Food & Drink

LA's Best Places to Drink Outdoors

Published On 07/25/2016 Published On 07/25/2016
Mama Shelter Los Angeles
Courtesy of Mama Shelter

Because you’ve already made your way through all the best pool bars and restaurants with killer patios (you have, right?), we decided to hook you up with even more excellent places where you can soak up our nearly year-round, gorgeous weather. From massive beer gardens to classy rooftops, here are all of the places you should be drinking outdoors right now.

Mama Shelter

Hollywood

Head to the breezy, recently opened rooftop of the Hollywood outpost of this Paris-based hotel chain for stunning, panoramic views, colorful couches for lounging, and film-inspired cocktails like the appropriately named Fiddler on the Roof with rum, Ancho Reyes, grapefruit, and pomegranate. If you’re feeling the competitive spirit, hit the foosball table, and if you’re in need of a bite, the Mediterranean menu is worth investigating. Brought the crew? Order up a pitcher (or two!) of sangria. Plus, you can also catch DJs on Thurs-Sun nights, drag queen bingo (!) on Saturday afternoons, and classic movie screenings later in the summer.

Resident

Arts District

Besides offering great live music inside, the sprawling, Austin-inspired beer garden of this Arts District newcomer is the perfect place to lounge away a few hours. Order top-notch cocktails and quality brews from the converted Airstream trailer and grab a picnic bench or cozy nook amongst the succulents. And if you’re in need of grub, you’ll usually find a food truck parked directly across from the bar.

Courtesy of Brouwerij West

Brouwerij West

San Pedro

If you haven’t yet made your way down to the impressive, 17,000sqft courtyard of this new Belgian-inspired brewery, your life is about to take a huge turn for the better. From Wednesday through Sunday, head to their also massive warehouse brewery, where you can order up quality brews like the popular Dog Ate My Homework blackberry saison or the new Popfuji pilsner and make your way out to the picnic tables outside. You’ll also find a rotating selection of food trucks out there (usually one during the week, two on the weekends), and once a month in the summer they host a huge blowout, with local bands (including heroes like Mike Watt) taking the stage amid tons of food trucks.

Block Party

Highland Park

This craft beer haven delivers big with a spacious back patio with plenty of picnic benches, a giant shuffleboard setup, and Wii projected on the wall. How are your virtual bowling skills after a couple IPAs? Only one way to find out. Besides the extensive beer lineup, they also serve up frosty margarita slushies, wine, and more. You’ll often find tasty bites from their pop-up food cart back there or you can bring your own eats from outside. Party on.

Moretti Photo

Venice Whaler

Venice

After 70 years, this beachside institution recently got a much-needed facelift and thankfully managed to keep the fun and nautical charm in tact. Make your way up to the second floor patio bar, where you’ll find killer ocean views and a great selection of craft cocktails, craft beers, and wine, plus an excellent, market-fresh food lineup. Oh, and you’ll definitely want to stick around for the sunset, which is always extraordinary.

Red Lion Tavern

Silver Lake

Head upstairs to the partially covered biergarten of this decades-old Eastside favorite for liter steins of great German beers, giant pretzels, and plenty of brats. Feeling particularly thirsty? That massive boot of beer has your name all over it. Prost!

Jamie Pham

Dog Haus Biergarten

Pasadena

Tucked down an unassuming alley, this pup-friendly patio is a well-shaded spot to sip frosty brews and chow on some supremely tasty sausages and wieners. You’ll find a rotating selection of craft brews (available in pints, half liters, and liters), a decent wine selection, and a full bar. Save a few bucks during weekday happy hours (Mon-Fri, 3pm-6pm), reverse happy hours (Mon-Thurs, 10pm-12am) or spend some quality time with the bar’s Sunday Funday deals with food and drink specials from 3pm-12am.

