10 Places to Get Large-Format Cocktails for Your Party of 10

Introduce your friends and family to the world of punch bowls, pitchers, and more shareable drinking this holiday season.

Large format cocktail at Soulmate
Photo by Jakob Layman, courtesy of Soulmate

The holiday season is about bonding with friends and family, forging new connections and rebuilding older ones, gathering in warmth and comfort and sharing a laugh with special people. Sometimes that’s easier said than done, but there’s one thing that might help—a big old boozy beverage, split between four to 20 of your closest companions.

Large-format cocktails are a great way to spread cheer and share a communal experience, the kind of thing that turns any meal out into an event, and the perfect thing to share as people come back into town for the holidays. Luckily, large-format cocktails are also seeing a resurgence around LA, popping up on menus across the city for any time of day, brunch, lunch, dinner, or late at night. From Downtown to Hollywood to Venice, here are 10 of our favorite shareable drinks around the city:

Here & Now
Photo courtesy of Here & Now

Here & Now

Arts District
$$$$

Most of the year, the sleek and vaguely train station-themed Arts District bar Here & Now serves a fantastic large-format cocktail that they call the Carry On, a hearty, family-style punch for four to six people with brandy, bourbon, sherry, allspice, and citrus. But for a magical holiday stretch between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day (then again in July) the space becomes Blitzen’s, an extravagant Christmas-themed bar with a cocktail list to match, including the Get Blitzen’d, a shareable cocktail with mezcal, Spanish sherry, cardamom, and prosecco that’s served in a giant ceramic Christmas-colored ski boot.
How to book: Reservations available online.

Available for Reservations

Purple Orchid

El Segundo
$$$$

When you think large-format cocktails you’re probably thinking tiki first, and that’s exactly what Purple Orchid does best. The fun, rough around the edges El Segundo spot specializes in tropical cocktail classics like the Singapore Sling, Scorpion, and Navy Grog, in addition to their own creations like the blended rum and banana Curious George. And for a few extra dollars you can upgrade almost all of their tropical cocktails into a Volcano Bowl—yes, it does come with live fire in the middle.
How to book: Walk-ins only.

Soulmate
Photo by Jakob Layman, courtesy of Soulmate

Soulmate

West Hollywood
$$$$

On the opposite end of the shareable cocktail spectrum from flaming tiki drinks, the lovely North Robertson hangout Soulmate serves pitchers of their elegant sangria, and at brunch there are bottomless mimosas and cocktails that serve three or four. Options rotate but lately, Bar Director Naomi Schimek has been mixing up a large-format version of her Weekend in Palm Springs cocktail, with vodka and a pile of tropical fruits like passion fruit, feijoa, and citrus. If you’re here for the hair of the dog, there is also the specifically designed Hangover Cure shareable brunch plate, also for three or four, with oysters, lobster rolls, sliders, and papas bravas.
How to book: Reservations available online.

Available for Reservations

The Spare Room

Hollywood
$$$$

It should come as no surprise that the luxurious, loungey bar with the vintage bowling alleys is deeply invested in making sure you have a good time as a group. Aside from the stylish and competitive gaming, they have a whole set of shareable cocktails in sizes designed to serve anywhere from four to 20 thirsty revelers. The options are mostly focused on punch bowls, complex and layered drinks like Babylon is a Vampire, with rum, vermouth, cinnamon, sparkling pineapple wine, and lime. They also have one large-format stirred cocktail, only available in the 8-10 person size, called the Cielo Drive, a spirit-forward blend of whiskey, vermouth, bitters, yellow chartreuse, cassia tincture, and grapefruit oil.
How to book: Reservations available online.

Available for Reservations
Encanto
Photo by Ray Kachatorian, courtesy of Encanto

Encanto

Los Feliz
$$$$

Boozy brunch may have grown into good fodder for jokes over the years, but that doesn’t make it any less fun when you do it right. The sleek new modern Mexican restaurant and bar Encanto makes it easy, with dishes like Birria de Res Eggs Benedict, Fried Plantain Pancakes, and Chorizo and Egg tacos. And on the boozy side, they’ve got a long menu of more than a dozen cocktails that include riffs on classics like the Margarita, Paloma, Carajillo, Manhattan, and Paper Plane; at brunch, all of these options can be upgraded to large-format size to keep the whole table toasting.
How to book: Reservations available online.

