Everywhere You Should Drink Cosmos in California Right Now

Sip cocktails for a cause this holiday season.

Kyra Thompson/Thrillist
Kyra Thompson/Thrillist

Liquor lore pegs the creation of the Cosmopolitan to a bartender at the Odeon in 1988, but the sweet and tart pink drink really reached its heyday thanks to a certain late-'90s, New York-set TV series, which made it popular coast to coast. Now, like so many other amazing things from that decade, the Cosmo is officially back, and this holiday season is a better time than ever to order one because of Cosmos for a Cause, a partnership to support local restaurants and bars across the country.

From now through December 31, Cointreau will donate up to $100,000 to the Independent Restaurant Coalition for every order of a Cosmopolitan at participating restaurants and every Instagram post tagging #CosmosForACause and @Cointreau_us. Your mission is clear: Order a Cosmo at one of these 13 California venues, raise a glass, post it, and save the restaurant industry. Cheers!

Avalon Hotel Beverly Hills
Courtesy Avalon Hotel

This quirky mid-century modern hotel in Beverly Hills is a stylish throwback to the time of Marilyn and Desi. Take it all in while dining poolside at Viviane, the hotel’s stylish eatery (designed by the famed Kelly Wearstler), where the seasonal cocktails shine next to classic American and European cuisine.

Avalon Hotel Palm Springs
Courtesy Avalon Hotel

Tucked away in Palm Springs’ old downtown, you’ll find this welcoming retreat with old Hollywood glamour, mountain views, Spanish-style architecture, and a restaurant that is oh-so “shi-shi.” Literally. Chi Chi, the hotel’s restaurant, serves California fare and refreshing cocktails, and is a favorite with tourists and locals alike.

The Beehive
Courtesy The Beehive

Travel back to the Swinging Sixties at this buzzy cocktail bar with mid-century charm and just the right amount of kitsch. The Beehive pays homage to the bygone era of martini lunches and key parties with specialty cocktails in retro glassware and elevated takes on hors d'oeuvres from back in the day (think: pigs in a blanket). Though the Cosmo (at least in its current iteration) is technically more of an ’80s invention, once you take your first sip, any notion of getting bogged down in semantics will become a distant memory.

Friends And Family
Courtesy Friends & Family

The goal of Friends & Family is that when you spend an evening enjoying cocktails there, you feel like, well… friends and family. Everyone on the all-female team has an impressive background, so it’s not surprising that the bar immediately gained a loyal following even though it opened mid-pandemic. It’s so much better now that we can enjoy the playful cocktails in person, as this is the kind of spot with the kind of fun and creative energy you just can’t get sitting at home.

George's at The Cove
Courtesy George's at the Cove

There’s not a bad seat in the house at this three-level restaurant with ocean views, but for maximum “pinch yourself to make sure you’re not dreaming” vibes, ask for a table upstairs on the (heated) Ocean Terrace, the more casual and relaxing (but equally incredible) of the seating areas. Get there right before the sun goes down and order a Cosmopolitan to perfectly match the shades of pink about to take over the sky.

Courtesy Hippo

Make sure you’re a hungry, hungry hippo if you want to make the most of your meal at this Cal-Italian spot in Highland Park known for its spirited (cocktails and otherwise) atmosphere and housemade pastas. In a nod that any Carrie Bradshaw fan will greatly appreciate, the signature Cosmo is called the “Just Like That” and is made with vodka, cherry berry syrup, lime, and Cointreau.

Lost Resort
Courtesy of Lost Resort

Lost Resort should never be a last resort for those waiting for their ship to come in ’cause all it takes for that to happen at this colorful nautical-themed bar in The Mission is one perfect cocktail. Okay, maybe two. And an order of oysters (available baked or raw). To keep the seafood vibe going, the menu also boasts crab cakes, shrimp ceviche, and sourdough clam beignets.

Courtesy Redbird

A must-visit for anyone who loves cocktails and historical architecture, Redbird is carved into the rectory building of the historic (former) Cathedral of St. Vibiana, which was built in downtown LA in 1876 (before it was DTLA) and has since been transformed into a multi-purpose event venue. The space is vibrant and impressive, and the food and cocktails equally so, as much at brunch as at dinner.

Shepherd & Sims
Courtesy Shepherd & Sims

This Silicon Valley newcomer brings a lively take on an approachable fine-dining restaurant to a part of Los Gatos that tends to see more chain restaurants than upscale experiences. Don’t worry, it’s not so upscale that it can’t become your new neighborhood spot to enjoy cocktails, pickled fried green tomatoes, pate, and what people are already saying is one of the best burgers around.

Smoke House Restaurant
Courtesy Smoke House

Walking inside of this restaurant that was established in 1946 is like stepping onto a movie set (because it has actually been one in several films and TV shows). Promising “fine food at a fair price” and “the world’s greatest garlic cheese bread,” this old-school spot is next to the Warner Bros. lot, which means there’s a very good chance you’ll be enjoying your meal next to someone in the industry. The Cosmo isn’t the only classic thing on the menu; Smoke House is all about time-honored favorites like bacon-wrapped scallops, a wedge salad, prime rib, and shrimp scampi.

Courtesy Townhouse

Townhouse, the oldest saloon in Venice (est. 1915) — and certainly one of the oldest in all of LA — managed to survive Prohibition by moving the booze-serving operations to a downstairs speakeasy that today is where you’ll hear live music from all kinds of bands. The bar, located right off of the boardwalk, is also a fun place to stop in even when there’s not a live show, as there are plenty of original details to take in while you take down a drink or two.

The Vesper
Courtesy The Vesper

This eclectic cocktail bar and lounge has lots of comfy salon-style seating, great music, and an extensive cocktail menu that covers every spirit and includes Tiki drinks and punch bowls, so there’s truly something for everyone. Of course, you’re there for the Cosmopolitan, which is a perfect accompaniment to the cheese board or the caviar, potato chips, and onion dip. Be sure to take a look around as there are little surprises, like a seductive mannequin tucked away in an alcove who looks like she’s enjoyed a few Cosmos of her own, to enjoy throughout.

Courtesy Wildhawk

Wildhawk feels like what life would be like if you had fancy friends with fancy living rooms and fancy bar carts who invited you over for evenings of cocktails and conversation. The vibe is sexy and inviting — dark floral wallpaper, velvet armchairs, leather couches, mirrored tables, zebra print accents — even more so once you dive into the cocktail menu that features lots of cheeky and vermouth-inspired cocktails, as well as all of the classics.

Want to do more to help your favorite local spots? The Independent Restaurant Coalition was founded by chefs and restaurant owners to protect the more than 500,000 independent restaurants and 11 million restaurant workers impacted by the pandemic. Every donation to the IRC helps support local bars and restaurants that need aid. Donate Now