Good Times at Davey Wayne’s

Hollywood

Make your way through the secret entrance to this '70s-themed pad and head to the back porch and the totally drought-friendly AstroTurf lawn. Order a cocktail (or alcoholic sno-cone!) from the vintage trailer and some spicy pork belly sammies or Mexican street-corn from the grill, swing from a macramé chair, and wonder why the hell we ever left the '70s behind. Oh right -- disco.

Courtesy of Eveleigh

Eveleigh

Hollywood

Like the secret garden of the Sunset Strip, the beautiful back patio of this cabin-like bistro is a great place to plant yourself to escape the grit and heat of the street outside. Secure a spot at the bar and order up a bottled gin & tonic, an on-draught whiskey & ginger or any of their thoughtful cocktails (like the Dark Arts, with Scotch, Nocino, black lime, and yuzu bitters). The cozy front patio is also a great option for a secluded rendezvous.

Verdugo Bar

Glassell Park

This well-stocked craft beer bar offers a spacious patio and plenty of picnic tables where you can leisurely sip away the hours. The bar rotates selections from 22 taps and plenty of hard-to-find bottles should give you plenty of ground to cover, while food trucks that post up at the service window in back will help keep you from floating away. Stop by Mon-Fri, 6pm-8pm or Sat-Sun, 3pm-7pm for $2 off select beer, wine, and well drinks.

The Lincoln

Venice

The spacious patio of this new, vintage car-themed cocktail spot in Venice is where you’re going to want to park yourself this summer. Well-worn, antique seats, a large wooden table to share or several small nooks, stone tiles, and succulents, all give off the vibe that you’re in the backyard of the coolest auto shop ever. Besides well-crafted cocktails, you’ll find plenty of craft beers and wine, as well as a great selection of not-often-seen spirits.

Courtesy of Villain’s Tavern

Villains Tavern

Arts District

The huge canopied patio at this Arts District mainstay is the perfect place to be the hero by ordering a round of Mason-jarred beers or craft cocktails for the crew. You’ll catch live music with no cover on the outdoor stage most nights and Tues-Thurs from 11pm-1am, you can score $5 beers and $5 whiskey shots. Hungry? Bar bites like mac & cheese bites, sliders, tacos, and more are on the menu. You’ll also find a smaller, cozier patio up front, as well as a large exterior smoking patio with fire pits, communal tables, and a new satellite bar.

Back on the Beach

Santa Monica

Stick your toes in the sand, glug a cold beer, and stare off at the Pacific, wondering why you even considered going anywhere else today. Also, get the burger.

Blue Dog Beer Tavern

Sherman Oaks

You like craft beer. And at this point, we can safely assume you like drinking said craft beer outside. Now, we’re going to take a wild leap and say you probably don’t like being stuck in traffic, which makes this 405-and-101-adjacent bar with an excellent beer selection and laid-back patio where we’ll likely find you hiding during rush hour (and after, since Uber’s always an option).

Courtesy of The Fat Dog

The Fat Dog

North Hollywood

The newish Valley outpost of this Fairfax favorite offers ample room to drink like a lazy dog with a stylish 1,000sqft patio. You’ll find a well curated list of beer and wine, as well as standout cocktails like the sweet-spicy Dog Bite ,with jalapeño-infused tequila, strawberry, lime, cucumber, and cilantro. You can also chow down on some quality bites like their Swedish meatballs or BBQ pork belly sandwich or dig into some bigger dishes for a full meal. Swing by weekdays from 3pm-7pm for happy hour specials on food and drank.

The Pub at Golden Road

Atwater Village-ish

Sure, the beer-giant-that-shall-not-be-named may have recently purchased this LA River-adjacent brewery, but Golden Road still pours some quality brews and have not one, but two (!) huge patios for your drinking pleasure. The giant Jenga on the side patio is usually dominated by somebody’s kid, so avoid a block to the head and make your way to the ping pong table and cornhole set-up in the back. Or just sit and drink your beer, that’s cool, too.  

