Beverage Director

Where to Grab a Drink in Los Angeles Right Now

There is plenty to drink about.

Caravan Swim Club
Caravan Swim Club | Hotel June
Caravan Swim Club | Hotel June

It’s been more than six months since loyal bar patrons have been able to imbibe inside their favorite LA watering holes, and our moniker as the City of Angels has perhaps never rang more true. Meanwhile, the beverage industry has used this time to innovate, presenting LA drinkers with crafty cocktails to-go that are easily ordered online, food partnerships that allow them to reopen their doors, and converted parking lots that act as pop-up patios in a pinch. 
 
There’s no reason to dredge up the infinite reasons we all need a drink, right? Then let’s get on with our picks for the best bars in LA:

Please note that as of Wednesday, November 24, outdoor dining in LA County will close indefinitely to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Check out our takeout guides to LA for currently open options.

Lanea

Santa Monica

It’s safe to say Lanea, which boasts an agave-forward menu of over 400 mezcal and tequila spirits, has had a wild first year of business, but this breezy Santa Monica spot has adapted to changing tides by opening outdoor patio areas and debuting an all day, everyday happy hour with $2 tacos and $9 cocktails. They’ve got a great frozen cocktail list for those unseasonably warm LA evenings, and give you the option of making any beer a Michelada for just $2 more. Lanea recently added a variety of tequila and mezcal flights to the menu, which we recommend ordering with their famous lamb-barbacoa quesadillas (because don’t forget, you’ve got to order food with any alcohol purchase). For those more comfortable ordering takeout, Lanea cocktails are now available canned and sold in 4-, 6-, and 12-packs. 
How to order: Reservations can be made on Resy; order pickup or delivery through their website.

Available for Delivery/Takeout
Available for Reservations

The Backyard At Chez Jay

Venice

They say hindsight is 2020, but historic dive bar Chez Jay had it in 2019 when they decided to celebrate their 60th anniversary by adding The Backyard, a spacious, fairy-lit patio behind the original bar where patrons can enjoy their favorite cocktails alongside salty sea air—and don’t worry, there’s a fire pit to keep you warm if the marine layer proves too chilly. Equally popular among locals, tourists, and even the occasional celebrity, The Backyard spikes classic cocktails with their personal touch, like The Juan Margarita, which adds jalapeno, cucumber, and cilantro for a spicy take on your typical tequila and lime. Or branch out with Chevy to the Levy, a well-balanced Mezcal drink with Ramazzoti rosato, pineapple, and lemon sage. The food menu is a solid mashup of your favorite beachside dishes like Fish & Chips and a Grilled Mahi-Mahi Sandwich. 
How to order: Walk-ins welcome for patio dining; delivery or pickup via DoorDash.

Available for Delivery/Takeout

Spare Room

Hollywood

It’s downright criminal that we haven’t been able to experience what Tales of the Cocktail dubbed the “Best Hotel Bar in America,” but thanks to hospitality vets Med Abrous and Marc Rose, the Hotel Roosevelt’s classic bar has launched an al-fresco experience called The Spare Room...Somewhere Else, with that somewhere else being nestled behind the hotel’s iconic David Hockney painted pool. The intimate outdoor oasis has traded bowling lanes for the lawn-friendly sport of bocce, plus pencil and paper pads for single-use games like M.A.S.H, Battleship, and Mad Libs. Bar Director Yael Vengroff and her award-winning team are still whipping up incredible cocktails like the Birds Aren’t Real with Appleton Rum, cognac, Campari, pineapple, hazelnut and lime, which you can pair small plates like burrata with pomegranate agrodolce and mushroom sott'olio with truffled ricotta and ciabatta. The Spare Room’s classic cocktails are available for takeaway post-visit or pick-up from the hotel lobby.
How to order: Reservations can be made on Resy.

Available for Reservations
Melody

Melody

Virgil Village

First debuted in late 2017 as a Cal-fresh wine bistro, Melody’s open-air, bungalow-style patio reopened less than a year later as a standalone wine bar and bottle shop, opting to host restaurant pop-ups rather than have a dedicated kitchen. The natural wine bar specializes in  low intervention wines from around the world with special attention given to French, Italian and Spanish grapes. Check their website for more information about their rotating restaurant partnerships and weekend popups. 
How to order: Walk-ins welcome for patio dining; order pickup via Toast Tab.

