December 21st is the longest night of the year -- almost 15 straight hours of darkness. Nerds like to call it the "Winter solstice". We like to call it the "Best Night of Your Life", because that's damn sure what it could be, if you spend it at the city's best Thrillist-approved happy hour spots, cocktail bars, nightclubs, etc. Check out our picks for LA's best cocktail bars below, and make sure to fully map out a perfect evening with our itinerary builder.
The newest drop from the dude behind The Varnish and Las Perlas is this collab with the guys from New York's lauded Death & Co. It has a 50-strong specialty cocktail list (including some bottled guys), and a next-door dance floor that's lit like the video for "Billy Jean".
This tiny, circus-themed (please-have-a-lion-please-have-a-lion-please-have-a-lion) bar sports more freshness than an LA prince, with seasonal fruits and veggies potently upping its flavor game.
Burlesque on Tuesdays, DJs throughout the week, top-end bartenders, and -- oh yeah -- AN ACTUAL FREAKING TRAIN IN THEIR BACKYARD are among the draws to this Paramount-adjacent bar. Just make sure you dress nice... the door guys here can be sticklers.
Harvard & Stone
From the same guys as Pour Vous, this industrial-feeling room's got top-flight bands as well as a back-bar where 'tenders from all over the world develop their own programs, which means any-night hits (Asian-flavored cocktails!) and misses (black licorice-flavored cocktails!).
The Library Bar
Though main man Matt Biancaniello's moved on to greener, consultant-type pastures, his legacy at the Roosevelt's downstairs bar remains: stellar, custom drinks, made to your parameters (and by your 'parameters', we mean whiskey. Liquor-forward. Some citrus notes.).
The Spare Room
The Roosevelt gets a double-billing on the list thanks to TSR. Their upstairs saloon's got real game -- Jenga, checkers, bowling, and more. Also? Bands sometimes, and DJs more often. We've even seen Thom Yorke drop by on the ones and twos (most. awkward. dance. party. ever.).
Copa D' Oro
The Westside's premiere mixed-drinkery's another one that specializes in choose-your-own-adventure-style drinks, though their specialty program's also top-notch, with seasonal goodness like the Southern Belle loaded w/ bourbon, grappa, pear liquor, grapes, peppers, and lemon juice.
Yeah, it's a party spot, so it's easy to forget that they're as artisanal ingredient-devoted as any other top-notch bar in town. Their Moscow Mule? Unbeatable.
1. Honeycut819 S Flower St, Los Angeles
2. Roger Room370 N La Cienega Blvd, Los Angeles
3. Pour Vous5574 Melrose, Los Angeles
4. Harvard & Stone5221 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles
5. The Library Bar630 W 6th St, Los Angeles
6. Spare Room7000 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood
7. Copa D'Oro217 Broadway, Santa Monica
Honeycut isn't just your standard, trendy, underground cocktail bar -- it's also literally situated under the ground. Built below downtown's Flower Street, the night spot tends to straddle the line between rowdy, boisterous dance club and upscale, craft-cocktail dispensary. The bar's sub-sidewalk lair is divided into two rooms: a Manhattan-esque dark-wooded drinking space, offering vintage pool tables and an extensive list of potent house concoctions, followed by a cavelike dance hall with a smaller bar for bottled beers, and a floor built entirely of flashing rainbow lights. If you're not looking to dance, we suggest you limit your stay to the first room -- the usual crowds are not exactly known for remaining subdued on the dance floor.
Since its opening in the early days of the speakeasy craze in LA, The Roger Room has retained all of its class and charm. Order up the Four Aces, a house favorite with vodka, basil, green grapes, and ginger liqueur, or the Japanese Maple with whiskey, egg whites, and maple syrup -- then settle into a booth beneath the hand-painted carnival mural and be prepared to stay awhile.
Pour Vous is a swanky, velvet couch-laden cocktail bar reminiscent of old Hollywood.
From the guys behind the Havana-themed hideaway La Descarga, Harvard & Stone is a meticulously designed craft cocktail bar in a cavernous, two-story, 1930s factory in Los Feliz. Dance the night away to a solid indie, Motown, and everything-in-between playlist while you sip on pop-culture themed libations (Knocked Up, Hey Arnold, and Zelda are three such cocktails).
The Library is Downtown's scholastically-themed hangout featuring tufted leather couches, exposed brick walls donning various taxidermy, and an entire wall lined with (you guessed it) weathered, obviously vintage books. The bookish hangout is known for its literary referencing classic cocktails (like On the Road and The Odyssey), its craft beer selection, and its unpretentious atmosphere. Don’t let the whole book thing fool you; there are often burgers, ordered from a chalkboard on the wall, flying out of the kitchen. And much like a library full of books of different genres, the menu is home to dishes with global influence -- like edamame hummus, tuna poke, chorizo sliders, a grilled cheese sandwich, and fries (also, parmesan-garlic fries, and also, that burger).
The Roosevelt Hotel is famous for being haunted, but now it's ready to be your regular haunt thanks to Spare Room. This sleek cocktail lounge/bowling alley stepped up its drink game with the addition of award-winning beverage director Yael Vengroff, who's crafting a menu full of welcome surprises, including a Salt & Vinegar Martini (served with dill potato chips), and a pandan leaf-adorned Lucky Smoke, mixed with Japanese whiskey, rum, banana liqueur, and vanilla.
Darkly lit, mid-sized, and old-world detailed (tiled floors, exposed brick, candlelit booths), Copa's a menu-less cocktail emporium dedicated to making exclusive-to-you drinks, helmed by a former Providence 'tender.