Courtesy of El Cid

El Cid

Silver Lake

While this historic restaurant is known for flamenco performances, its split-level, 16th-century Spanish-style courtyard really puts on a show of its own. Picture lush greenery, twinkling lights, and wide leather booths. And now, a new pop-up known as La Verbena takes over the patio Thurs-Sun evenings with table-side cocktails, acoustic sets, and DJs, and shareable bites hot off the grill.

Malibu Wines

Malibu

Pack a picnic and head to this shady grove just off Mulholland for a bit of wine tasting in the great outdoors. You can catch classic movie screenings on Thursday nights and even karaoke on the second Friday of the month, or you can just laze away a mellow afternoon if you prefer. Just be sure to get there early and stake out a table before the bachelorette parties arrive.

Danny Jensen

Ladyface Ale Companie

Agoura Hills

Nestled in the hills of Agoura beneath Ladyface Mountain (seriously, it’s a real place), the beautiful, shaded patio of this excellent brewery is a worthy place to devote several hours of your afternoon. You’ll sip award-winning, Belgian-style brews (or wine and cocktails if that’s your thing), devour some French-inspired fare and get the feeling that you’re closer to Europe than LA.

Perch

Downtown

As if the spectacular views from the patio of this sky-high restaurant weren’t enough to impress, Perch added a second bar one flight above, with 360-degree views to really seal the deal. You’ll find illuminated foliage, cozy lounge chairs, and cocktails like the appropriately lofty Saint Cloud with rye, lemon juice, and basil, as well as a special late-night menu in case the thought of going back down to earth is too much to bare.

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Danny Jensen is a regular Thrillist contributor who firmly believes drinks just taste better when you're outside. Follow him as he tests this theory on Instagram and Twitter.

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1. Mama Shelter 6500 Selma Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90028 (Hollywood)

Right in the heart of Hollywood, Mama Shelter is the Los Angeles outpost of a French-based hotel mini-chain. From the family behind Club Med, the hip hotel features 70 funkily-designed rooms equipped with iMacs and, movie scripts, and king beds. Open to the public, the rooftop doubles as a yoga studio and Mediterranean restaurant. Downstairs, there's a French-American restaurant, a separate cocktail bar, and a coffee shop.

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2. Resident 428 S Hewitt St, Los Angeles, CA 90013 (Downtown)

This arty new DTLA venue space and cocktail bar hosts indie rock bands with a simple premise in mind: yes to DJs, food, friends, and partying; no to "covers, lines, reservations, dress codes, and bullsh*t."

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3. Brouwerij West 110 E 22nd St, San Pedro, CA 90731

You can enjoy some of LA's finest craft beer at this Belgian-inspired brewery that's housed in a 72-year-old wooden warehouse. Their 17,000-square-foot courtyard has picnic tables for you to post up with one of their top-notch brews like the Dog Ate My Homework blackberry saison or Popfuji pilsner. Once outside, you'll even find a food truck or two to sate your appetite. Multiple trucks pull up during Brouwerij's don't-miss monthly summer blowout featuring local bands.

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4. Block Party 5052 York Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90042 (Highland Park)

Once you head to the back patio of this hip Highland Park spot, you'll understand why it's called Block Party. Their outdoor space has multiple picnic tables, where you can munch on tasty hot dogs and bacon-cheddar pretzels from their pop-up food car, a huge shuffleboard setup, and Wii projected on the wall. Grab an IPA from their extensive beer lineup (we're talking more than 350 kinds) -- or one of their frosty margarita slushies -- and let the party roll on.

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5. The Venice Whaler 10 Washington Blvd, Venice, CA 90292 (Venice)

A Venice landmark, this beachside spot has been serving up market-fresh dishes and high-quality craft cocktails since the '40s. Be sure to try the fish tacos, or split some of their small bites or an artisan pizza with your group -- a group you should also convince to join in the Whaler's Monday night karaoke. While you're there, you'll want to head up to the second-floor patio bar for some gorgeous ocean views, particularly at sunset.