Nueva

Venice

Aptly-named Nueva replaced the now-shuttered Sunny Spot in front of The Little Friend bar in August, adding it to the growing list of successful mid-pandemic openings. Former NoMad bar manager Adam Fournier leads a cocktail program that pays homage to Mexican-based liquors, including the lesser-known sotol, bacanora, and raicilla spirits, in addition to your standard mezcal and tequila options—order their agave flight and get treated to a half-pour of their current favorites served with orange slices and fried chapulines (grasshoppers). Highlights on the modern Mexican food menu include Meditteranean Octopus tacos with pickled red onion, plum and mint; a Street Cart Salad with mango, pineapple, and jicama; and wood-grilled Branzino with red mole sauce. 
How to order: Walk-ins welcome for patio dining; order pickup and delivery via DoorDash.

Available for Delivery/Takeout

Post & Beam

Baldwin Hills

Tucked behind the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza is Post & Beam, now run by South LA native and longtime Post & Beam chef John Cleveland after changing ownership last year. Celebrity chef Govind Armstrong still helms the kitchen, which takes a California approach to Southern comfort food, meaning you’ll find vegan crab cakes (and other vegan-friendly options) alongside meat-laden dishes like braised oxtail hash and jerked catfish. From the bar, whiskey drinkers will love their Old Fashioned menu, which offers five different takes on the classic cocktail. Standouts from their house cocktail menu include the Ginger Mojito with ginger jam and mint from the garden, and the controversial rum-based martini The Slow Boat. Since COVID, Post & Beam has expanded their already ample patio space by laying down astroturf and adding even more well-spaced tables. 
How to order: Reservations can be made on Resy; order pickup and delivery through their website.

Available for Delivery/Takeout
Available for Reservations

Las Palmas Pop Up at E.P and L.P

West Hollywood

Adjacent to the L.P. rooftop at the Melrose Rooftop Theatre is the Tulum-inspired Las Palmas pop up, which offers stunning, 360-degree views of the nearly Hollywood Hills, making it ideal for dinner and drinks during the sunset. Decorated with an assortment of potted palm trees and reclined wooden seating, you’ll feel as if you were teleported away from the city to a lush and tropical locale. The menu is a mix of Mexican-inspired and traditional bar eats, with lobster quesadillas sharing space alongside a panko-crusted portobello burger. The bar menu favors tequila and mezcal, with all of their drinks available by the glass or the pitcher.
How to order: Reservations encouraged for all parties and can be made by calling 310-855- 9955.

Summer Social Club by Employees Only

West Hollywood

New York’s favorite East Village bar Employees Only took the trip out west in 2018, revamping the almost 4,000-square foot former BBQ joint into a Prohibition-style speakeasy frequented by your favorite CW stars. While those dreams got temporarily dashed with the pandemic, Employees Only bounced back by turning their back patio into an experiential pop-up dubbed the Summer Social Club that features the same heavy-handed cocktails with locally sourced ingredients, plus a rotating list of local chefs to keep the food menu fresh. Try their agave-sweetened “Better Margarita” and see if it lives up to the name. 
How to order: Walk-ins welcome for patio dining or order bottled craft cocktails through EOToGo.

Pilot

Downtown LA

Situated on the rooftop of the Hoxton hotel, the Pilot’s bar and restaurant extends to the hotel’s pool deck, offering incomparable views of the DTLA skyline. The coastal Mediteranean menu pairs perfectly with the rooftop’s beachy palette, offset by a centerpiece display of fresh seafood and vegetables draped over ice. The house cocktails include the adorably Instagrammable Honeybear on Holiday, a punchy mix of tequila, sherry, apricot liqueur, pineapple, lime, and cumin-infused honey, presented in a plastic honey bear that’s chillin’ over crushed ice. To top it off, Pilot offers a weekday happy hour from 2-6pm with $10 specialty G&Ts and $8 wine, well cocktails, and Drink of the Day, plus select beers for just $4. 
How to order: Reservations can be made on Resy.

Available for Reservations

Caravan Swim Club at Hotel June

Westchester

Dubbed as the new lifestyle hotel of West LA, Hotel June’s Caravan Swim Club is perfect for those disarmingly warm days that will no doubt be sprinkled throughout our winter season (thanks, climate change!). If you tire of the pool and cabanas, you can curl up next to a fire pit or take your drinks on the elevated terrace with a view. The menu features fresh seafood and hot takes on your favorite Mexican dishes; you’ll want to stop by the raw bar for oysters, line-caught local bluefin tuna crudo, and uni tostadas with Santa Barbara sea urchin, and while you’re at it, why not order cauliflower nachos for the table? The house cocktails favor mezcal and tequila offset by delicate floral additions, or you can order a pina colada to complete your staycation vibe. 
How to order: Reservations can be made on OpenTable.