Available for Reservations

Elephante

Santa Monica
$$$$

The concept may be inspired by seaside Southern Italy, but with its gorgeous views and trendy crowd Elephante’s vibe is pure Santa Monica. The Cal-Italian menu of pasta, pizza, and vegetables is approachable and fun, and the energy in the stylish space is always buzzing. Part of that buzz may be from the creative cocktail program, and from groups taking advantage of the option to upgrade any cocktail into a punch bowl. That means you can get a shareable serving of drinks like the tiki-ish rum, orgeat, nutmeg, and amaro-based Ship Wreck or the Other Side, with bourbon, watermelon, Salers, and bitters.
How to book: Reservations available through their website.

Everson Royce Bar
Photo by Anise Mariko Lew, courtesy of Everson Royce Bar

Everson Royce Bar

Arts District
$$$$

Everson Royce Bar was always built for a good time, with perfect bar food, a great drink selection, and the best patio in the Arts District. So it only makes sense that they also have lovely, large-format cocktails for you to share with nine or so of your best friends. Like everything else they do, the shareable cocktails are straightforward but never simple, and always immaculately executed. The Yo LA Tengo is a longstanding ERB favorite, a bright combination of mezcal, grapefruit, aperol, ginger, and lime. There’s also the Infanté, with tequila, orgeat, nutmeg, and rose, in addition to more familiar drinks like the Gold Rush and Moscow Mule. You can sometimes get them same-day, but it’s better to order in advance if you can.
How to book: Reservations available on Resy, and to order large-format cocktails it’s best to send them an email or fill out the form on their Big Party page.

Available for Reservations

Salsa & Beer

North Hollywood
$$$$

For as lovely as an elevated punch bowl can be, sometimes you need to share a drink with friends that’s a little more down-to-earth—a pitcher of margarita will do the trick. It may not be in the name, but North Hollywood’s Salsa & Beer makes a damn fine pitcher of margarita, and if you need a little extra jolt of sugar you can get them in flavors like pineapple or mango, too. It’s not fancy, but there is an elemental pleasure in pairing a well-made jumbo margarita with their big plates of carnitas done in the style of Jerez, Zacatecas.
How to book: Walk in or order over the phone at 818-503-1220.

The Waterfront

Venice
$$$$

A stroll along the Venice Beach boardwalk can’t help but feel like a special occasion, whether it’s a holiday weekend or a random weeknight, so it’s a good thing The Waterfront offers all of their cocktails in glasses, pitchers, and towers. The approachably hip, oceanfront restaurant has a fun all-day menu of California cuisine like fish tacos, crudo, and wood-grilled vegetables, and their cocktail list is the menu’s match—there are a couple of spritzes, a whiskey strawberry smash, and several frozen cocktails. It’s hard to imagine better beachfront drinking than a giant tower of Sparkling Paloma.
How to book: Reservations available online.

Available for Reservations
Gracias Madre
Photo by Talia Dinwiddie, courtesy of Gracias Madre

Gracias Madre

West Hollywood
$$$$

Plant-based eaters like to party too, as the eternally lively scene at WeHo’s Gracias Madre proves. You can always get a pitcher of their excellent margaritas, and considering their careful agave sourcing it may be worth an upgrade to a mezcal margarita. And at brunch, they also do bottomless mimosas, which are basically large-format cocktails for one, made with sparkling chenin blanc and fresh-squeezed orange juice; you can upgrade with a house-made infusion of hibiscus, lavender, or raspberry for a few dollars more.
How to book: Reservations available through their website, and you can also order ahead online.

Available for Reservations
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Ben Mesirow is an Echo Park native who writes TV, fiction, food, and sports. At one time or another, his writing has appeared in The LA TimesLitroMcSweeney’s Internet TendencyLos Angeles Magazine, and scratched into dozens of desks at Walter Reed Middle School.