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6. Red Lion Tavern 2366 Glendale Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90039 (Silverlake)

Open since 1959 in Silver Lake, the Red Lion Tavern has seen the neighborhood transform into the hipster locale it is today. The German-themed bar will make you feel like you're in the middle of Berlin, thanks to a rotating selection of German beer, a schnitzel- and bratwurst-heavy food menu, and the kitschy, flag-laden beer garden. The rooftop is one of the least pretentious ones in Los Angeles, even if it isn't that high off the ground.

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7. Dog Haus Biergarten 93 E Green St, Pasadena, CA 91105 (Pasadena)

This parlor-style joint brings Pasadena the most creative and delicious hot dogs around. Their special all-beef skinless dogs come in several signature varieties, like the Sooo Cali, topped with wild arugula, spicy basil aioli, crispy onions, avocado, and tomato. Feeling adventurous? You can customize your own dog with a selection of 40+ toppings. Veggie dogs are available, too, as are their tasty burgers and sausages.

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8. 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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9. Eveleigh 8752 W Sunset, Hollywood, CA 90028

The rustic space that houses Eveleigh has a reclaimed, wood-laden indoor-outdoor dining room with a communal table and sofa-like seating. Their outdoor patio is the real draw, where you'll feel as though you've entered a gorgeous garden party, surrounded by homegrown herbs and vegetables. From land (lamb meatballs) to sea (wild Pacific yellowtail), every dish on Eveleigh's menu is market-fresh and crafted with care.

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10. Verdugo Bar 3408 Verdugo Rd, Los Angeles, CA 90065

Glassell Park is home to a craft beer bar that knows how to please a crowd. Verdugo is stocked with 22 taps, plus some rare beer finds, and a rotating selection of food trucks at the service window out back serving tasty bites. You'll want to grab some friends and gather around the picnic tables on its spacious outdoor patio as the DJ spins some beats.

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11. The Lincoln 2536 Lincoln Blvd, Venice, CA 90291 (Venice)

From the team behind Powerhouse and the Wallace, The Lincoln is vintage car-themed cocktail lounge in Venice. A Model T Roadster completes the old school auto-shop vibe, but don't let the garage decor belie the bar's upscale nature. The bar serves up expertly-made cocktails like the Hot Route, a mezcal and watermelon shrub, plus wine and craft beer.

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12. Villains Tavern 1356 Palmetto St, Los Angeles, CA 90013 (Downtown)

This vintage-feel tavern fits in perfectly at the edge of the Arts District: it has two monster, church pew-abetted patios, an antique bar sourced from an 1880s-era NYC tavern, and a gothic church window repurposed as a mirror behind the bar, all from a woman who started out as an interior designer before becoming the owner of spots like 4100 and The Bordello Bar. Grab one of their signature artisanal cocktails, like the BellaDonna (Maker's Mark, mint, citrus, blackberries), and head out to the larger side patio for some live music.

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13. Back on the Beach Cafe 445 Palisades Beach Rd, Santa Monica, CA 90402 (Santa Monica)

Back on the Beach is, well, literally on the beach. A wide stretch of Santa Monica State beach hosts a white wooden building with an interior that looks like your rich relative's beach house, plus a fenced patio out back dotted with tables under orange umbrellas. As is expected of most waterside spots, BOTB has Mediterranean fare and a whole lot of fresh fish, but there really isn't a way to beat the grass fed beef burger (with garlic aioli, roasted tomato, provolone, baby arugula) and a tall, cold beer, the sun on your skin, and sand between your toes.