Available for Reservations

Flying Embers Social Club and Brewery

Downtown LA

Flying Embers didn’t just brave opening their Arts District taproom during a pandemic, the company itself was born in Ojai during a massive wildfire that threatened the owner’s home and brewery. The brewery continues to donate a portion of proceeds to firefighters and first responders, successfully weaving their origin story into their business model. Bragging “better-for-you” booze that’s fermented to leave zero sugar and zero carbs, Flying Embers hard seltzers pack an unexpected punch at 5% ABV, with flavor combinations like Watermelon Chili, Guava Jalapeno, and Black Cherry Rose. Flight 4: Imperial Highway is their fall kombucha release, featuring Grapefruit Tangie, Guava Citra, and Mango Hop-anero flavor options, all at 8.5% ABV. The DTLA taproom just added the refreshing Embers Froze to their menu; a kombucha take on frozen rose, available in white peach raspberry lemon and blackberry ancient berry flavors, or blend both together for the ultimate headrush. 
How to order: Walk-ins are welcome at the DTLA taproom or order pickup from Toast Tab.

Margot

Culver City

Margot’s open-air 75-seat patio rooftop on Culver City’s Platform shopping center might be the best in LA, and is certainly a top contender for the Westside, with 360-degree views of the city and numerous heat lamps to help you fend off that evening chill. The decor is a very Culver City-appropriate blend of bohemian and industrial, with a huge floral mural, marble surfaces, geometric-tiled and raw wood tables, plus thick black ropes draped throughout the light-filled arena. Debuted in late 2018, Margot is perfect for a date night or celebration, with a house cocktail list that favors herbal and floral infusions—like Last Dance, an invigorating blend of rosehip-infused vodka, falernum, green tea, aloe, and lemon— plus regional wines that pair perfectly with the restaurant’s coastal Mediterranean fare. Margot also has the very LA option of requesting separate vegan brunch and vegan dinner menus so your plant-based friends don’t have to screen each item for animal products.
How to order: Reservations can be made on Resy.

Fia

Santa Monica

Tucked within a lush garden oasis in Santa Monica is Fia, the first collaboration between renowned restaurateur Michael Greco and celebrated chef Brendan Collins, which features California and Italian coastal cuisine using fresh seasonal ingredients. The drink menu puts a spin of your favorite classic cocktails, including a Milano Manhattan with house-blended amaros, plus a wine list loaded with new and old world favorites, a “Make it a Spritz” mini-menu that’s perfect for special occasions, and a daily happy hour from 3-5pm with plenty of under $10 eats as well as select wines and beers for $7, $8 well cocktails, and a $10 cocktail of the day.
How to order: Reservations can be made on OpenTable.

Available for Reservations

Spirit House Echo Park

Echo Park

Head into Sticky Rice and make a left after passing through the red curtain and you’ll find yourself in Spirit House, Echo Park’s new Thai-inspired cocktail bar and one of the few places in LA where you can still enjoy live music, with members from your favorite local bands (Awolnation, Mondo Cosmo, and Nona to name just a few) whipping up magic behind the bar. Spirit House takes a speakeasy approach with its hidden entrance and daily hours of 6pm to ??? (pro-tip: get there before 10pm to guarantee food and drink), but the vibe on their back patio is a vibrant chaos that harkens back to Echo Park’s 2019 glory days with multicolored string lights and Thai flags strung throughout. The drink menu plays off the same theme and you’ll see standard Negronis, Old Fashioneds, and Martinis swapped out for crafty concoctions like the Thai Tea Gimlet, made with Thai tea-infused gin, lime juice, house-made orgeat, and lime leaf. 
How to order: Walk-ins welcome for patio dining.

The Airliner Restaurant

Lincoln Heights

The nearly century-old dive bar and venue of the now-discontinued Low End Theory concert series has reopened its doors after a top-to-bottom redesign that includes a sleek, mid-century style interior with a massive, LA-focused mural by local artist Stacy Smith, and a spacious shaded patio that’s dog(and kid)-friendly, though it may be awhile before you see anyone perform on the revamped stage upstairs. The cocktail list has all your usual suspects, plus drinks like the New Edition, a sour-spicy blend of tequila, chareau, lime, and serrano. The restaurant debuted a new Wednesday through Sunday happy hour from 5-6pm with drink and food specials, and is expected to start serving brunch soon. 
How to order: Reservations can be made on Resy.

