club or a lounge, boasting cheap well drinks, and condemning velvet ropes.

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14. Smog Cutter 864 N Virgil Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90029 (Hollywood)

Smog Cutter is a Hollywood dive/karaoke bar that's got awesome music, lively bartenders, and an even-livelier crowd.

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15. Loaded 6377 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood, CA 90028

Finally open now after a couple weeks of stops and starts, Loaded's a new rock bar from the Big Wangs guys that completely embraces the ol' school rocker ethos, from pics of Keith Richards and Sid Vicious on the wall, to a reasonably priced booze menu composed mainly of hard-drinking whiskies, to a wall made up of Marshall stacks, which're worth digging through if you're in the market for a pair of irregular Mossimo boardshorts at 92% off.

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16. Edison Depression Soup Kitchen 108 W 2nd St, Los Angeles, CA 90012 (Downtown)

This 1920s-style speakeasy's offering a timely Depression-era deal: cheekily named 35c drinks (the ginny 401k and the bourbon-laced Bail Out), plus free grilled cheese and tomato soup.

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17. The 3 Clubs 1123 Vine St, Los Angeles, CA 90038 (Hollywood)

Originally a straight-up martini lounge, The 3 Clubs eventually evolved into a quality late-night hangout with live entertainment such as comedy and burlesque shows.

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18. Good Times at Davey Wayne's 1611 N El Centro Ave, Hollywood, CA 90028 (Hollywood)

Straight out of The Brady Bunch set, this 70's living room-themed Hollywood bar is decked out with hammocks, an Airstream Trailer, and a DJ spinning Bee Gees-esque beats. It's hard to tell what's cooler: the epic secret entrance through a refrigerator door or the no-cover. Weekend nights usually draw the biggest lines, but Good Times is open on weekend afternoons, aka the perfect time to kick back on the patio and order up some Tex-Mex street food and craft cocktails.

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