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14. Blue Dog Beer Tavern 4524 Saugus Ave, Sherman Oaks, CA 91403 (Mid Valley)

Located just off the 405 in what used to be a dental office (which now looks like a mid-construction Victorian home thanks to wood lattices, antique light fixtures and decor, and a bar and walls made from the original 1940s floors), the Blue Dog Beer Tavern's got a vibe that's part local dive, part sports bar, part vintage flea market. Craft beer is thing place's specialty, and at any given moment they're sure to have more than 60 drafts from LA breweries that'll wash down a house-ground burger with ease. The spacious and surprisingly modern back patio offers some breathing space when the tables inside get cramped at rush hour.

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15. The Fat Dog 801 N Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046 (West Hollywood)

This West Hollywood hangout wouldn't be living up to its name if it didn't have a dog-friendly patio and glutenous American dishes in portions one could only describe as "challenging." Hot dogs and hamburgers piled high with pickles, onions, and potato chips are about the size of your head but go down smooth with a local craft beer from a rotating draft selection. Even the bloody Mary brunches exceed breakfast fantasies with cast iron baked eggs with house chorizo, short rib hash with poached eggs, and brioche bread pudding French toast with Nutella. Yes, please.

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16. Golden Road Gastropub 5430 San Fernando Rd, Los Angeles, CA 91203 (Atwater Village)

This spacious, industrial gastropub is the best place to drink LA's cherished canned Golden Road beers in tap -- you know, seeing as it's made next door. Pints of citrusy Wolf Pup Session IPA, banana-flavored Hefeweizen, and chocolatey Brown Ale are crisp accompaniments to the two backyard patios with ample seating and games galore. The giant Jenga is usually taken by the kids and families -- but the beer pong table will offer solace and a fun, younger crowd.

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17. El Cid 4212 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90029

In the 1925, El Cid's predecessor, Jail Cafe -- picture a speakeasy that looks a hell of a lot like Elvis' 'Jailhouse Rock' (it was ahead of its time) -- was born. It then operated as a theater for a couple decades until it finally became LA's beloved El Cid in '63, and it's been serving up Latin fare and live entertainment acts ever since. Venezuelan Chef Juvenal Rodriguez uses local ingredients to create small-portion dishes with big flavor like ceviche, Spanish meatballs, and chicken empanadas. Stand up comedy, indie bands, and the occasional film keep this Silver Lake spot busy, so early birds catch the worms (well, tables) here.

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18. Malibu Family Wines 32111 mulholland highway, Los Angeles, CA 91364 (Bel Air)

The winding, lush, green landscape of this vineyard and tasting room just off Mulholland is a picture-perfect backdrop for a day of lounging around with a glass of wine on a picnic blanket on the grass or under the shade of one its many umbrella-covered tables. With prices in mid-range (this isn't the stuff college kids drink), the vast selection of Malibu wines vary in both type and dry or sweetness. It's a very popular spot for big bachelorette parties and weddings, but a reservation will get you in with no fuss.

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19. Ladyface Alehouse & Brasserie 29281 Agoura Rd, Agoura Hills, CA 91301 (West Valley)

An LA and California favorite, Ladyface has been headlining the LA craft brew scene for years. This casual Agora Hills brewpub is inspired by Europe in all aspects, from its gray brick awning to its Parisian, industrial vibe to its fare. Plates of steak tartare and oysters for sharing, and large mains like the daily fresh fish and succulent roasted chicken combine American and French tastes and techniques. Meanwhile, the beer is all Belgian-style -- the La Blonde ale, Imperial IPA, and the Farmhouse Wheat are all light and approachable, just as the Belgians intended.

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20. Perch 448 S Hill, Los Angeles, CA 90013 (Downtown)

This bar-centric restaurant from the Must guys is so laden with foliage and lounge chairs, it's like a rooftop version of Disney's Tiki Room; and if that's not enough to get you in there, Perch also has French grub like rabbit rillette with braised plums, candied kumquat & vanilla shallot marmalade; pork confit cassoulet with pork belly & cracklings; and the three-mini-club platter called "Duck, Duck, Goose."

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