Available for Reservations

Holcomb

Highland Park

Hidden away at the eastern end of York Blvd is Holcomb, the neighborhood’s new favorite natural wine bar, with plenty of $10 glasses and a few craft beers to choose from for the hops-oriented crowd. Though their cozy indoor bar is currently off limits, they’ve got a small covered patio that’s perfect for enjoying a solo glass of wine (or four, we’re not judging). The wine bar recently launched Holcomb Wine and Grocer To Go, stocked with your favorite bottles, pints, and bar treats like house-brined olives and almonds, house-made hummus, and various charcuterie options. Holcomb recently started a Tuesday grill series, which you can also order to (A recent Tuesday meal included 8 oz hanger steaks and potatoes roasted in duck fat served with broccoli rabe for just $14, so don’t sleep on this weekly offer.) 
How to order: Walk-ins welcome for patio dining and pickup via Holcomb Wine and Grocer To Go

Available for Delivery/Takeout

Botanica

Silver Lake

Silverlake’s favorite hybrid market-cafe-wine bar has reopened its back patio for dining and drinks; while their generous natural wines list is the obvious draw, the house cocktails are worth exploring if you’re into floral, not-too-sweet drinks that pack a punch. The menu is Farmer’s Market fresh produce fused with Meditteranean flavors, plus the attached market makes it easy to order your favorite bottles to go. 
How to book: Reservations can be made on Resy or order pickup and delivery through their website.

Available for Delivery/Takeout
Available for Reservations

Oriel

Chinatown

Chinatown might not be your first guess as to where you’ll find LA’s best new French bistro, but the burgundy-hued building with glowing pink neon trim and red, floor-to-ceiling entryway windows would surely draw your attention were you aimlessly strolling by (and isn’t that how French bistros are always found?). The wine list is, as one might expect, French-led, but with surprising selections that will beckon you back to their outdoor patio over and over again. Plus their escargot is hands down the best quality and well-priced you’ll find in the city. 
How to book: Walk-ins welcome for patio dining.

Portuguese Bend Distilling

Long Beach

Named after the infamous Portuguese Bend area of Palos Verdes that once served as the hotbed of California’s underground alcohol activity in the Prohibition Era, this Long Beach distillery specializes in grain-to-grass gins, rums, and vodkas, with their pink-hued California-made Donna Rosa gin being the most popular spirit. While distillery tours are currently on pause, the spacious wraparound patio is open, and their food menu featuring hefty, comfort-driven plates is plenty reason to stop by for weekend brunch or during their weekday 3-6pm happy hour. 
How to book: Make reservations for patio dining or order pickup via their website and delivery via Postmates.

Available for Delivery/Takeout

Apotheke

Chinatown

NYC’s favorite apothecary-inspired bar made the trip out west in 2018, landing in an unassuming corner of Chinatown adjacent to the LA River, with a lush patio garden that mixologists frequently pick from for their own housemade infusions. While the bar remains closed for in-person visits, you can order from their botanically infused menu based on what ails you, with each drink categorized according to its supposed benefit of Health & Beauty, Aphrodisiacs, Stimulants, Pain Killers, and Stress Relievers.
How to order: Pickup available via their website.

Available for Delivery/Takeout

Thunderbolt

Historic Filipinotown

Located at the intersection of Historic Filipinotown, Echo Park, and DTLA, with a refreshingly friendly demeanor that harkens to the American South, Thunderbolt is the perfect in-the-middle-meeting spot. Drink favorites include the Barcelonnette, which is described as a tropical spring break foam party and comes with mezcal, passion fruit, suze, and lime, and the Peach Thunderbolt, with Jamaican and Agricole rums, peaches, and mint, which is adapted from Charles H. Baker’s Around The World With Jigger, Beaker, and Flask. Since reopening their patio, the cafe and bottle shop has been partnering with local restaurants and chefs for limited pop-ups, including a recent collab with new taco spot Flaco to preview their new Michoacán-style carnitas tacos.
How to order: Walk-ins welcome for patio dining, order pickup via their website and delivery via GrubHub and Postmates.

Available for Delivery/Takeout